The Gibson House Museum
The Gibson House Museum
4.5
Speciality MuseumsHistoric Sites
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Thursday
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Friday
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Saturday
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Sunday
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
About
The Gibson House Museum highlights mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth century life in Boston's historic Back Bay neighborhood. Visits are by guided tour and must be booked through our website. Tours begin at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. History: Completed in 1860, the Gibson House stands virtually untouched as a historic house museum in Back Bay. A unique and unspoiled single-family residence, it retains its kitchen, scullery, butler's pantry, and water closets, as well as formal rooms and private quarters. As early as 1936, Charles Gibson Jr. decided to preserve his nineteenth-century townhouse as a museum. He died in 1954 and the Gibson House was officially opened to the public as a museum in 1957. In 2001, the National Park Service designated Gibson House as a National Historic Landmark.
Duration: < 1 hour
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Back Bay
Wander around this quintessential neighborhood in the heart of Boston for high-end shops, restaurants, and the feeling of city bustle. Its most identifiable skyscrapers, the Prudential Center and John Hancock Tower, are highlights of the city skyline. Visit Newbury street to explore unique and trendy boutiques – as well as every other kind of store imaginable – all housed in beautiful brownstone buildings. In nice weather, restaurant patio seating is packed with Bostonians and tourists alike soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the food. Commonwealth Ave offers a beautiful stroll down residential tree-lined streets. Keep walking towards the Charles River and enjoy a beautiful view by the water. In warmer months, people run and bike on paths running along the esplanade, and sail and kayak on the Charles River. Boylston street, also full of shops, bars, and restaurants, is the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Head towards Copley Square and check out the Boston Public Library, which is particularly beautiful from the Dartmouth street entrance.
How to get there
  • Arlington • 6 min walk
  • Copley • 9 min walk
Reach out directly
See what travelers are saying
  • CityHiker73
    482 contributions
    A step back in time
    It was so much fun to step back in time to learn about the Gibson family in Back Bay. Those brownstone homes have always intrigued me. Michael did an excellent job sharing stories about the family as well as bits about the house itself and the furnishing.
    We are so glad to hear you enjoyed your tour at the Gibson House Museum! Thank you for the five-star review! Come visit us again to get another peak into the iconic Boston brownstones!
    Written January 12, 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 7, 2023
  • Susan B
    2 contributions
    Wonderful tour on the 19th century servant experience in Boston
    The Gibson House "upstairs downstairs" tour gives wonderful insights into the lives of servants in a grand Back Bay home in the 19th century. The ability to enter the house through the service door from an alley provides a unique opportunity to see the house as the servants saw it. Sarah, the guide, was knowledgeable, informative and conveyed enthusiasm for the topic.
    Thank you for your kind five-star review of our "Upstairs, Downstair" servant tour, Susan! Flipping the lens on the house and entering into the museum through the back alley really is a highlight of the tour, bringing the servant's perspective to life! Our tours are indebted to our talented team of guides who are dedicated to sharing the museum's history.
    Written January 12, 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 16, 2023
  • Jonathan B
    1 contribution
    An exquisite trip to the past
    I love visiting Newport for the historic mansions, but I never explored the history in my own backyard in Boston. Do your self a favor and explore this accessible home and take in the rich history of our town. The tour guide was knowledgeable, friendly, and entertaining. The best about this home is that nothing is behind a rope — you get to breathe in the space and live it’s rooms.
    Thank you, Jonathan, for your kind five-star review of our museum! The Gibson House really is a hidden gem here in the Back Bay and we are so glad to hear you had such a positive experience on your tour. As you noted, much of the house has been left as it was during the 19th century (about 75% of the collection is completely original to the family) which means you get to step back into time just by entering our space!
    Written February 23, 2024
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written February 10, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
79 reviews
Excellent
50
Very good
23
Average
2
Poor
3
Terrible
1

Jonathan B
1 contribution
Feb 2024 • Couples
I love visiting Newport for the historic mansions, but I never explored the history in my own backyard in Boston. Do your self a favor and explore this accessible home and take in the rich history of our town.

