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Bridge Exhibit Coming to West End Museum

The museum's latest project focuses on connections new and old along the Charles River.

On January 15, Connections North: Bridges of the West End opens at the West End Museum and will run through April 20 in the Main Exhibit Hall. The opening reception takes place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on January 22, and complimentary light refreshments will be served. Both the exhibit and the reception are free and open to the public. Related films, walking tours, family workshops and lectures will occur throughout the run of the show. Concurrent program details can be found at www.thewestendmuseum.org/whatson.html.

Connections North tells a story that spans 300 years—from the time when Harvard College's main source of income was the Charlestown ferry, through present-day Boston and the $253 million Longfellow Bridge reconstruction project. The exhibit reveals how the progression of bridges changed not just the area immediately surrounding the Charles River, but the entire face of the city. 

“Historically, bridges are a very revealing indicator of the issues faced by a society,” says exhibition curator Duane Lucia. “Is a bridge a private investment? Should it have a toll or should it be free to all? Should it be purely practical or should it be making an artistic statement? Bridges are more than just a way to cross the river: they have social implications, too.”

Connections North delves into the social, economic, architectural and geographic impact of the first four bridges built from Boston’s West End: the Charles River Bridge, West Boston Bridge, Canal Bridge and Warren Bridge. These structures opened up new markets for goods and enabled expansion along with residential and commercial development. In many ways, they were game-changers for the city. The exhibition features many historical pictures and maps that reveal the original shape of Boston (before it was filled in during the land-making programs of the 19th century) and recounts how the dynamic of transport was key to that evolution.

Connections North: Bridges of the West End is free and open to the public during regular Museum hours: Tuesday through Friday, 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, visit the West End Museum website or call 617-723-2125.

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