Columbian Museum

Title

Columbian Museum

Description

In 1791, Daniel Bowen opened Boston's first museum, which contained primarily waxworks, at the American Coffee House, located on State Street, opposite Kilby. In December of 1795, it moved to the location indicated on the map, at the top of the Common on the corner of Bromfield's Lane, and was known as the Columbian Museum. Eight years later, however, on January 15, 1803, the museum was destroyed by fire. It reopened several months later, and then, in November of 1806, it was moved to an extravagant new building north of King's Chapel burying ground. Within just a few months, it caught fire again. On January 16, 1807, equipment used to produce The Phantasmagoria, described as a show of "Spectreology and Dancing Witches," erupted in flames. The building and all its contents were destroyed. Not to be deterred, Bowen rebuilt on the same spot, this time constructing a more modest building. Bowen eventually left Boston, leaving the museum in the hands of his partner, William M.S. Doyle. Doyle ran the museum until January 1, 1825, at which point the museum's collection was transferred to the New England Museum kept by E.A. Greenwood.

Source

http://bostonmaps.neu.edu/omeka/admin/items/show/172

Date

1795

Contributor

Lucy Linderman

Relation

Clapp, William W., Jr. A Record of the Boston Stage. 1868. Reprint, New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1968.

The Courier: Boston Evening Gazette and Universal Advertiser. December 2, 1795.

Drake, Samuel Adams. Old landmarks and historic personages of Boston. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co., 1873. https://openlibrary.org/books/OL6905745M/Old_landmarks_and_historic_personages_of_Boston

King, Donald C. The Theatres of Boston: A Stage and Screen History. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2005.

Type

Annotation

Identifier

-71.06139, 42.35703

Description

In 1791, Daniel Bowen opened Boston's first museum, which contained primarily waxworks, at the American Coffee House, located on State Street, opposite Kilby. In December of 1795, it moved to the location indicated on the map, at the top of the Common on the corner of Bromfield's Lane, and was known as the Columbian Museum. Eight years later, however, on January 15, 1803, the museum was destroyed by fire. It reopened several months later, and then, in November of 1806, it was moved to an extravagant new building north of King's Chapel burying ground. Within just a few months, it caught fire again. On January 16, 1807, equipment used to produce The Phantasmagoria, described as a show of "Spectreology and Dancing Witches," erupted in flames. The building and all its contents were destroyed. Not to be deterred, Bowen rebuilt on the same spot, this time constructing a more modest building. Bowen eventually left Boston, leaving the museum in the hands of his partner, William M.S. Doyle. Doyle ran the museum until January 1, 1825, at which point the museum's collection was transferred to the New England Museum kept by E.A. Greenwood.

Date

1795

Source

http://bostonmaps.neu.edu/omeka/admin/items/show/172