Gibson House Museum

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137 Beacon Street, Boston, MA, USA - (617) 267-6338

Gibson House Museum Boston Reviews

jenniescharm jenniesc…
88 reviews
Victorian Time Capsule in Boston's Back Bay May 27, 2012
Entering the Gibson House really is like stepping back to the Victorian era. The last member of the Gibson family to live in the house began roping off the furniture in 1936 convinced the home would one day become a treasure. Back then, as his guests sat on the stairs, he was politely labeled “eccentric.” Today Charles Gibson Jr. is viewed as a man ahead of his time. Amazing how the years can do that…

Built in 1859-1860, the Gibson House was designed by Edward Clarke Cabot in the newly created Back Bay. (Much of what is part of Boston today used to be water and marshes, filled in over the years as space ran out in other parts of the city.) This house was one of the first on the street and stood alone for about a decade before other families began venturing to the area. What makes the house even more unusual is that it first owner was a woman –Catherine Hammond Gibson, a widow, who moved there with her son Charles Hammond Gibson.

What really stood out to me on my tour of the house was that upper-class life back then was all about going up.

In the Gibson House, the ground floor and the fifth floor belonged to the servants. (When visitors walk into the house, they are on the first floor.) The first and second floors were used for adult family members and for guests. The third floor was the parents' private domain, while the fourth floor was for the children. And moving between them all was the servants. Every time I’m tempted to complain about being tired, I remind myself that at the end of their day the servants in the Gibson had to climb almost 100 steps just to go to bed.

When making your way up the grand staircase (the servants used the back staircase), be sure to look up at the Ventilator Shaft. Designed to both bring natural light into the interior of the house and allow warm air to circulate through the house from the furnace on the ground floor, it may be the last one left in Back Bay as they were outlawed after Boston’s fire of 1872.

Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for students & seniors, and $3 for children under 12. Cash or check only – no credit cards accepted.
Exterior of the Gibson House
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photo by: bubu932