General admission for children 17 years and under is always free

Boston's Apollo

Gallery Guide

Explore the exhibition, both on- and off-site! Here you'll find wall labels for the artworks, community collaborators' interpretive contributions, and video, audio, and reading materials you can use to deepen your experience and engagement with the themes of the exhibition—all on your own device.

Helga Davis, Finding Thomas McKeller (2019). Video by Helga Davis and Derrick Belcham. Shot and edited by Derrick Belcham.

Finding Thomas McKeller


Research conducted by the Gardner Museum over the last three years revealed the story of Thomas McKeller’s work with John Singer Sargent to his family. Gardner Museum’s Visiting Curator of Performing Arts, Helga Davis, interviewed descendants of family and friends who knew McKeller. In this film, McKeller’s great-niece Deidre O’Bryant shares her thoughts and several project collaborators describe their roles in this journey. 

To view the interpretive text that accompanies each artwork and archival item in the gallery, as well as the full text of each community collaborator's contribution to the exhibition, download the PDF below.

Download the Wall Label PDF

To view or download a PDF of the full timeline, please use the button below.

Download the Timeline PDF

Boston's Apollo Audio - 1:45

00:00 / 1:45

Excerpt of an Interview with Anton Kamp, March 11, 1983

Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C.

Like Thomas McKeller, art student Anton Kamp also modeled for John Singer Sargent. In 1921, he posed for one of the four ceiling roundels in the Museum of Fine Arts murals. Listen to his memories of McKeller with the audio clip above.

Download the Audio Transcript

Boston’s Apollo celebrates the accomplishments of Thomas McKeller. His story is one of many that deserve to be told.  We invite you to share images of individuals whose achievements, like McKeller’s, have been overlooked by posting a photo or drawing of them on Instagram. Tag us with #BostonsApollo. You can see some responses from February and early March below.

Further Reading & Watching

Below is a selected reading list of widely-available books our Interpretation and Community Collaboration team read in preparation for this exhibition.

  • Ibram X. Kendi, How to be an Antiracist
  • Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility
  • Claudia Rankine, Citizen
  • James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
  • Layla Saad, Me and White Supremacy
  • Jelani Memory, A Kid’s Book About Racism
  • Lorraine Elena Roses, Black Bostonians and the Politics of Culture, 1920-1940
  • Richard Ormond, John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal
  • Jim Vrabel, A People’s History of the New Boston
  • Stephen Puleo, A City So Grand
  • Carol Troyen, John Singer Sargent Murals in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Sally M. Promey, Painting Religion in Public
  • David Zucchino, Wilmington’s Lie
  • Kerry K. Greenidge, Black Radical

You can also watch additional video content, including the full performance of Meeting Thomas McKeller with Helga Davis, on our YouTube channel.

Watch Now