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Exhibition Opening Reception, Brilliant Beginnings: The Athenæum and the Museum in Boston

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Enrico Meneghelli (1853–after 1912), Picture Gallery of the Boston Athenæum (detail), 1876. Athenæum  purchase, 1876; Cloisonné vase, Chinese, Qianlong era (1735–1796). Athenæum purchase, 1875; Letter pouch (detail), Italian,  17th century. Athenæum purchase, 1876; Enrico Meneghelli, Hall of the Maidens, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, at Copley Square,  with Casts from the Boston Athenæum (detail), 1899. Athenæum purchase, 1998 Brilliant Beginnings: The Athenæum and the Museum in Boston

This exhibition celebrates the historic partnership between the Boston Athenæum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) in the years surrounding the museum’s founding in 1870. The closest ally to the early MFA, the Athenæum housed the nascent museum’s early exhibitions, placed a major portion of its art collection at the MFA’s new building in 1876, and remained an indispensable partner to the younger institution into the 1880s.

This exhibition showcases diverse artifacts that remain in the Athenæum’s collection from this erstwhile alliance—paintings, sculptures, watercolors, drawings, photographs, decorative arts, and archival materials—and places them in their historical contexts. The exhibition is organized by the Boston Athenæum and curated by Hina Hirayama, Associate Curator of Paintings & Sculpture.

To Reserve: Open to the public. Reservations not Required

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Most programs held in the Bayard Henry Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

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To request ASL interpretation services for any of the Athenaeum's programs, please contact Hannah Weisman at 617-720-7617 or