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Development Team of Boston Museum Bids on New Downtown Site
A proposal submitted today to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, owner of the Parcel 9 site, contains detailed plans for a ground floor public market that will complement the historic Haymarket pushcarts.

BOSTON, MA.- On what one museum planner calls “one of the best sites” for a new museum in the U.S., the development team of the Boston Museum today announced plans to build a striking new public market and museum building on the corner of Blackstone and North Streets in the heart of downtown Boston.

A proposal submitted today to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, owner of the Parcel 9 site, contains detailed plans for a ground floor public market that will complement the historic Haymarket pushcarts. Rising above the market hall will be four floors of a museum utilizing interactive technologies and 21st century exhibit design to explore key moments in Massachusetts’ distinct 400-year history. Ascending in glass elevators to the top floor, visitors will have access to sweeping views of the Greenway Parks, the North End and waterfront districts. At audio and video kiosks stationed throughout the building, residents and tourists will be invited to share stories and link their own narratives directly to the American experience as found in Boston and its environs.

“Downtown Boston hasn’t had many new visitor attractions in recent years,” said Frank Keefe, President & CEO of the Boston Museum. “This spectacular building, providing a much-needed orientation for visitors and direct services for area residents, will also be a place to reflect upon our remarkable history of innovation and use it as a strong foundation to build a better future.”

In addition to the ground floor market hall, the 100,000 square-foot “green” building will feature a distinctive glass atrium, galleries, classroom and community spaces, theatre, café and gift shop. Designed by Cambridge Seven Associates, the building’s curved glass façade faces the Greenway, while its Blackstone Street side will feature terra cotta panels, reflecting the warm colors and texture of the historic Blackstone Block’s brick buildings. The Museum and Marketplace will connect to a planned pedestrian bridge on Greenway Parcel 12, a site the museum planners were designated to develop in 2005. It will be located at the epicenter of a new 2-acre pedestrian environment envisioned by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

“Having the Boston Museum as a major part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway perfectly captures the spirit of how this new space is meant to serve Boston as envisioned in the planning for the Greenway,” said Richard A. Dimino, President and CEO of A Better City. “In the near future, we will see the Greenway further knit the city together as it provides a place for everyone to enjoy a wonderful mixture of culture, civic uses, and open spaces.”

“I have watched this project grow from a promising concept to a carefully planned community institution that will honor our region’s diverse peoples and innovative spirit,” said Myra Kraft, one of the Boston Museum’s earliest supporters. “How fitting that this new intersection of commerce and culture will bring people together at exactly the right place – on the new common ground of the Greenway.”

“This is the right project for the right site at the right time in the life of our city,” said John Fish, CEO, Suffolk Construction and a Boston Museum board member. “The Boston Museum will breathe new life and activity into the downtown corridor, creating great economic benefits for Boston at a time when it is most needed. The scale of the project is perfect. Despite the current climate I have little doubt that we will garner the support needed to build the Boston Museum and Marketplace on Parcel 9.”

The Boston Museum has received letters of support from cultural and historical organizations including Facing History & Ourselves, Plimoth Plantation, Old Sturbridge Village, The Sports Museum at TD Banknorth Garden, the New England Genealogical Society, the Boston Irish Tourism Association, the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, and the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at UMass Boston. It has worked with Boston Public School teachers to create pilot programs and projects at the Umana Middle School Academy in East Boston, the Timilty Middle School in Roxbury, and the Edwards Middle School in Charlestown.

The Museum has also received major support this year from the James S. McDonnell Family Foundation and the McDonnell family. According to Alicia McDonnell, “Before founding McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing), my grandfather graduated from MIT with a degree in aeronautics so this region’s innovation and educational environment helped shape his success. Today, many of the McDonnell family have chosen to make Boston their home Although our family’s roots and much of our giving is in the Midwest, I sometimes think it’s easier for people at a distance to have a better perception of how Massachusetts’ extraordinary history shaped our national heritage.”

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