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At Boston Children’s Museum, they’re pouring TLC into the giant milk bottle

A renovation project kicked off Wednesday morning at the giant Hood milk bottle.
A renovation project kicked off Wednesday morning at the giant Hood milk bottle.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Fort Point’s giant Hood milk bottle will get “a much-needed facelift,” according to Carole Charnow, president and CEO of Boston Children’s Museum. That means fresh siding, updated awnings, plus the first-ever interior heating and cooling system for the bottle’s charming snack stand (which is closed for the rest of 2020, sadly).

The 40-foot-tall bottle weighs 15,000 pounds. A real container that size would hold more than 58,000 gallons. The renovation kicked off Wednesday morning with a ceremony at the retro landmark.

Built in 1934 for a Coney Island-style ice cream stand, the milk bottle towered over Route 44 in Taunton for more than three decades before falling into disrepair. The Hood dairy company eventually purchased and refurbished the wooden structure, donating it to Boston Children’s Museum. In 1977, the bottle traveled to its new home via barge through Boston Harbor. “It has been a meeting place and beloved landmark outside Boston Children’s Museum for 43 years,” Charnow said in a statement.

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The milk bottle arrived by barge to Boston Children's Museum in 1977.
The milk bottle arrived by barge to Boston Children's Museum in 1977.Boston Children's Museum

But the bottle takes a real beating due to weather conditions on the waterfront. In 2007, the structure was rebuilt almost entirely for the new Children’s Museum plaza; only the cap remains original.

This time around, the contractor is using rot-resistant siding and other sustainable materials, with hopes of minimizing future maintenance. Hood is footing the bill for renovation costs totaling “several hundred thousand dollars,” according to a museum spokesperson. The spiffed up milk bottle will be ready in about four months.


Christy DeSmith can be reached at christy.desmith@globe.com. Follw her on Twitter @christydesmith