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The Adams Academy, located on the site of the birthplace of John Hancock, was a preparatory school endowed by John Adams and is today the home of the Quincy Historical Society Museum and Library. The Academy building, designed by the Boston firm of Ware and Van Brunt in 1870, is considered an influential work in the Gothic Revival style in America and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1994.

The Adams Academy, home of the Quincy Historical Society & Museum.

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In 1822 President John Adams established a fund to build a new town church and to found a college preparatory school for boys. Adams specified the site on which the school was to be built, in order to honor his colleagues in the Revolution—Hancock and Josiah Quincy, Jr., whose family had later lived at this location. (The house burned down in 1758.) The Adams Academy opened in the fall of 1872. The Academy building featured a distinctive use of native Quincy granite and combined its Gothic style with modern architectural principles. Despite a distinguished faculty and a reputation for excellence, the school closed in 1907.

At the Adams Academy, the Historical Society maintains a museum on the history of Quincy from Native Americans to the early 21st century and a library of materials on local and regional history and holds a variety of school and public programs.