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On February 4, 1870, the Massachusetts Legislature incorporated the Trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, “for the purpose of erecting a museum for the preservation and exhibition of works of art, of making, maintaining, and establishing collections of such works, and of affording instruction in the Fine Arts.” In this story of one of the world’s few privately financed museums, Walter Whitehill writes with grace, elegance, and wit of the remarkable men and women who have applied money and talent to bringing excellence in the arts to Boston. Although the book is the history of a single institution, it also records a century of changes in taste and values. The author has drawn on museum reports as well as anecdotes, personal reminiscences, and recollections of staff members. He describes the Museum’s collections, their acquisition and display (which sometimes required almost superhuman efforts of restoration).