Travel Tip: Go Global At a Mapparium in Boston
As a seat of American independence, Boston is chock-full of museums and historic sites. With all that ever-loving history it can be easy to miss a real gem. Though not as well-known as the Paul Revere House or Faneuil Hall, the Mary Baker Eddy Library is a wealth of fascinating information about a significant movement in this country, as well as the location of a truly unique structure.
Eddy was the founder of the Christian Science movement in America. The library features exhibits on her life and works, as well as the birth and development of Christian Science. Regardless of your beliefs, the interactive exhibits at the Quest Gallery are an interesting look into the life of a unique American figure. The Hall of Ideas, a sanctuary of stone, water, and computer-generated text, offers a look into the ideas that have shaped our culture.
If you only see one exhibit at the Library, however, it has to be the Mapparium—a painted glass globe three stories high. Traverse the glowing cavernous space via a thirty-foot bridge that runs through it. Built in 1935, the map on the globe has remained unchanged and offers a unique look at the orientation of the world in the first part of the twentieth century. A guided presentation features backlighting of the countries on the globe while voiceovers read some of the biggest ideas throughout the ages. Marvel at the illusory acoustics caused by the spherical structure.
Here's a tip: Stand at one end of the bridge and whisper something to your friend at the other end. Just make sure it's not too private...
For more information, visit MaryBakerEddyLibrary.org. Open Tuesday - Sunday 10am-4pm. Admission is $6/ticket with discounts for seniors, students, and children.
Photo credit: Courtesy of The Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston, MA
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Please note that the reason why the photo is from the library is because they forbid photography. In this world of modern digital communications, I think Fodor's should warn travelers of these prohibitions. Many of us see value in blacklisting those locations that forbid nonflash photography. In most cases, they are trying to sell what we could otherwise take for ourselves.