This summer, in 10 posts: post 6 {Boston}

The Old State House, part 1

Το Old State House χτίστηκε το 1713 και λειτούργησε σαν κυβερνητικό κτήριο —στέγασε μεταξύ άλλων το Γενικό Δικαστήριο της Μασαχουσέτης, το Ανώτατο Δικαστικό Σώμα αλλά και την Παλαιά Βουλή. Σήμερα είναι το παλαιότερο δημόσιο κτήριο της Βοστώνης και βρίσκεται στη διασταύρωση των οδών Washington & State ενώ στο υπόγειο του λειτουργεί ο σταθμός State Street για την μπλε και την πορτοκαλί γραμμή του μετρό! Είναι μέρος του Μονοπατιού της Ελευθερίας (The Freedom Trail) —το μονοπάτι μήκους 5 χιλιομέτρων, που εκτείνεται από το πάρκο Boston Common έως το Bunker Hill με χαρακτηριστική κόκκινη διαγράμμιση και περιλαμβάνει 16 τοποθεσίες με αξιοθέατα και ιστορικής σημασίας περιοχές στις οποίες εκτυλίχθηκαν σημαντικά γεγονότα κατά την αποικιοκρατία και στα χρόνια της Αμερικανικής Επανάστασης: στις 5 Μαρτίου 1770 η Σφαγή της Βοστώνης (το γεγονός που κλιμάκωσε την ένταση μεταξύ των αποικιών και του βρετανικού στέμματος και λέγεται πως ήταν η απαρχή της αμερικανικής επανάστασης) έλαβε μέρος μπροστά από το κτήριο στην οδό King (σημερινή State), ενώ το ίδιο βράδυ ο κυβερνήτης Thomas Hutchinson κατάφερε να κατευνάσει τα πνεύματα, μιλώντας από το μπαλκόνι του κτηρίου για να εγγυηθεί την τιμωρία των υπεύθυνων για τα γεγονότα. Αργότερα, στις 18 Ιουλίου 1776, από το ίδιο μπαλκόνι της ανατολικής πλευράς ο συνταγματάρχης Thomas Crafts διάβαζε στο συγκεντρωμένο πλήθος τη Διακήρυξη της Ανεξαρτησίας!

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Bostonians looked to the sea for their economic well-being. Maritime trade drove the town’s vigorous economy. Many merchants importing and exporting goods, amassed vast fortunes. Sailors, shipbuilders and a wide range of artisans were productively employed in the sea trade. More than forty wharves, twelve shipyards and six ropewalks lined Boston’s bustling mile-long harbor.  •Hadley Quadrant [also referred to as a reflecting quadrant or Hadley's Octant]. Navigators used quadrants to determine a ship’s location by calculating the sun’s position.

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Plaque of Royal Arms. A symbol of royal authority, this royal arms hung on the doorway of the Province House, the Governor’s residence.

Here’s a model of the building, so that you can also take a closer look at the museum’s tower: it underwent a major restoration that was concluded in 2008. During the project, the building’s 1713 weathervane, which may have been made by Shem Drowne, was re-gilded. The windows were repaired and resealed, the balustrades were repaired and the copper roofing and rotten wood siding was replaced. It is, however, currently inaccessible to the public.
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All information on selected items is quoted from the museum’s section/object labels & credit panels ~ Οι πληροφορίες σε επιλεγμένα αντικείμενα/φωτογραφίες είναι ακριβείς παραθέσεις από τις ταμπέλες των εκθεμάτων.
*images by Athina D. Pantazatou for Kicking Back the Pebbles

