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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.

 worcester art museum in worcester MA
The Glass House Exterior New Canaan CT
The Glass House

199 Elm Street New Canaan, CT, 06840 Phone: 203-594-9884

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.
Winged Nike Statue Slater Memorial Museum and Converse Art Gallery Norwich Connecticut
Slater Memorial Museum and Converse Art Gallery

Norwich Free Academy - 108 Crescent Street Norwich, CT, 06360 Phone: 860-887-2506

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.
Clouds Hill Museum - Warwick Office of Tourism - Warwick, RI
Clouds Hill Museum

4175 Post Road Warwick, RI, 02886 Phone: 401-884-9490

A portal to the past...

This house, in the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1872. Visitors have noted the high quality of the property as a pure and authentic example of the Victorian period. The house was designed by William Walker & Sons, who designed many Rhode Island buildings. Experts see right away that the fireplace setting was carved by Charles Dowler, whose pieces are fine enough for display in many museums, Well-known members of the family include Roger Williams, Zachariah Allen, Samuel Slater, and Anne “Nancy” Allen Holst. The carriage museum has a dozen vehicles and their accessories. The property has 70 species of trees and shrubs.
Tour Group - Canterbury Shaker Village - Canterbury, NH
Canterbury Shaker Village

288 Shaker Road Canterbury, NH, 03224 Phone: 603-783-9511

National Historic Landmark Celebrates the Shakers

The Shaker religious sect is considered by many historians to be the most successful communitarian society in America. This beautiful outdoor museum and National Historic Landmark was once home to 300 Shakers. Today, expert tour guides share the story of the Shakers’ 200-year history on this site and their beliefs in simple living, gender equality, pacifism, and work as worship. Explore the architecture and collections in the Village’s 25 restored historic buildings, learn about Shaker inventiveness and industry, and explore 700 acres including organic gardens, orchards, and scenic mill pond. See craft demonstrations of oval box making, letterpress printing, and broom making. Enjoy a simple lunch at the Horse Barn Cafe and shop New Hampshire’s premier store for Shaker reproductions. Richly authentic, Canterbury Shaker Village is a place for learning, reflection and renewal of the human spirit.
Exhibit - Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments - Cambridge, MA
Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments

At Harvard University - 1 Oxford Street Cambridge, MA, 02138 Phone: 617-496-1027

Historical instruments on display at Harvard museum

Instruments that helped Harvard make scholarly contributions to natural, physical and social sciences are on display in the Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments. At the Science Center, visitors can see electrical experimentation apparatus purchased for the college by Benjamin Franklin; medical apparatus partly designed by Charles Lindbergh; and telescopes from Project Moonwatch, which inspired citizen astronomers to look to the stars. The free museum includes 20,000 objects from 1400 to the present, including a circa 1984 Apple Lisa 2 computer, a geometric sector designed by Galileo, homemade microscopes, thermometers, radios, clocks and watches. Instruments involved in everything from surveying and navigation to geology, physics and top-secret World War II research are displayed and explained.
Cotton Gin - Old Sturbridge Village - Sturbridge, MA
Old Sturbridge Village

1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, off Route 20 Sturbridge, MA, 01566 Phone: 508-347-3362 Toll-Free: 800-733-1830

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. Information: www.osv.org/
Visitors at Naval War College Museum Newport Rhode Island
Naval War College Museum

686 Cushing Road Newport, RI, 02841 Phone: 401-841-4052

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 p.m. Closed weekends & federal holidays. Reservations required in advance for those without base access.
Stepping Stones Museum for Children Lighted pegboard Norwlak CT
Stepping Stones Museum for Children

Mathews Park - 303 West Avenue Norwalk, CT, 06850 Phone: 203-899-0606

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).
Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center Sunrise Rocklnd ME
Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center

16 Museum Street Rockland, ME, 04841 Phone: 207-596-6457

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.
New Sundial 500x250 - America's Stonehenge - Salem, NH
America's Stonehenge

105 Haverhill Road Salem, NH, 03079 Phone: 603-893-8300

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.
Rear Exterior Rough Point Mansion Newport Rhode Island
Rough Point

680 Bellevue Avenue Newport, RI, 02840 Phone: 401-847-8344

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.
Museum 500x250 - Mount Washington Cog Railway - Bretton Woods, NH
Mount Washington Cog Railway

Off Route 302 Bretton Woods, NH, 03589 Phone: 603-278-5404 Toll-Free: 800-922-8825

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.
Roman Mosaic - Worcester Art Museum - Worcester MA
Worcester Art Museum

55 Salisbury Street Worcester, MA, 01609 Phone: 508-799-4406

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.
Aerial View 500x250 - Connecticut River Museum - Essex, CT
Connecticut River Museum

67 Main Street, Steamboat Dock Essex, CT, 06426 Phone: 860-767-8269

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 as you travel 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. Complete your visit with a picnic lunch and a chance to run around on the Museum’s riverfront lawn.
The Connecticut River Museum offers seasonal exhibits and programs as well. Come November – February for the magic of our annual Holiday Train Show; visit in February and March to see the wintering Bald Eagles on one of our EagleWatch Boat Tours; and spend a summer day sailing on the River on the historic wooden sailing ship Onrust. Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle the quiet coves.
California Sealion Show 500x250 - Mystic Aquarium - Mystic, CT
Mystic Aquarium

