Our exhibit displays six portraits of children from Historic Newton’s collection and also tells what happened to each child in adulthood. The lives of the children in the portraits reflect major events and cultural shifts in 19th century America, including changing gender roles, and military service in the Civil War. Drop-in activities build on themes from the lives of the people shown in the portraits.
The Jackson Homestead has a rich 200 year history. Newton changed greatly during those years and so did the house, as it has adapted to the times and its residents. Discover these changes throughout the house, and learn more about how the house was built, used, and altered. This exhibit brings together historic images, original text written by family members, and contemporary expert opinions to tell the story of the Jackson Homestead's first 200 years. Displayed throughout the house, each panel connects to the specific history of its location. Come discover the changes a structure can go through over the course of its lifetime.
The Newton History Gallery features tools, furniture, clothing, and toys that demonstrate what life was like in Newton in centuries past.
When Edward Jackson died in 1681, he held “two man servants”—yet his great-great-great-grandson, William Jackson, helped enslaved people flee bondage by offering them sanctuary as part of the clandestine network of safe houses and escape routes now known as the Underground Railroad. This exhibition, which opened in February 2012, explores the sometimes forgotten institution of slavery in the North during colonial times and the work of Newton abolitionists, including the divisions among them. It examines Nathaniel Allen’s West Newton English and Classical School, opened in 1854, which, unique in its time, accepted students from both sexes and all races, and Newton’s Myrtle Baptist Church, founded by a members of Newton’s African American community. The Jacksons of the Jackson Homestead exemplified the changing attitudes of some northerners toward slavery.
Pursuing a design and building career in Newton Highlands by the mid-1870s, Annie Cobb was arguably the first American woman architect. Cobb made her design debut in pre-Civil War South Boston, flourished during the last three decades of the nineteenth century in Newton Highlands, and exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. She succeeded in fashioning a career for herself in the exclusive male world of architecture and construction in a time when women’s work was mainly limited to the home. This exhibition is the first ever about Cobb herself, as well as the first time all five female architects who presented at the Woman’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition are featured together since the Fair took place in 1893.
This exhibit of toys from the museum’s collection asks visitors to consider what these toys taught past generations—and how those lessons are similar to or different from the ones expressed by today’s toys. Children's attractions include hands-on toys and a model train on an elevated track.