Museums & Galleries in New England
The museums of New England offer a window into the astonishing variety of art, history, culture, and science that is typical of all of New England. Every state has museum exhibits and images that are famous across the nation and the world: the historic homes of Mark Twain and Harriett Beecher Stowe in Connecticut; the paintings of Winslow Homer in Maine; Early American and maritime history along the coast. Specialized or quirky subjects – museums of Russian icons or American urban trolleys – can be found around any corner. Museum visits are a great indoor thing to do on a family vacation.
105 Haverhill Road
Salem, NH, 03079
The hidden truths of America, right in your backyard
Did other Europeans with knowledge of astronomy and stone construction reach North America a thousand years or more ahead of Columbus? Some say they came and left evidence of their visits -- megaliths and stone chambers -- throughout New England. You can explore one of the largest collections of artifacts at America's Stonehenge in Salem, New Hampshire. Some believe the site includes a stone astronomical calendar, like the one found at Stonehenge. A video in our museum gives you all the background you'll need. Then it's time to hit the half-mile trail through the pine forest to see for yourself. Along the way you may meet a few alpacas who share the property. Don't worry -- they're gentle creatures who enjoy greeting visitors.
55 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA, 01609
Visit this one of its kind museum of world art treasures
One of the finest mid-sized museums in the country offers extraordinary art treasures from 50 centuries of the world’s cultures. There is a Renaissance Court with a rare Roman floor mosaic; a medieval Chapter House from the Benedictine Priory of Saint John in west central France; and an exhibit called “Remastered” that offers a new look at the old European Masters. WAM’s 37,500-piece collection includes works by Cassatt, Gauguin, Goya, Monet, Sargent and Homer. It’s also home to a world-renowned collection of arms, armor and art from China, Japan and India. Take a guided tour, browse the Art Carts. and sign up for adult and youth art classes and workshops. There is a museum library, café and shop.
288 Shaker Road
Canterbury, NH, 03224
National Historic Landmark celebrates the Shakers
This beautiful outdoor history museum and national Historic Landmark was once home to 300 Shakers. Since 1992, it has provided educational programs for visitors. Explore 700 acres of gardens, fields, forest and ponds and 25 original Shaker buildings. Guided tours with engaging interpreters will take you through 200 years of Shaker life. The Village features a number of craft demonstrations, restored organic vegetable and botanical gardens, and special events. You’ll visit a Shaker school and hospital and be able to walk a number of nature trails. Richly authentic and situated in scenic Canterbury, NH, Canterbury Shaker Village is a place for learning, reflection and renewal of spirit. On site is New Hampshire’s premier store for Shaker reproductions and New Hampshire handicrafts.
65 Main Street
Watertown, MA, 02472
Explore three millennia of rich culture, art and history
This is a must-see destination for lovers of history and art to learn about the heritage and culture of the Armenian people. The museum has amassed a vast collection of inscribed Armenian rugs and textiles, ethnic costumes, printing, ceramics, metal ware, medieval illuminations, ancient and medieval coins, and other artifacts spanning 3,000 years of Armenian history. In its more than 40-year history, the museum has grown from a small collection to a full-scale museum in a four-story building. Its permanent collections include the photography of Yousuf Karsh, famous for his iconic portraits of Walt Disney, Mother Teresa and Ernest Hemingway. You don’t have to be Armenian to find something fascinating at this premier destination for student groups, families and tourists.
Off Route 302
Bretton Woods, NH, 03589
History is also on track at the Mount Washington Cog Railway
Marking its 150th anniversary in 2019, the Mount Washington Cog Railway is more than an awe-inspiring train ride up to the Northeast’s highest peak. Before you board, spend time in the Cog Railway Museum, which features a short media presentation on the railway’s history, a full-size mockup of a locomotive cab and boiler and photos depicting the amazing engineering that made the railway possible -- a feat so astonishing that President Ulysses S. Grant had to come see for himself when it opened. And don’t miss Old Peppersass, the engine named for its pepper-sauce-bottle shape. Once you get to the mountain summit, check out the weather museums at the Sherman Adams Visitor Center and the Mount Washington Observatory.
