Becoming Boston
Map of changing Boston shoreline from 1895

Becoming Boston: Eight Moments in the Geography of a Changing City offers an introduction to the historical and present-day story of Boston through the collections of the Leventhal Map & Education Center.

Enter the exhibition

Maps trace out the complicated history of places, and we can use them to document geography in much the same way that we can use diaries and letters to document biography. In the eight cases of this exhibition, we follow the changing spatial forms of the place we now call Boston—from before the landscape carried that name all the way through the struggles, clashes, and dreams that continue to reshape the city today. These maps don’t merely depict facts about how the city looked at different moments in its history. Instead, they invite us to contemplate how geographic forces, both natural and human, have constructed the physical and social world around us, through large and small transformations that have transpired over many centuries.

See the themes

Visit the exhibition in person

Becoming Boston is on permanent display at the Leventhal Center’s gallery at the Central Library in Copley Square. Admission is free.