Hostetter to be honored by the Nichols House

The Nichols House Museum has named Mount Vernon Street resident Barbara Hostetter the 2022 recipient of the Rose Standish Nichols Award.

“The RSN Award was created to recognize individuals of outstanding achievement who embody the spirit of Rose Nichols,” said Linda Marshall, the museum’s executive director. “Barbara’s civic leadership in the arts, preservation and education sectors have made an important and lasting impact on our community. She embodies the trailblazing and forward-looking spirit of Rose, and we are delighted to honor her this year.”

The award was established in 2019 with Elizabeth “Biddy” Owens, a longtime proponent of historic preservation and member of the Nichols House Board, as its first recipient. June Hutchinson, a landscape designer and also a longtime Nichols House board member, received the award in 2020. Because of pandemic constraints there was no recipient named in 2021, so this year’s in-person award ceremony and dinner signal that life may be approaching normalcy.

As Marshall pointed out, Hostetter, like Rose Nichols, has been a leader in the civic affairs of Boston. She is a co-founder and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Barr Foundation, one of New England’s largest private philanthropies. In 2022, the foundation will award more than $140 million to foster the arts and creativity, address the effects of climate change and improve education.

In addition, Hostetter has filled leadership roles in such significant cultural, humanitarian and educational institutions in the city as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the New England Aquarium, the Friends of the Public Garden, Historic Boston, the Massachusetts Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Arts Advisory Council for the Boston Public Schools, among others. She was also appointed by Governor Romney as a founding member of the Stewardship Council for the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Barbara and her husband Amos are longtime residents of Beacon Hill, raising their three children in the neighborhood. They had their own immersion in historic preservation when they restored the second Harrison Gray Otis House as a family home. That 1802 building was designed in the Federal style by Charles Bulfinch, who also designed 55 Mount Vernon Street where Rose Standish Nichols lived until her death in 1960. As specified in her will, Nichols’ home has been open to the public as a museum since 1961.

“I am deeply touched to accept the Rose Standish Nichols Award,” said Hostetter. “I have admired the great work of the museum over many, many years and the role it plays in bringing our community together and inspiring and welcoming visitors from all over the world. Following both Biddy Owens and June Hutchinson in receiving this honor is so special. I am grateful.” 

The museum will honor Hostetter at a dinner at The Newbury Boston on Thursday evening, November 3. Tickets are now on sale at For more information about the Rose Standish Nichols Award, the award dinner at The Newbury Boston and the Nichols House Museum, contact Linda Marshall, executive director, at 617-227-6993 or email her at [email protected].

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