This summer, in 10 posts: post 5 {Boston}

The New England Aquarium

The Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank
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Στο ενυδρείο της Νέας Αγγλίας, υπάρχει ανοιχτή δεξαμενή με σαλάχια και μικρούς καρχαρίες! Βάζεις το χέρι σου στην επιφάνεια (χωρίς να το τσαλαβουτάς, απλά ακουμπάς απαλά την παλάμη σου στο νερό) και περιμένεις τα σαλάχια, που κολυμπούν κοντά στην επιφάνεια, να περάσουν με το ρεύμα… όχι μόνο δεν φαίνεται να τους ενοχλούν τα αγγίγματα, αλλά πολλά από αυτά τα “επιζητούν” (δεν ξέρω αν τους αρέσουν ή αν κινούν απλά την περιέργειά τους!) και ανταποκρίνονται στην επαφή: στρέφονται προς την παλάμη σου, περνούν ξανά από κάτω —ένα-δύο γυρνούσαν προς το πλάι για να δουν καλύτερα το άτομο που τους έδινε το χέρι του!!— και συνεχίζουν να κολυμπούν κοντά στα τοιχώματα της δεξαμενής για να έρχονται σε επαφή με τον κόσμο!!! :) :) :)
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M. got to touch some stingrays! I never would have thought that, but they actually seemed to “enjoy”/be intrigued by(?) human touch!… a couple of them, after feeling M.’s hand on its back turned around and leaned against the tank wall where M. was resting his hand, to touch his palm again! Then they would swim around the tank and come back for more!! :) :) Boston-Aquarium04 Boston-Aquarium05 Boston-Aquarium06

Now, these guys were my favourites! {Sea Jelly exhibit}
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…ok, these too!!
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“You talking to me? Well, I’m the only one here…. You make the move. You make the move. It’s your move…. You talkin’ to me?
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Check out the piranha!!  {Amazon Rainforest exhibit}Boston-Aquarium16

…and here’s the bloody truth (couldn’t resist, sorry!) about them: “If you mention the word piranha to people, images of razor-sharp teeth and ferocious feeding frenzies are pretty much the norm. These fish have been showcased in films and media as fierce meat-eating machines that will attack in a moment’s notice! And like most monstrous myths, that is quite an exaggeration from the truth. Most piranhas, including the red-bellied piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri) featured at the New England Aquarium, aren’t out looking for a nice human to eat. Instead, they eat small worms, insects or fish, all items they can find throughout the Amazon River Basin. ” {excerpt from the Exhibit Galleries Blog}

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Το Ενυδρείο της Νέας Αγγλίας, άνοιξε το 1969 και θεωρείται ένας από τους πιο σημαντικούς φορείς στην εξερεύνηση των ωκεανών και τη διατήρηση της βιοποικιλότητας των θαλάσσιων οικοσυστηµάτων & της θαλάσσιας ζωής. Διαθέτει ένα εξαιρετικό κέντρο εκπαίδευσης και επαναπροσδιορίζει το τι ακριβώς πρέπει να είναι ένα ενυδρείο στις μέρες μας: συνδυάζει την εκπαίδευση, την ψυχαγωγία αλλά και τη δράση για την αντιμετώπιση των πιο σοβαρών προβλημάτων που αντιμετωπίζουν οι θάλασσες παγκοσμίως. Το ερευνητικό προσωπικό του ενυδρείου έχει συμμετάσχει, όλα αυτά τα χρόνια, σε εκατοντάδες αποστολές, προγράμματα παρακολούθησης, διασώσεις και δράσεις για την προστασία των ωκεανών. Το κεντρικό έκθεμα του ενυδρείου {και πιθανώς το “σήμα κατατεθέν” του} είναι η Γιγαντιαία Ωκεάνια Δεξαμενή, η οποία θεωρείται ένα από τα πιο πολύπλοκα και εξελιγμένα υδρόβια εκθέματα στον κόσμο! Μπορείτε να βρείτε επιπλέον πληροφορίες στην επίσημη σελίδα του ενυδρείου εδώ.

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Υπενθύμιση: Για να δείτε τα βιντεάκια πληκτρολογήστε, με λατινικούς χαρακτήρες, KBtP για να το ξεκλειδώσετε! 
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Reminder: My videos on Vimeo are protected so you need to type in a password to view these! I’m really sorry for making it a little difficult but I want my channel to be exclusively accessible to my readers and not to just anyone! All you have to do is type in “KBtP” (what else?!) and it should be good to go! Enjoy…

New England Aquarium, the Giant Ocean Tank by KBtP on Vimeo.