185 Elm Street
Fitchburg, MA, 01420
Discover the world’s art treasures right nearby
With over 20,000 square feet of exhibitions, the Fitchburg Art Museum features works from historical collections and loaned exhibitions on regional contemporary art. The permanent exhibitions include 19th-century American art, American photography, African, Greek, and Roman art, and one of the best exhibits on ancient Egypt in New England. Founded in 1925 through the bequest of artist, collector and Fitchburg native Eleanor Norcross, the museum is a showcase of her vision as a pioneer in American social history. Discover masterpieces in 12 beautifully designed galleries. And on the first Thursday of the month from November to March, shop the Fitchburg Farmers’ Market on site.
College of the Holy Cross - 1 College Street
Worcester, MA, 01610
Artwork that educates and inspires
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery promotes the intellectual and cultural life of the College of the Holy Cross and greater community by exploring the fundamental intellectual, cultural, spiritual and aesthetic issues encountered through the visual arts.
Throughout the academic year the gallery presents a series of exhibitions, which vary from historically significant themes to works by contemporary artists. Serving as a center for social activity, the gallery sponsors a lively schedule of receptions, guest lectures, readings, and students’ presentations. The Cantor Gallery is Free and open to the public. Current exhibition information and hours of operation can be found on the gallery’s website.
351 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, CT, 06105
A national historic landmark, the Mark Twain House & Museum offers visitors an opportunity to learn more about Mark Twain, his family, the historic house, and the author's legacy. Take tours of the historic home where the man himself lived and wrote his most famous works including Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Visit the Museum Center which houses a permanent exhibition on Twain's life and work, a theatre showing a Ken Burns mini-documentary on Twain, and a changing exhibition space that features an array of views on the great author. House tours run daily beginning at 9:30 A.M. with the last tour leaving at 4:30 P.M., while the Museum Center is open for self-guided visitation during regular hours.
77 Forest Street
Hartford, CT, 06105
A National Historic Landmark, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center offers visitors a lens through which to understand the impact of 19th century events on 21st century headlines. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852. The world was never the same. The Stowe House experience takes visitors through Stowe’s home to consider and discuss ideas, ideals and realities. The experience is enriched with the Center’s historic collections and guided by knowledgeable interpreters. The Stowe Visitor Center offers exhibits and films. The surrounding ever-blooming gardens are an oasis of peace and beauty in this busy urban neighborhood. Open year round, check website for tours, programs and events (Park once and visit both Stowe and Twain with a combination ticket).
199 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT, 06840
Unique architectural treasure in New Canaan
This remarkable showcase for contemporary architecture was the country home and is now a museum of architect Philip Johnson’s work and style. You’ll find 14 unique structures each with their own function. The Glass House is a clear box, without walls, without privacy in fact, not a single house at all. Instead of walking from room to room, Johnson walked from building to building on paths criss-crossing his property. The pavilion was designed for parties and viewing the scenic landscape. Johnson slept and read in the Brick House and studied and worked in the library. The Grainger had air conditioning and the TV. Today the entire 49-acre compound is a National Trust Historic Site. Open May 1 to November 30.
67 Main Street, Steamboat Dock
Essex, CT, 06426
A year-round adventure through nature, history & life on the sea
Discover the exciting history and spectacular environment of New England’s great river at the Connecticut River Museum, located in beautiful Essex Village. Bring your family and explore the exhibits! Climb aboard a replica of the Turtle submarine and find out what it was like to be a submarine pilot during the American Revolution. Walk all 410 miles of the River in our vertical gallery, filled with fantastic aerial photos and a whimsical mural of the River. Learn the stories of people and the River from Native Americans through the present in our three floors of exhibits. You can also explore our surroundings - enjoy a picnic lunch next to the river, or a relaxing canoe or kayak ride through the quiet coves.
