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In 1906, as many as 60,000 bathers would gather at Magazine Beach each summer. A swimming float is at the left and Brookline Gas Co. gas holders and the River Street Bridge to the right. (Photo courtesy of the Cambridge Historical Commission. Gift of Walter L. Colburn.)

In 1906, as many as 60,000 bathers would gather at Magazine Beach each summer. A swimming float is at the left and Brookline Gas Co. gas holders and the River Street Bridge to the right. (Photo courtesy of the Cambridge Historical Commission. Gift of Walter L. Colburn.)

In anticipation of a public design process next year to decide the landscape of the western portion of Magazine Beach, the city’s second-largest park, the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association, Cambridge Arts Council and Cambridge Historical Commission have opened an exhibit called “Magazine Beach – A Place Apart.”

The exhibit opens today and runs through Jan. 27, with an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 17.

“Magazine Beach – A Place Apart” looks at the history of the park’s 15 acres along the Charles River, “from a wooded island on a tidal estuary to its current form,” designers said. “It examines the forces that have defined it uses – for gunpowder storage, a river bathing beach, a boathouse for rowers, a stormwater sewage treatment plant and as a favorite swimming, picnicking and recreation destination.”

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation owns and manages the Magazine Beach Park for the public, and this past summer rebuilt the slate roof of the 1818 powder magazine, the park’s focal point, after renovating its eastern portion in 2009. In September the state committed funds, with a Cambridge match, to complete park plans from the powder magazine to the Riverside Boat Club.

Next year, when the state reopens the design process, residents should be ready to take part, Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association officials said. They suggested the exhibit could help:

“Magazine Beach – A Place Apart” offers a meditation on the past, present and future of this changing place. We invite you to contribute to the conversation. What does Magazine Beach mean to you and what do you hope for its future?

Gallery 344 is on the second floor of City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway. It is free and open from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays; 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 8:30-12noon  Friday. For information, visit cambridgeartscouncil.org.

This post was written from a press release.