The Forbes House Museum is located atop Milton Hill, overlooking Boston’s skyline, the Neponset River marshes, and Boston Harbor in the distance. In the early 1600s, the Neponset Tribe settled at this site along the Neponset River, overlooking the Great Blue Hills. In the late 1700s, the last royal governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson (1711–1780), owned a 95-acre estate on Milton Hill and spent his leisure hours planting trees and cultivating his gardens.
Our China trade collection includes 19th-century export porcelain, paintings, furniture, and other unique items brought back from China by Captain Robert Bennet Forbes and his family. You can see examples of Canton blue-and-white china and three pairs of Chinese Foo Dogs. On view are portraits of the powerful Chinese foreign trade official, Houqua, and Thomas Tunno Forbes, the Captain’s older brother who perished in the waters of China in 1829. See peacock feathers, bronze Chinese cranes, and sculptures of Buddha and the goddess of mercy, Guan Yin.