The Thrifty New England Traveler is a blog of VisitingNewEngland, a web site that features real New England travel stories told by a lifelong local.

Boston’s Grand Circle Gallery Admission is Free

As you know, we like free and inexpensive things to do in New England — that’s why we started The Thrifty New England Traveler Blog so that we can pass along budget-savvy travel tips and suggestions along to you!

We recently received some great information from Marie-Claire Rochat on the new Grand Circle Gallery in the Fort Point District of Boston, Mass. Admission is free and they have a very interesting travel display going on now. Read on…

Grand Circle Gallery opened mid-summer with a “Golden Age of Travel” exhibit, a display of vintage travel posters that recall a time when luxurious ocean liners crossed the Atlantic, steam-trains sped over track across the European continent – a time when “getting there” was more than half the fun. The gallery is located in the historic, brick headquarters of Grand Circle Corporation, on 347 Congress Street, in the heart of the culturally-thriving Fort Point District. Admission is free.

The posters and travel-inspired photography of Bradford Washburn, George Daniell, Danny Lyon and Elliot Erwitt, are from the extensive, private collection of Alan and Harriet Lewis, owners of the Boston-based Grand Circle Corporation.

“Harriet and I are thrilled to share this collection with the public,” said Alan. “We are just as excited to be offering our neighbors and visitors to this vibrant community a new stop on their map.”

Most of the posters in the collection date from the early 1900’s and celebrate the “Golden Age of Travel,” an era that began at the turn of the 20th century and lasted until the outbreak of WWII. Many of the posters in the exhibit were designed and are signed by European artists widely considered to be the masters of genre. Informative panels on the history of color lithography (the “art” of the poster) are displayed alongside the posters. Exhibits will rotate quarterly.

The Grand Circle Gallery is the newest attraction to the neighborhood, which has been transformed to an artistic hub in recent years.

In the early 19th century, the Fort Point area was marshland and swamp. Recognizing the potential value of the real estate, the Boston Wharf Company filled in the land. Textile mills, refineries and factories (the building that houses the Grand Circle Corporation and Gallery was once a confectionary factory), soon turned the area into a bustling industrial center.

As those industries closed or moved, the neighborhood began to attract artists and craftspeople, drawn by the availability of large lofts, which were well-suited as studios. The Grand Circle Corporation moved to 347 Congress Street in 1985, one of the first companies of its kind to move to the district.

Today, the Fort Point District is also home to the ICA, the Boston Children’s Museum, the Fort Point Arts Community Galleries, the Boston Fire Museum, and is in close proximity to Barbara Lynch’s Sportello, Menton and Drink, Joanne Chang’s Flour Bakery, Channel Café and the ever-eclectic Yada Yada. In addition, the gallery is a member of the Friends of Fort Point Channel, a non-profit collaborative committed to making the Fort Point District and exciting and welcoming place for residents, workforce and visitors.

Admission is free and the gallery is handicap accessible. For more information, including hours, log onto the Grand Circle Gallery web site.

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