The Connecticut River Museum offers seasonal exhibits and programs as well. Come November – February for the magic of our annual Holiday Train Show; in February and March to see the wintering Bald Eagles on our EagleWatch Boat Tours; or spend a summer day sailing on the River on the historic wooden sailing ship Onrust.
One Depot Street
Warner, NH, 03278
Where History Talks
The cell phone in your pocket is the apex (so far) of a long and fascinating history of technology starting with inventor Alexander Graham Bell’s famous first call in 1876. The New Hampshire Telephone Museum tells the story of the telephone’s evolution through a century’s worth of telephone memorabilia, with over 1,000 artifacts collected by four generations of the Bartlett & Violette families, who collectively had members who worked in the telephone industry for nearly 100 years. Delicious stories tell how small, independent phone companies once brought phone service to remote farms and rural areas. Learn more about the race to the patent office, the undertaker who invented the dial system, and much more.
18 Highlawn Road
Warner, NH, 03278
Discover and learn the crafts and culture of early American tribes
Drawing from 20,000 years of Native American history and culture, the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum has a wealth of objects to show visitors. Did you know that Great Lakes Indian women would make intricately beaded bandoleer bags for their husbands to wear with competitive pride? Beautiful design has also found expression on such things as ornately wrought baskets and fancy quillwork jewelry chests. One of the most artful objects is a tablecloth-size moose-hair embroidery, perhaps used as an altar cloth. There also are objects both practical and beautiful, such as snowshoes, pots, beadwork and baskets made from a variety of materials like ash splint and sweetgrass or yucca and devil’s claw. Buy finely-made items from our shop, or sign up for a workshop to learn how to make your own.
231 River Street
North Adams, MA, 01247
Inn near MASS MoCA a work of art in its own right
When you walk across the bridge from the internationally renowned Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art to your room at the Porches Inn, you might feel you have just strolled from one gallery to another. Each room at the homey inn has its own color and texture palette, its own retro furniture and collectibles. Not surprising when you consider its attachment to MASS MoCA as well as its proximity to the Clark Art Institute, the Williams College Museum of Art and Bennington Museum, among other sites. Blending the historical – the inn is based in beautifully detailed Victorian row houses – and the modern (heated outdoor pool, Apple TVs, Jacuzzi tubs), the Porches’ quirky spirit and dramatic visuals make it ideal for museum- and gallery-goers.
686 Cushing Road
Newport, RI, 02841
Naval history, strategies come alive in war college museum
Want to learn about naval activities in the Narragansett Bay area in colonial times? Or how the science of naval warfare has changed from the time of the Greeks and Romans through the Civil War, both World Wars to today? Then head to the Naval War College Museum, free and open to the public, where naval battles and strategies come to life via changing art collections, exhibits and documents. Starting Dec. 14, learn about the Navy’s role in World War I from the new exhibit, “To Win or Lose All: William S. Sims and the U.S. Navy in the First World War.”
Year round hours: Monday -Friday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The museum is also open on Saturdays from noon to 4:30 p.m. from June through September.
1080 Chapel Street
New Haven, CT, 06510
America’s home of the finest in British Art
The Center houses the largest collection of British art outside the United Kingdom. Presented to the university by Paul Mellon (Yale College, Class of 1929), the collection reflects the development of British art and culture from the Elizabethan period onward. It includes more than 2,000 paintings, 250 sculptures, 20,000 drawings and watercolors, 40,000 prints, and 35,000 rare books and manuscripts. More than 40,000 volumes supporting research in British art and related fields are available in the Center’s Reference Library. The Center offers exhibitions and programs, including lectures, concerts, films, symposia, tours, and family events. Museum hours: Tues–Sat, 10 am–5 pm; Sun, noon–5 pm. Museum Shop hours: Mon–Sat, 10 am–5 pm; Sun, noon–5 pm. Free and open to the public.
