Palazzo Ducale Model in the North End
The Boston Public Library central branch in Copley Square is famous for its architecture and collection. There are 25 other libraries scattered around the city with each one offering something special and unique to visitors.
In the North End, the Boston Public Library branch is located on 25 Parmenter Street.
Entrance to the North End Branch.
There are Three Reasons to visit the North End Library branch:
- The building architecture is based on a Roman Villa. (There is a tiny courtyard in the center of the library that has plants.)
- There's a scale model of the Palazzo Ducale in Venice constructed by Henrietta Macy and Louise Stimson.
- There's a white marble bas-relief of Dante Alighieri in the center court.
The scale model of the Palazzo Ducale in Venice is a hidden treasure of Boston's North End and worth checking out!
Five Things I Learned About the Palazzo Ducale
The model isn't not visible to see when you walk in the Library. As you walk in, keep going straight. the model is located on the center wall facing away from the main entrance.
The model was put in the library in the 1930s. In 2013, the model underwent a complete restoration.
The model shows the scene of Venice from the 1500s, with political dignitaries and patricians.
There's a pamphlet that you can get that describes the model and people to look for in the model. Makes for a great treasure hunt for kids! (Can you find the begger wearing a black hood to hide his identity.)
There is a book all about the life and times of Miss Henrietta Gardner Macy. .Amazon.com: The Nun of the CA'Frollo: Life and Letters of Henrietta Gardner Macy (9781258057381): Clementine Bacheler, Jessie Orr White, Henrietta Gardner Macy: Books. Yes, you can get the book from the library!
The Story of the Model
An abbreviated version of the story behind the Palazzo Ducale model:
The model was requested to be built by a former kindergarten teacher (Miss Henrietta Gardner Macy) that taught in the North End. She wanted to live in Europe, and when the opportunity came she left and headed to Italy
Miss Macy kept contact with her Boston friends by writing. A couple of Boys visited her and helped her build a model of the Palace. The Boys had fun and promised to finish the project when they returned to Venice. The boys caught some bacterial infection and died.
Miss Macy was very sad to hear of the news. She decided to honor the boys by building a larger scale model. She worked hard on the model and the New York Metropolitan Museum showed interest in buying it. However, it was destroyed in a fire in England.
Miss Macy went back to the drawing board and made another model - this one to be bigger and better. Miss Macy died in 1927 without finishing the model.
Miss Nina C. Mitchell, one of her friends, decided to hire some craftmen to finish the job. Once completed, it was donated to the library for the enjoyment of the neighborhood.
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