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Forbes House Museum Receives Grant from Milton Women’s Club

A $5,000 grant award from the Milton Women’s Club is the latest donation from generous contributors supporting the Forbes House Museum’s current exterior restoration project.

“It’s especially meaningful to the board to have the support of a Milton organization like the Milton Women’s Club.  We are most grateful for their generosity,” said Anne Malone, chair of the museum trustees.

Combined with private contributions and an allocation from the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the grant is funding restoration of the museum’s porches, starting with the hexagonal south porch with its distinctive Chinese glazed ceramic blocks and other original architectural features.

After extensive preparation this winter, BMR Contractors began removing the porch columns in March and discovered their good craftsmanship meant they required minimal replacement.  “We were very pleased with the quality of the wood,” said Cheryl Tougias, project architect and a principal at Spalding Tougias Architects.

During excavation, contractors learned the foundation was more uneven than expected, and more of the foundation will need to be rebuilt rather than just repointed.  Tougias, a Milton resident, commends the contractor’s level of attention to the project’s historic aspects, including using salvaged brick to match those in the home’s foundation. “BMR Contracting and its subcontractors really have respect for the building’s many historic elements,”she added, noting that a focus on repairing instead of replacing is one of BMR’s strengths.

As the first of several essential projects, the porch restoration is on schedule for completion in June, in accordance with Massachusetts Historical Commission’s grant provisions.

Built in 1833 as the home of Margaret Perkins Forbes and her family, the Forbes House Museum includes Chinese export art, Civil War artifacts and Lincoln memorabilia among its collections. The Greek Revival home on Adams Street was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

During the restoration effort, the museum is adjusting its house tour schedule because of the relocation and storage of many collection items.  For more information, please consult the museum’s website,


Columns from the museum’s south porch before and after restoration


Excavation of the south porch foundation reveals the extent of rebuilding required

Excavation of the south porch foundation reveals the extent of rebuilding required

Forbes House Essay & Drawing Contest Brings History to Life

1st Place Winner, 2015, Grade 4, Adriana Ruiz, Cunningham Elementary School

1st Place Winner, 2015, Grade 4, Adriana Ruiz, Cunningham Elementary School

If you grew up in Milton, chances are at some point you visited the Forbes House Museum and participated in the museum’s annual Lincoln Essay & Drawing Contest.

For the uninitiated, the contest dates back to 1924, when Mary Bowditch Forbes began this tradition as a way of cultivating an appreciation of Lincoln’s life and legacy among Milton’s young people.

Today, students in grades K-8 are invited to participate. The Lincoln Drawing Contest is for students in grades K-5, the Lincoln Essay Contest is for students in grades 6-8.

Says Genevieve Martland, who teaches 6th grade English at Pierce Middle School, “The Forbes House Museum Essay Competition is a valuable way for students to make a connection to one of Milton’s cultural institutions. Although the essay is challenging for sixth graders, it opens the door to learning about the Civil War early in their educational career.”

Last year’s 4th grade winner of the drawing contest, Adriana Ruiz, participated three years in a row and the third time was a charm—she took home the first place prize. Says Adriana, “I was shocked that I won it—there were so many talented students in my class. It was a great honor.”

Adriana said that the contest required some preparation, and that she and her classmates researched images online and watched a few BrainPOPs about Lincoln. (Although the contest is 92 years old, students approach it using the most current resources—BrainPOPs are quick and fun online lessons in history, science, social studies and other topics.)

Enthuses Superintendent Gormley, “The impact that this contest and the Forbes House have had on our students has been powerful in many ways. The students are given the opportunity to feel connected to the historical significance of our community, understand the relevance of Lincoln and his presidency and also display their understanding of these complex issues through both writing and art.”

More details about the Lincoln Essay & Drawing Contest and Rules can be found on the Forbes House Museum website at  The deadline for all entries is Friday, Feb. 26 at 5:00 p.m.

We Have a New Website!

As you can see, The Forbes House Museum has a new website! It has many new features, including a mobile-friendly layout, an all new design, social media integration, an online catalog, virtual exhibit, and much more.

The China Trade Trail section of this website, which includes links to many other points of interest, has also been completely overhauled.

We will be posting news and articles on our blog, The Forbes Letterbook. The new website will be refreshed with new content regularly, so please visit often! Please explore the website and let us know what you think!