Museums are more than big, stately buildings that contain old things. They’re built by people, for people. They’re extensions of us, our histories, and our stories. There are dozens of beautiful, life-changing museums worldwide, but a few of the best are right here in Worcester County.
Whether you’re visiting Worcester County, or you live here and just want to explore something new in the area, there are a few world-class museums you need to see in and around Worcester County, Massachusetts. museums you need to see.
Here are 8 of our favorites:
1. Worcester Art Museum
The Worcester Art Museum (WAM) was founded in 1896 and is home to world-famous works of Japanese, American, and European art. The museum has more than 38,000 objects, some of which date back to 3,000 BCE.
Over the years, the museum has made several significant acquisitions. These include the Medieval Chapter House and the Worcester Hunt Mosaic, a 15th-century Spanish ceiling, the Flemish Last Judgment tapestry, and the John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection. The latter contains more than two thousand armor and arms objects.
2. American Antiquarian Society
The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) is a national research library containing American history and culture items dating back to 1876. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and renowned printer, the American Antiquarian Society is a gem of Worcester County, Massachusetts.
Today, the AAS is home to the most extensive collection of music, books, graphic arts, pamphlets, newspapers, and periodicals related to American history and culture. Notably, the AAS was the 2013 National Humanities Medal recipient, presented by President Obama.
If you’re looking for a truly family-friendly museum, you’ll love the EcoTarium museum of science and nature in Worcester County. Offering an indoor-outdoor experience that’s perfect for kids, this museum is home to three floors of interactive exhibits, live animal habitats, a digital planetarium, and daily Science Discovery programs.
You’ll enjoy hikes through the meadow nature and forest trails and a seasonal train ride that takes you around the entire 45+ acre campus when you venture outside. Check out this world-class museum for an all-season adventure!
4. Fitchburg Art Museum
Known as one of the most treasured cultural institutions in New England, the Fitchburg Art Museum (FAM) was founded in 1925 and is home to four buildings that contain more than 20,000 square feet of features and exhibitions.
Visitors will enjoy collections of African Art, Greek and Roman Art, Egyptian Art, 19th Century American Art, and an interactive gallery designed for school groups and families with kids.
In 2016, FAM was selected as a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Science, the Nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries known for service and contribution to their communities.
5. Fruitlands Museum
In the 1840s, Transcendentalist leaders Amos Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane founded a utopian, agrarian commune in Harvard, Massachusetts. Dedicated to farming, the natural world, and living from the land, the community was short-lived, lasting only seven months.
Today, however, its legacy lives on in the form of the Fruitlands Museum. Situated on 210 acres of verdant land, Fruitlands Museum is home to a vast collection of art, objects, and more.
Visitors can explore the original Fruitlands Farmhouse, a Shaker Museum, a Native American museum, and an Art Museum containing 300 Hudson River School landscape paintings. The museum is also home to walking trails and interactive exhibits that are ideal for families.
6. Massachusetts State Police Museum
The Massachusetts State Police Museum (MSPMLC, for short) explores the rich history of the Massachusetts State Police force. Visitors can enjoy exhibits and interactive exhibits dedicated to the history of the police force, from its humble beginnings in 1865 to its modern expression.
7. Tower Hill
Enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors with a visit to the Tower Hill Botanical Garden. Sitting on 171 acres of verdant land, the Tower Hill Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in the country.
The grounds are open to the public for trail walking, private events, weddings, garden viewing, exhibitions, and more. This AAM-accredited museum is home to thousands of species of rare and unique plants from the Massachusetts area and around the world.
Visitors to the museum can explore apple orchards, a field of daffodils, a shade garden, a vegetable garden, and an Orangerie.
8. Old Sturbridge Village
Get a taste of the history of New England at Old Sturbridge Village. The largest outdoor history museum in the Northeast, Old Sturbridge Village allows visitors to step back in history into a rural New England town set in the 1830s.
The museum sits on more than 200 scenic acres and is home to 40 original buildings, including a school, country store, bank, and meetinghouse. Exhibits include a working farm, cabinetmaking demonstrations, and costumed historians, artisans, and farmers.
It’s Time to Reconnect to the World
Museums are important buildings that allow us to reconnect with our pasts and the pasts of people around the world. They also allow us to connect with the future, though, and strengthen our bonds. If you’re looking for a unique adventure to enjoy as a visitor or a local, these eight museums are the perfect place to begin. After all, isn’t it time to reconnect?
Interactive Long Night of Museums Special Guided Tour experience encourages visitors to participate, reflect, and discuss at Museum Brandhorst in M...