Milk Bottle Renovation

With the generous support of long-term partner, HP Hood, the Museum’s iconic Milk Bottle underwent a major renovation during the year to restore its façade and infrastructure. In addition to the complete renovation of the façade, new windows, awnings, exterior lighting, and a new HVAC system were installed. The renovation was recognized as a leading preservation project, receiving the Mayor Thomas M. Menino Legacy Award by Preservation Massachusetts. The Award recognizes preservation projects that are transformative, catalytic, embrace the community, create partnerships, and revitalize the best of the past to make something good for the future.

The Milk Bottle was built in 1934 by Arthur Gagner of Taunton, Mass., to dispense the homemade ice cream he produced. Standing 40 feet tall and weighing in at 15,000 lbs., the Milk Bottle was one of America’s first fast-food drive-in restaurants and an authentic example of the “Coney Island” style of architecture. If real, it could hold 58,620 gallons of milk.

The Milk Bottle stood as a landmark on Route 44 in Taunton until it was abandoned in 1967. It was left in disrepair for years until Hood purchased the deteriorating structure, rescuing it from oblivion. Hood had the Bottle refurbished and donated it to Boston Children’s Museum. In 1977 the Milk Bottle was placed aboard a barge for its “Great Bottle Sail” through Boston Harbor to the Museum Wharf, now Children’s Wharf at 308 Congress Street, where it serves as a destination landmark delighting millions of people from around the world and the city of Boston.

Wessling Architects served as the Preservation Architect for the renovation and construction was completed by South Coast Improvement Company.