100 Maple Street
Bristol, CT, 06010
From sundials to wristwatches…
Step back in time with a visit to the American Clock & Watch Museum in Bristol, Connecticut. The museum holds over 5,500 American clocks and watches, one of the largest collections in the world. Listen to them tick and chime as you travel through the museum’s eight galleries. Don't forget to visit the museum’s sundial garden, and be sure to make time for our special programs where you can learn about the rarity and history of your special clock or watch.
Winter Hours (thru March 31, 2017): Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays 10am - 5pm
Matthews Park - 303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT, 06850
The kids will never want to leave this engaging, interactive museum
The only problem with taking your kids to the interactive Stepping Stones Museum for Children will be persuading them it’s time to go home. There is so much to do! Little ones will love being residents of Tot Town, where babies roam activity mats and toddlers can explore a school bus. Older children will pretend to finish walls, paint and apply wallpaper in the Build It exhibit, or learn about the effect of art and dance on their emotions in Express Yourself. And everyone will be amazed by the 27-foot kinetic sculpture ColorCoaster, films shown in the Multimedia Gallery and daily drop-in programs in everything from engineering to zumba for kids. Outdoors, there’s a playground and six community gardens (including one for butterflies).
200 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA, 02115
An Extraordinary Life Celebrated in a Boston Landmark
In 1875, teacher, author and healer Mary Baker Eddy published “Science and Health,” her seminal document in the founding of the Christian Science movement. Here in this magnificent 11-story library and museum, a Boston landmark, follow the spread and impact of the teachings and practices that marked her extraordinary life and work through books, documents, photographs, and exhibits. Visit the Mapparium, a three-dimensional perspective of the world of 1935 and a symbol of the global outreach of Eddy’s Christian Science Monitor, launched in 1908, and reading rooms across the globe. Special events, webcasts, and children’s programs add further breadth while state-of-the-art computer programming in the Hall of Ideas illustrates how ideas cross time and geography to change the world.
75 Court Street
Plymouth, MA, 02360
Remarkable historical artifacts from the age of the Pilgrims
A museum of extraordinary historical value, Pilgrim Hall’s mission is to protect, foster, and teach America’s important heritage. Built in 1824 in the center of Plymouth, this is the nation’s oldest continuously operating public museum. Long before the pilgrims, however, this land belonged to the Wampanoag peoples for more than 10,000 years and the story of their relationship with colonial peoples is here. You’ll see a remarkable collection of Pilgrim possessions, paintings and artifacts. William Bradford’s Bible is here, as is Myles Standish’s sword and the earliest sampler made in America, embroidered by his teenage daughter. You’ll find also the only portrait painted from life of a Pilgrim and the cradle that was made for New England’s very first–born.
16 Museum Street
Rockland, ME, 04841
Farnsworth presents beloved Maine outdoor images
The stern beauty of Maine and the manifold ways it has been expressed by Maine-loving artists is the driving theme of the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, just steps away from the coastline that has inspired artists for centuries. The museum was opened in 1948 and it quickly acquired paintings by, among others, George Bellows, William Zorach, and Andrew Wyeth. These and others established Farnsworth’s main strength: landscapes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Early purchases included Eastman Johnson’s American Farmer, George Inness’s In the White Mountains, and Winslow Homer’s New England Coast. From the start, the Farnsworth built a relationship with the Wyeth family of artists, including Andrew, N.C., and Jamie Wyeth. The museum’s holdings of contemporary art have been significantly expanded.
55 Coogan Boulevard
Mystic, CT, 06355
Discover nature’s amazing works of art at Mystic Aquarium
Among the world’s riches are its sea creatures found here amidst wonderful indoor and outdoor exhibits. Experience a personal connection with thousands of marine animals including a beluga whale, shark, stingray and more. Our funky frog friends are here - 30 unique species of them in fact. Sea lions will demonstrate their amazing skills and intelligence through their tricks and behaviors. Watch captivating footage at the National Geographic Theater and enjoy a virtual adventure in the 4-D Theater. Participate in various events throughout the year, become a champion for conservation and join the Aquarium’s mission to protect our precious marine life. Enrich your mind, roll up your sleeves, expand your knowledge and get involved right here. Sea more at MysticAquarium.org.