I hope you’re enjoying all our run-abouts! I sure am, while looking back at all this summer frenzy! Next stop the Old State House. Cheers!
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Η ξενάγηση στη Βοστώνη συνεχίζεται! Καλή εβδομάδα! :)

*images by Athina D. Pantazatou for Kicking Back the Pebbles

Lazy Fridays! {a preview on next week’s posts}

Another sneak peek into next week: the “This summer in 10 posts” series continues and our next stop in Boston will be the New England Aquarium… here are some snippets of what was going on there, at the time! I wish you all an amazing weekend!
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Το tour στη Βοστώνη συνεχίζεται την επόμενη εβδομάδα και πρωτού κατευθυνθούμε στο επόμενο μουσείο θα κάνουμε μια στάση στο διάσημο Ενυδρείο της Νέας Αγγλίας. Μέχρι τη Δευτέρα, πάρτε μια μικρή ιδέα και να περάσετε ένα υπέροχο, φθινοπωρινό Σαββατοκύριακο! :)

Υπενθύμιση: Για να δείτε τα βιντεάκια πληκτρολογήστε, με λατινικούς χαρακτήρες, KBtP για να το ξεκλειδώσετε!
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Reminder: My videos on Vimeo are protected so you need to type in a password to view these! I’m really sorry for making it a little difficult but I want my channel to be exclusively accessible to my readers and not to just anyone! All you have to do is type in “KBtP” (what else?!) and it should be good to go! Enjoy…

New England Aquarium, the Marine Mammal Center by KBtP on Vimeo.

New England Aquarium, the Giant Ocean Tank (snippet) by KBtP on Vimeo.

This summer, in 10 posts: post 4 {Boston}

The Museum of Fine Arts, part 2

…and the roaming through endless galleries continued!…

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Sarcophagus and Lid with husband and wife. Italy (Etruria), late classical or early Hellenistic period, 350-300 BC. From the tomb of the Tetnies family in present-day Vulci. Travertine. Greek Archaic Gallery (Gallery 113).

To get the shot below I stood as close to the pedestal as possible, leaned over the sarcophagus as much as I could without touching it, lifted my camera up in one hand and tried to get it as closer above the heads as possible! Sure enough… I triggered the laser alarm!! Then I looked pretty much like Mr. Bean when he knows he’s in trouble, started fidgeting and expected an angry guard to storm into the gallery… M. pretended he didn’t know me and I’m pretty sure, had I been reprimanded in anyway he would deny having any relationship with me whatsoever! Punishment never came though and I figured I was being watched acting goofy but meaning-no-harm through the camera security system and left alone to die of sheer embarrassment in front of peer-visitors who witnessed the scene…  It’s not even a decent shot, for crying out loud!! Boston-Museum-of-Fine-Arts23

After that little incident was over we proceeded to the next gallery and I got to admire this impressive lady:

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Juno [the Roman equivalent of Hera]. This Roman marble lady is the largest Classical sculpture in any museum in the United States —standing 13 feet tall and weighing in at 13,000 pounds. She was acquired by the MFA from the Brookline estate of the Brandegee family (known as Faulkner farm), where she had been the major ornament of a famous Italianate garden for over 100 years. George D. and Margo Behrakis Gallery (Gallery 207).

We also came across this exciting  piece of news:

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New Gallery: Dionysos and the Symposium. Wine, Poets, and Performers in Ancient Greece. Greek Classical Gallery (Gallery 215B).

And then we moved on to the Michael C. Ruettgers Gallery of Ancient Coins (Gallery 212C) where certain staters and distaters caught my eye…
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The William I. Koch Gallery (Gallery 250) with European Painting 1550–1700 and Hanoverian Silver.

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A handsome pair of silver Baroque trumpets used in royal ceremonies for the German House of Hanover join the Museum’s celebrated collection of Hanoverian silver.

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Alcove Bed (lit en niche). France (Paris), 1787. Stamped by Jean-Baptiste-Claude Sené (French), 1747-1803. Gilded beech-wood; modern upholstery. In 18th century France beds ranged from practical cots to extravagant fantasies. This bed was designed to stand lengthwise against the bedroom wall and was set into an alcove curtained off of the room, for privacy. The metal wheels facilitated the easy removal of the bed from its alcove in order to change the linens.  The silk textiles and trimmings ordered for the bed and the alcove represented the greatest expense in the interior decoration of the room. The 18th century upholsterer used a luxurious three-coloured silk to cover the bed, line the walls in the alcove and make the bed curtains; the silk and trims have been exactly reproduced. Ann and William Elfers Gallery (Gallery 245).

