Opened in 2011, the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum uses its architecturally magnificent building, mammoth steam pumping engines, and the adjacent historic Chestnut Hill Reservoir to interpret unique stories of one of the country's earliest metropolitan water systems. Through educational programs and exhibits focused on engineering, architecture, urbanism, public health, and social history, the Museum connects these stories to current issues and future challenges.
Dubbed ''The Cathedral of Steam Technology,'' the facility served originally as the high service pumping station that delivered clean, public drinking water into the heart of 19th century Boston. The museum preserves the three original, steam engines that pumped millions of gallons of water each day into Boston. The historic building, designed in the style of H.H. Richardson, was built by Boston City Architects Arthur H. Vinal in 1888, and enlarged by Edmund March Wheelwright in 1897. Turn of the century engineer and microbiologist George C. Whipple, later co-founder of the Harvard School of Public Health, and chemist Ellen Swallow Richards, the first woman admitted to MIT and a pioneer of water quality testing, are among the notable contributors to the Waterworks legacy.
Today, the museum is FREE for regular admission, and serves as a community hub for audiences interested in the rich history of the Waterworks system. Fee-based education programs for the general public and school groups are available by pre-arranement, and the Great Engines Hall is available for fabulous private rental events.