News & Updates

Leventhal Map & Education Center celebrates Immigrant Heritage Month with a special exhibition at City Hall and the help of the BPDA

Jun 07, 2018

Today, the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center announced that the exhibition, Who We Are: Boston Immigration Then and Now, will be on view at Boston City Hall for a limited engagement to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month. Originally premiering in 2017 at the Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library, the exhibition celebrates the richness of ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity that is the foundation of Boston’s heritage. 

With support from the Hyams Foundation, the installation invites visitors to compare the cultural landscape of Boston today with that of the city over 100 years ago, studying the evolution of the city’s foreign-born population. The maps and graphics on display—many of which were produced by the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) housed in City Hall—tell the stories of Boston’s foreign-born residents, their origins in more than 130 countries, and the communities that have evolved over the years, shaping the distinct neighborhoods of the Boston we know today. 

"Boston is, and always will be, a city of immigrants. For hundreds of years, people have come from every corner of the world to Boston, contributing to the diverse city we have today," said Mayor Walsh. "By telling the stories of our immigrant communities, and seeing these changes reflected over time through this exhibit, we're celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month in a way that is inspiring and inclusive to all."
"During Immigrant Heritage Month, we honor our City's immigrant history," said Alejandra St. Guillen, Director of the Mayor's Office for Immigrant Advancement. "The Who We Are: Boston Immigration Then and Now exhibition tells Boston's immigrant stories over the past 100 years using visually appealing maps and graphics. We are delighted to partner with the Leventhal Map & Education Center, the Boston Public Library, and the Boston Planning and Development Agency to bring this exhibition to City Hall for all to see and learn."
“The BPDA's Research Division is thrilled that this exhibition will be on display in Boston's City Hall," said Alvaro Lima, Director of Research for the agency. "We are excited to see our data being utilized and showcased in this way. For additional information on the BPDA's work regarding Boston's immigrant communities, please be sure to visit our website."  
Who We Are: Boston Immigration Then and Now is open Monday-Friday 8:30am-5pm;

The exhibition is located in the Mezzanine of Boston City Hall, 1 City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA.
Visit our website to view the virtual exhibition:  
The Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center is ranked among the top map centers in the United States for the size of its collection, the significance of its historical (pre-1900) material, its advanced digitization program, and its exceptional exhibitions and educational programs.
The Center’s mission is to use its extensive map collections to inspire curiosity and learning among people of all ages, illuminating history, geography, world cultures, science, and contemporary issues. The Center offers a robust selection of K-12 education programs for students of all levels, develops and disseminates lesson plans, and trains teachers to use maps effectively and creatively in the classroom. Public programming includes changing exhibitions, lectures, workshops, classes, and family programs. An extensive website offers free access to nearly 10,000 high resolution digitized maps of historical significance, virtual exhibitions, geo-referencing capabilities, and a Tools for Teachers section with map sets and classroom activities.   
The Center was established by philanthropist Norman Leventhal as a public-private partnership with the Boston Public Library and was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2007. The Center stewards the Boston Public Library’s permanent collection of 200,000 maps and 5,000 atlases and a select group of rare maps collected by Mr. Leventhal. The collection, the second largest in the country located in a public library, is freely available for academic and public research. To learn more, visit
The Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement works to ensure the full participation of immigrants within the civic, economic, social and cultural life of Boston. Every year, MOIA assists over 2,000 residents by connecting them to English language classes, helping them obtain citizenship application assistance, facilitating access to city services, and providing accurate information about immigration laws, which helps immigrants contribute socially and economically to the city. For more information go to: or call 617-635-2980.
As the City of Boston’s urban planning and economic development agency, the BPDA works in partnership with the community to plan Boston's future while respecting its past. The agency’s passionate and knowledgeable staff guides physical, social, and economic change in Boston’s neighborhoods and its downtown to shape a more prosperous, resilient, and vibrant city for all. The BPDA also prepares residents for new opportunities through employment training, human services and job creation. Learn more at, and follow us on Twitter @BostonPlans.
Boston Public Library provides educational, cultural and civic enrichment, free to all, for the residents of Boston,  Massachusetts and beyond, through its collections, services, programs, and spaces. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library is a pioneer of public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. As a City of Boston historic cultural institution, Boston Public Library today features a Central Library, twenty-five branches, a map center, business library, archival center; extensive special collections of rare books, manuscripts, photographs, and prints; and rich digital content and online services. The award-winning renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square, completed in 2016, together with new, renovated and historic branches, provide a transformed library system for the next generation of users. Boston Public Library enriches lives, hosting thousands of free educational programs and exhibitions, and providing free library services online and in-person to millions of people each year. To learn more, visit

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