55 Coogan Boulevard Mystic, CT, 06355 Phone: 860-572-5955

Where learning and discovery meets fun

Enrich your mind, roll up your sleeves, expand your knowledge and get involved at Mystic Aquarium. Discover thousands of marine animals throughout indoor and outdoor exhibits where beluga whales, African penguins, frogs, fish and so many other animals act as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. Experience the sensation of a shark or stingray as it glides below your fingers. Daily complimentary sea lion shows provide a truly unique opportunity to see these fascinating animals up-close and in action. And now, travel back in time to encounter animatronic dinosaurs in ‘Jurassic Giants!’ Participate in various events throughout the year and become a champion for change. Learn how you can join our mission to protect our ocean planet. SEA more at MysticAquarium.org.
Yale Center for British Art Library Court New Haven CT
Yale Center for British Art

1080 Chapel Street New Haven, CT, 06510 Phone: 203-432-2800 Toll-Free: 877-274-8278

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.
Pilgrim Hall Museum Exterior Plymouth MA
Pilgrim Hall Museum

75 Court Street Plymouth, MA, 02360 Phone: 508-746-1620

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.
Mapparium - Mary Baker Eddy Library™ - Boston, MA
Mary Baker Eddy Library™

200 Massachusetts Avenue Boston, MA, 02115 Phone: 617-450-7000

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. Photo Courtesy of The Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston, MA
Marash Embroidery 500x250 - Armenian Museum of America - Watertown, MA
Armenian Museum of America

65 Main Street Watertown, MA, 02472 Phone: 617-926-2562

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.
Harvard Peabody Museum of Natural History Cambridge MA Crdit Alex Jaffe- Crimson
Harvard Museum of Natural History

26 Oxford Street Cambridge, MA, 02138 Phone: 617-495-3045

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.
Exhibit - Harvard Semitic Museum - Cambridge, MA
Harvard Semitic Museum

6 Divinity Avenue Cambridge, MA, 02138 Phone: 617-495-4631

Museum’s thousands of artifacts illuminate the culture of the Near East

Founded in 1889, the Harvard Semitic Museum explores the rich history of cultures connected by the family of Semitic languages. Its more than 40,000 artifacts, including pottery, sculpture, coins and cuneiform tablets, come primarily from Harvard-sponsored excavations in Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Syria and Tunisia. Exhibits range from a full-scale replica of an ancient Israelite home to a full-scale reproduction of an Egyptian throne from 2550 BC and a resin cast of the Dream Stela, found between the paws of the Great Sphinx. Lecture topics at the free museum, one of the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture, include photographing King Tut and old and new discoveries about the Nubian kings and queens of Kush.
Warwick Center for the Arts - Warwick Office of Tourism - Warwick, RI
Warwick Center for the Arts

3259 Post Road Warwick, RI, 02886 Phone: 401-737-0010

Warwick Center for the Arts is tucked into a block in one of the city’s historic village centers, cheek-to-cheek with City Hall, the local library, and the post office, all of which are historical buildings. The Center for the Arts is a bustling space: the main gallery showcases art exhibits that change every four to six weeks with a festive opening reception for each. The main gallery also hosts art demos, gallery talks, film screenings, and occasional social events for the community. The stage in the main gallery provides intimate performance space for artists of all types. Weekly laughs are provided by Bring Your Own Improv comedy troupe—two shows each Friday. Other performers who have graced the stage include poets, student musicians from the RI Philharmonic, and ethnic dance troupes.
Steamship Historical Society of America

2500 Post Road Warwick, RI, 02886 Phone:

Steamship Historical Society of America is dedicated to recording, preserving and disseminating the history of engine-powered vessels. Its Warwick building contains a growing collection of paintings, half-models, and maritime artwork by noteworthy artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. The society’s interactive website virtually distributes some of the organization's vast archives with a worldwide audience. The site includes lesson plans for teachers at "STEAMing Into the Future. The society welcomes steamship enthusiasts to submit articles for publication in the magazine “PowerShips.” The society building and archives are open by appointment.
Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology Encounters Cambridge MA
Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology

At Harvard University - 11 Divinity Avenue Cambridge, MA, 02138 Phone: 617-496-1027

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.
Fitchburg Art Museum Indoor Fitchburg MA
Fitchburg Art Museum

185 Elm Street Fitchburg, MA, 01420 Phone: 978-345-4207

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.
Tour Group - Harriet Beecher Stowe Center - Hartford, CT
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

77 Forest Street Hartford, CT, 06105 Phone: 860-522-9258

Stowe Center features a treasure trove about historic abolitionist author

Listed as a National Historic Landmark and a stop on the Connecticut Freedom Trail as well as on the Connecticut Women’s Heritage Trail, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is a treasure trove of collections that illuminate the life of and issues that stirred the famous abolitionist author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Rotating exhibits deal with the life of slaves and the role of women. Collections include paintings (some by the author), memorabilia inspired by “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” the dining table where the book was written, decorative arts, rare manuscripts, drawings and household furnishings from the Beecher and Stowe families. In all, 228,000 items illustrate the lives and times of Stowe and her family. Interactive tours of her Victorian Gothic cottage leave visitors inspired.
Gabrielle Thierry Painting 500x250 - Cantor Art Gallery - Worcester, MA
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery

College of the Holy Cross - 1 College Street Worcester, MA, 01610 Phone: 508-793-3356

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.
Pilgrim Monument Provincetown MA
Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum

1 High Pole Hill Road Provincetown, MA Phone: 508-487-1310

The Pilgrim Monument, a granite obelisk dedicated in 1910, is adjacent to the Provincetown Museum on a hill above the town. The Provincetown Museum describes the arrival of the Mayflower Pilgrims, the town’s maritime history, the early days of American theater in Provincetown. See a reproduction of a sea captain’s home and his quarters at sea. Last Monument climb is 30 minutes before closing. Hours: Open May through October, daily, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Historic walking tours offered Wednesday mornings, July through September. Admission: Adults, $12; seniors, $10; children age 4-12; free admission Wednesdays 5-7 p.m.

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