Skip to content
BSO, Pops, Tanglewood, and Symphony Hall Logos

Anatomy of a Symphony Hall Chair

The design and framework of the seating of Symphony Hall has not changed since the hall opened in 1900. The original chairs had a wooden base that were cushioned with horse hair, covered with leather, trimmed with leather gimp, secured with brass tacks, and identified with brass numbers and letters. With time, each chair needs repair, and with time, compliance codes change. The seats are no longer covered in leather, but with fire retardant material, and cushioned with a synthetic material. The brass numbers and letters are slowly being replaced with aluminum ones. In this exhibit, an example of the original construction of a Symphony Hall seat is displayed.

A strip of leather with tack holes, brass tacks, a brass plate with the letter "C" and another plate with the number "26" are scattered on a red background

Leather gimp and brass tacks, number, and letter for a Symphony Hall chair

A deconstructed Symphony Hall Chair with layers exposed; each layer has a label in order from outside going inward: Leather, Cotton muslin, Cotton batting, Horse hair, Edge padding, Plywood base
The layers of a Symphony Hall Chair from the outside in are leather, cotton muslin, cotton batting, horse hair, edge padding, and plywood base