The tour guide was knowledgeable, friendly, and entertaining. The best about this home is that nothing is behind a rope — you get to breathe in the space and live it’s rooms.
Written February 10, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you, Jonathan, for your kind five-star review of our museum! The Gibson House really is a hidden gem here in the Back Bay and we are so glad to hear you had such a positive experience on your tour. As you noted, much of the house has been left as it was during the 19th century (about 75% of the collection is completely original to the family) which means you get to step back into time just by entering our space!
Written February 23, 2024
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Love2Travel06117
West Hartford, CT53 contributions
Apr 2022
Our docent was very welcoming and provided an excellent range of information about the house and family. The Back Bay area is very intriguing but there are few opportunities to view the interior of the residences there. The Gibson house provides a glimpse into the home and lives of members of the Boston elite. There is a very elegant feel to the house and many interesting artifacts. Two of my favorites were the ventilation tower and the iron caddy in the laundry room. The tour was very interesting and informative.
Written April 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Susan B
2 contributions
Sep 2023 • Friends
The Gibson House "upstairs downstairs" tour gives wonderful insights into the lives of servants in a grand Back Bay home in the 19th century. The ability to enter the house through the service door from an alley provides a unique opportunity to see the house as the servants saw it. Sarah, the guide, was knowledgeable, informative and conveyed enthusiasm for the topic.
Written September 16, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for your kind five-star review of our "Upstairs, Downstair" servant tour, Susan! Flipping the lens on the house and entering into the museum through the back alley really is a highlight of the tour, bringing the servant's perspective to life! Our tours are indebted to our talented team of guides who are dedicated to sharing the museum's history.
Written January 12, 2024
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Nomad32731
7 contributions
Friendly, well-informed, and lively. I didn't really care to see this place, but she really brought it alive. Great recommendations on other places to visit, & places to eat, too! We had an exceptional experience at the Gibson House. Our guide was well-informed about the building, and also about local restaurants and sites. What a great, off-the-beaten-path place!!
Written December 1, 2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mrslynseyjane
London, UK975 contributions
Jun 2015 • Solo
I love visiting old houses and seeing the hidden treasures inside, so was very happy to have the opportunity to visit the Gibson House Museum.

There were only 2 of us on the tour, so it was like a personal tour! You can only see 2 floors of the home and the basement, as the upper floors are used as offices. The gentleman tour guide was very friendly and clearly very knowledgable.

The house is almost as though someone still lives there, because there is still so much furniture and belongings in it. It was great to see all the treasures of the property and learn about the history of its occupants. If you enjoy older properties, history and architecture then this is for you!

My only negative was that the tour was very quick. We moved from room to room quite rapidly. I would have liked longer to look at the items in the room, this may have been because there was only 2 of us on the tour. I thought the tour was an hour long, but we were out after about 25 minutes.
Written July 16, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

merrytyme
Cape Cod, MA22 contributions
Jan 2015 • Couples
We were so glad we took the tour. It was truly a time capsule of Victorian Boston. Everything in the house is original - that includes the furniture, carpets, wallpaper, bath tub. unique heating system, etc. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and seemed to enjoy sharing information about the house and family. A fun and unique experience.
Written January 27, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Travellover6128
San Francisco, CA3,092 contributions
Aug 2011 • Couples
Gibson House isn't one of the famous tourist destinations in Boston, but it should be.  GH is an old historic Boston house preserved by the grandson of the original owner who moved there in the mid 1800s.  You have to view the house through a tour, which run Weds-Sun at 1, 2 and 3pm.  You don't need to book but ensure that you are there on time otherwise the tour will start without you and you won't be able to join late.  It's $9 for adults and money well spent.
On the wet day we turned up, it was only myself and husband on the tour and we had so much fun.  The tour guide ( I think it was Emily), was absolutely fantastic, so informative and friendly and instead of the tour lasting one hour, we were almost there for 2 just asking many questions on the life and times of Boston citizens during that era, which was a subject she was an expert on. Absolutely fascinating.
You start the tour in the hallway, move the the dining room, the butler's room, up to the parlour and the men's lounge, then up again to the writing room, the bathroom and the bedroom for the lady of the house.  All this before descending to the basement and viewing the kitchen and washing room.  In every room you learnt some great history and got to see how an upper class family of the times lived.
It was one of the best and most informative things we did in Boston.  Highly recommended.
Written August 28, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marc N
San Juan, Puerto Rico19 contributions
May 2015 • Couples
Here's what it's not: A polished collection of period furniture from various places presented in a somewhat sterile fashion. Rather, it's the house of an aging man who lived in the family home unchanged for half a century or so, and then, in the 1950's, decided to make a museum of it. So the effect is that he had just stepped out, and you felt almost guilty invading his space. That, plus the passion and knowledge of our guide, made it a wonderful experience!
Written May 27, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

teresa3000
Pennsylvania2,783 contributions
May 2015 • Couples
This home is located in a residential are. Very close to Public Garden and Boston Common and 4-5 blocks away from Copley Square.
We arrived for the last tour of the day at 3p.m. There was a sign by the door letting us know that the next tour will be on the hour. We waited outside until the guide opened the door. It is a nice home, we visited the 3 floors and the basement. Photography is permitted with no flash. The furniture looks good along with all the other pieces. Once on the third floor I was tired, so the tour guide brought a chair for me to sit and she took the chair to the next room. I liked that treatment.
Written May 16, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

annie1776
Virginia19 contributions
Mar 2015 • Friends
I enjoy touring homes. If you don't already enjoy touring homes, I doubt the Gibson House will convert you. If you like touring homes and authenticity is important to you, the Gibson House is a great place to see. The items the family owned: cookbooks, spice tins, irons, art, furnishing, photos - all the originals are there. Including things with lots and lots of wear. Overall, the house is dark and not very cheerful, but I loved the glimpse of time standing still.

We had a fantastic tour guide (I think it was Kelsey) who was enthusiastic and knowledgeable about both the time period customs and the details of the house.

With all there is to see and do in Boston, the Gibson House will not make the top of anyone's "must see" list. But if you like touring homes and you have an hour, it's a very inexpensive way to visit another time.
Written April 2, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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