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Reed organ (Grand Salon model), about 1878. J. Estey Company, American, active 1863–1959. Walnut, rosewood. David and Stacey Goel Gallery (Gallery 239).

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Sideboard, 1850–60. Ignatius Lutz, American (born in France), 1817–1860. Oak, yellow-poplar, marble. Sideboards trace their form, function, and iconography to noble homes in Europe, where such pieces had been in use since the fifteenth century. Ignatius Lutz was one of several French-trained cabinetmakers who dominated the high-end furniture trade in America, bringing European styles and craftsmanship to a wealthy and fashionable clientele. Lutz’s shop, employing thirty craftsmen, was among the largest in Philadelphia and relied upon handwork rather than power machinery to produce masterpieces such as this sideboard. Forkner and Gill Family Gallery (Gallery 238).

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Jan Havicksz. Steen. Dutch, 1626-1679. Twelfth Night Feast, 1662. Oil on canvas. Twelfth night is observed in early January, marking the end of Christmas season and beginning of Epiphany. It celebrates the arrival (twelve days after Christ’s birth) of the three Kings, led by a star to the newborn Jesus. Here Steen depicts the jovial atmosphere pf a prosperous Dutch family’s celebrations. Notice the painting’s many details: egg shells litter the floor where children play with candles symbolic of the Kings, while at the table, adults carouse as a boy offers the little “king” a bite off his holiday waffle. Art of the Netherlands in the 17th Century Gallery (Gallery 242).

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Meditation by the Sea, early 1860s. Unidentified artist. Oil on canvas. The painter of this moody image based the composition on a printed view of Gay Head, on Martha’s Vineyard. The printed image is relatively bland, but the painting is charged with emotion. The rocks along the horizon, the stylized waves and the barren branches create a disquieting mood, which may reflect the country’s anxiety during the Civil War. Joyce and Edward Linde Gallery (Gallery 237).

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George Hawley Hallowell. American, 1871-1926. Saint Michael Slaying the Dragon, 1925. Oil on canvas. Hallowell painted this for a wall over a large organ at the Boston City Club. The ensemble was dedicated to the memory of club members who had perished in World War I. Hallowell worked as an illustrator, a muralist and a painter; he also designed books, posters and stained glass. Lorraine and Alan Bressler Gallery (Gallery 222).

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Probably made by Boston and Sandwich Glass Company. Paneled door. Massachusetts (Sandwich), about 1845-60. Glass, painted wood. This elegant door, once graced the central hallway of the Dorchester, Massachusetts house of Roswell Gleason, a prosperous manufacturer of pewter and silverplate. According to family tradition, the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company made the glass panels as a tribute to Gleason, who often used their glass in his products. The panels were made using the “overlay” technique, in which sheets of blue and colourless glass were fused together and engraved with a rotating grinding wheel. David and Stacey Goel Gallery (Gallery 239)

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A.L. Jewell and Co. Formal horse with gentleman rider weather vane. Massachusetts (Waltham), about 1860. Painted copper.

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Charles I. D. Looff. American (born in Germany), 1852-1918. Carousel figure of a greyhound. Rode Island (Providence), about 1905-10. Painted wood. At the turn of the twentieth century more than 3000 carousels delighted children in  American amusement parks. All of the carousels featured hand-curved animals and Looff made some of the finest. Perhaps modeled after a Looff family pet, this greyhound wears a fanciful saddle and harness, embellished with cut-glass ornaments that would have sparked under the carousel’s electric lights. Joyce and Edward Linde Gallery (Gallery 237).

If you want to pay the MFA a visit make no mistake: the venue is enormous and you had better plan your visit in advance, especially if you’re visiting with children or wishing to see something particular. There’s a plan-your-visit page (here) on the museum’s website which includes floor-plans and all sorts of useful information that I wish I had known of, before visiting myself!

All information on selected items is quoted from the museum’s section/object labels & credit panels ~ Οι πληροφορίες σε επιλεγμένα αντικείμενα/φωτογραφίες είναι ακριβείς παραθέσεις από τις ταμπέλες των εκθεμάτων.
*images by Athina D. Pantazatou for Kicking Back the Pebbles