680 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI, 02840
Artistic treasures and more on display at Doris Duke's mansion
This magnificent museum was originally the oceanfront estate of Doris Duke—heiress, philanthropist, and art collector. Built in 1887 with its historic landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmstead’s firm, it remains as she left it with French furniture, European art, Chinese porcelains, and Flemish tapestries. . The expansive landscape features both formal and kitchen gardens as well as panoramic ocean views. In 1958 and 1959, Doris Duke began purchasing art and antiques for the house, combining these new pieces with family treasures. She lived there from May through November most years and continued to collect items for the house during her wide-ranging travels. Upon her death in 1993, Doris bequeathed the estate to the Newport Restoration Foundation, which opened the house and grounds to the public in 2000.
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, off Route 20
Sturbridge, MA, 01566
Old Sturbridge Village presents the artifacts, activities, and seasonal celebrations of rural New England during the 50 years following the American Revolution (1790-1840). The centerpiece of the museum is a recreated rural New England town of the 1830s encompassing a center village, mills area, and countryside. Period handcrafts, heirloom gardens, and heritage breeds of farm animals are part of the village. Many seasonal activities and celebrations for all ages. Open year-round, but hours vary seasonally.
Norwich Free Academy - 108 Crescent Street
Norwich, CT, 06360
Unique museum offers the past in a magnificent edifice
Set on the campus of Norwich Free Academy in Norwich CT, this unique museum was founded by philanthropist William A. Slater more than a century ago. Housed in a stunning architectural treasure designed by architect Stephen C. Earle. The museum offers a diverse collection of fine and decorative arts, replicas of great Greek and Roman sculpture, historical artifacts, and ethnographic material spanning five continents and 35 centuries. Exhibits rotate regularly. See film screenings, discussions, book signings, and other events. An interpreter-guided tour is free with admission. The Museum shop is filled with unique gifts, including fine art prints and reproductions, the works of Connecticut artisans, and other items. Open year round, Tuesday-Sunday.
26 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA, 02138
Dinosaurs, Glass Flowers, Meteorites – Explorers Welcome!
One of the four Harvard Museums of Science & Culture, this museum displays some 11,000 specimens drawn from Harvard’s vast collections, including the Blaschka Glass Flowers, Sea Creatures in Glass, huge whale skeletons, hundreds of mammals, birds, and the world’s only mounted skeleton of the 42 foot-long Kronosaurus. Explore a timeline of Earth’s history, and see 3,000 rare minerals and gemstones. New and changing multi-media exhibitions showcase cutting-edge research. The museum is an easy 8-minute walk across Harvard’s historic campus from Harvard Square’s popular shops, restaurants and MBTA station. The museum is connected to Harvard’s Peabody Museum, and one admission fee covers both museums.
At Harvard University - 11 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge, MA, 02138
Experience the World in One Museum
Explore towering Native American totem poles, large Maya sculptures, and artifacts of the ancient world at Harvard’s anthropology museum. Ambient sound, motion, and historic and contemporary Plains art animate nineteenth century Lakota drawings from a warrior’s ledger collected at the Little Bighorn battlefield. Discover the native cultures of Latin America before and after 1492, when the first voyage of Christopher Columbus initiated dramatic worldwide changes. Explore the enduring importance of rivers and canoes in Penobscot tribal life and on relationships between the tribe and non-Indians. See how students lived at colonial Harvard, and the role of the 17th-century Indian College in Harvard’s early years. Trace the history of early anthropology through the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and more in the museum’s 150th anniversary exhibition. Admission to the connected Harvard Museum of Natural History and its famed Glass Flowers is included. Open daily 9:00 AM–5:00 PM.