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Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, a nexus of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two internationally prominent universities, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Culture, art and architecture


Harvard Art Museum, including the Busch-Reisinger Museum, a collection of Germanic art the Fogg Art Museum, a comprehensive collection of Western art, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, a collection of Middle East and Asian art
Harvard Museum of Natural History, including the Glass Flowers collection
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard
Semitic Museum, Harvard
MIT Museum
List Visual Arts Center, MIT

Public art

Cambridge has a large and varied collection of permanent public art, both on city property (managed by the Cambridge Arts Council), and on the campuses of Harvard and MIT. Temporary public artworks are displayed as part of the annual Cambridge River Festival on the banks of the Charles River, during winter celebrations in Harvard and Central Squares, and at university campus sites. An active tradition of street musicians and other performers in Harvard Square entertains an audience of tourists and local residents during the warmer months of the year. The performances are coordinated through a public process that has been developed collaboratively by the performers, city administrators, private organizations and business groups.


Despite intensive urbanization during the late 19th century and 20th century, Cambridge has preserved an unusual number of historic buildings, including some dating to the 17th century. The city also contains an abundance of innovative contemporary architecture, largely built by Harvard and MIT.

Notable historic buildings in the city include

The Asa Gray House (1810)
Austin Hall, Harvard University (1882–84)
Cambridge City Hall (1888–89)
Cambridge Public Library (1888)
Christ Church, Cambridge (1761)
Cooper-Frost-Austin House (1689–1817)
Elmwood House (1767), residence of the President of Harvard University
First Church of Christ, Scientist (1924–30)
The First Parish in Cambridge (1833)
Harvard-Epworth United Methodist Church (1891–93)
Harvard Lampoon Building (1909)
The Hooper-Lee-Nichols House (1685–1850)
Longfellow National Historic Site (1759), former home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Memorial Church of Harvard University (1932)
Memorial Hall, Harvard University (1870–77)
Middlesex County Courthouse (1814–48)
Urban Rowhouse (1875)
O'Reilly Spite House (1908), built to spite a neighbor who would not sell his adjacent land

Contemporary architecture

Baker Dormitory, MIT, by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, one of only two buildings in the U.S. by Aalto
Harvard Graduate Center/Harkness Commons, by The Architects Collaborative (TAC, with Walter Gropius)
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard, the only building in North America by Le Corbusier
Kresge Auditorium, MIT, by Eero Saarinen
MIT Chapel, by Eero Saarinen
Design Research Building, by Benjamin Thompson and Associates
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, by Kallmann McKinnell and Wood, also architects of Boston City Hall
Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard, one of the few buildings in the U.S. by James Stirling, winner of the Pritzker Prize
Stata Center, MIT, by Frank Gehry
Simmons Hall, MIT, by Steven Holl

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