Sports Musuem renovations at Herter Park

Work crews have been busy recently at the building being used as the library and storage archive of the New England Sports Museum. Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with any significant public access to the site or anything that would make this interesting building a community asset.

Historic Boston has a detailed overview of the history and status of the building which was built in 1959 for the Institute of Contemporary Art. The ICA left for the Back Bay in 1975 and then moved to its new waterfront location in 2006. In the 1980's the building was used as exhibit space for the Sports Museum but now it sits quiet doing nothing for the park in which it sits.

The Herter Park section of the largely-unfulfilled Charles River Master Plan makes the following recommendations:

Provide public programming in the Herter Center that takes direct advantage of the river setting and theater space and benefits park users.

Future use should be self-supporting and contribute to the structure’s restoration and upkeep. Possible uses include an environmental education program or an MDC Park Ranger station. Park Rangers could lead nature walks to restored areas in Herter West and Hell’s Half Acre, working with visiting classes on environmental issues. A part-time educational and special events coordinator could handle outreach to public schools and manage public events at Herter Center.

The park facilities must be available for public functions. Allow occasional private uses to generate income within guidelines set by the MDC. A cafe featuring river views could be located in a portion of the building.

But for now it seems that it will continue to just be a place where old (though probably interesting) stuff sits in the dark behind locked doors, though after the renovations are complete the building will be open by appointment for people interested in whatever its contents may be.

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