Special to Times
The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) announced on Monday, Nov. 7, the delivery of $569,118 in funding to The West End Museum, provided by The HYM Investment Group (“HYM”), BXP, and Delaware North.
The museum shut down almost a year ago when a burst pipe caused catastrophic flooding, and it has remained closed since then due to significant damage. While only three photographs made up the archival loss, the physical exhibits and space were ruined, and will need to be replaced. This funding will allow the museum to create a new space where they can rebuild and replace the exhibits.
“The West End Museum is a historical treasure that reflects Boston’s cultural legacy,” Mayor Michelle Wu said in a press release. “I’m excited that this funding will support the reopening of this important cultural institution. I’m grateful to the BPDA and our community partners for ensuring that this neighborhood’s history can be connected to our communities for generations to come.”
Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison said in a press release: “The West End Museum memorializes an important part of Boston’s history, and certainly one of the most defining moments of planning and development history in this City. I want to thank HYM, BXP, and Delaware North for their investment in this important historical organization, as well as the neighborhood itself.”
Said Councilor Kenzie Bok: “The West End Museum has become a cultural touchstone for the West End and Greater Boston over its two decades of operation. Preserving and connecting to the history of the West End neighborhood is such important work, and I’m grateful to HYM, Boston Properties, Delaware North, and the BPDA for supporting the reopening of this vital community resource.”
The new and improved space will be home to several exhibits covering a range of topics including urban renewal, immigration, the Black North Slope, and much more. They are also hoping to create more interactive and dynamic content to improve the experience of the museum. In addition to the West End Museum, the Old West Church has received $80,000 from the Bulfinch Crossing project to facilitate ADA compliance at their building.
“Funding from the BPDA will allow The West End Museum to reopen with the ambitious plan that we had set out before the flood forced us to close, and will enable rebuilding to happen at the earliest possible date,” Sebastian Belfanti, Executive Director of the West End Museum, said in a press release. “This support marks a major turning point for the museum, and is a significant historical event in its own right. It is the BPDA making a significant commitment to preserving the memory of the West End, more than six decades after playing a leading role in its demolition.”
Added Thomas N. O’Brien, Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of HYM: “We are proud to support the West End Museum and the Old West Church. These important cultural and community institutions have given back to Boston’s residents for generations and are integral to the fabric of the Bulfinch Crossing neighborhood. This would not be possible without our project partners at National Real Estate Advisors and Carr Properties.”
Bryan Koop, Executive Vice President for BXP’s Boston region, said: “BXP is pleased to have the opportunity to support the rehabilitation and enhancement of the West End Museum, a treasured neighborhood landmark located steps from The Hub on Causeway. We look forward to seeing the Museum reopen with new exhibits that represent the vast history of Boston and the West End neighborhood.”
Charlie Jacobs, CEO Delaware North’s Boston Holdings said: “The West End Museum is an important piece of our City dedicated to preserving the history and culture of this great Boston neighborhood. We at TD Garden, the Hub of Hockey and The Hub on Causeway consider ourselves lucky to be part of this great community and happy this funding can help reopen and reconnect the neighborhood to the West End Museum soon.”
This funding is part of the community benefits agreements that the BPDA negotiated with HYM, BXP, and Delaware North for the Bulfinch Crossing project (the redevelopment of the Government Center Garage) and The Hub on Causeway project. Community benefits and mitigation from projects are negotiated via the Article 80 review process with developers as a way to ensure significant and long lasting improvements to the public when new developments are built in their neighborhoods, according to the BPDA.