Hanscom AFB, MA Museums
Massachusetts generally has a strong colonial era and Revolutionary War history; notable local sites and artifacts include the Bedford Flag (claimed to be the first American Revolutionary flag), Two Brothers Rocks, Fitch Tavern, the John Wilson Corne Mill, and various local Revolutionary War heroes' houses.
deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum is a contemporary art museum featuring rotating, high-quality and unusual exhibits with a special emphasis on sculpture located throughout the museum and 35-acre grounds. Special events take place year-round like snowshoeing tours, yoga classes, screenings and shows, and the only preschool in an art museum in the U.S.
The Concord Museum brings together Concord's rich history with some of America's oldest artifacts related to the area. Exhibits include Paul Revere's lantern from his famous ride, a recreation of Ralph Waldo Emerson's study, and rooms depicting 18th-19th century furnishings and decorations.
Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House is where the Alcott family lived from 1853-77 and was where Louisa wrote her famous book Little Women (and is also where the book takes place). The home is still largely decorated with Alcott original furnishings and tours include histories of the family, the book, and what life was like at this time in Concord.
The National Heritage Museum in Lexington features rotating exhibits on American history, Massachusetts' industry and culture, and the town of Lexington during the Revolutionary War, with a special emphasis on Freemasonry throughout history.
The Ralph Waldo Emerson House in Concord is the home of famous Transcendentalist poet and lecturer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and where he wrote many of his best-known pieces including Nature (1836) and Self Reliance (1841). He was the inspiration for a local Transcendentalist movement of authors including Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller.
The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation features interactive exhibits on industry in America from the early 1800s through today. The museum is located in Francis Cabot Lowell's textile mill, the first in American history to include all steps of manufacturing under one roof. Exhibits include items related to transportation, steam-powered machines, textile history, and watches and clocks (from the historically important Waltham Watch Factory).
The Fruitlands Museum is a group of historically significant buildings and museums in the town of Harvard started by Clara Endicott Sears in 1914. The site includes the Fruitlands Farmhouse, an experimental communal living community started by Amos Bronson Alcott (Louisa May Alcott's father) and Charles Lane in 1843; the world's largest collection of Harvard Shaker historical documents; a Native American Gallery featuring artifacts and history; and an Art Gallery.
The Higgins Armory Museum, now housed within the Worcester Art Museum, may be nearly an hour's drive from Bedford, but it is well worth the trip. This is one of the largest collections of armor and related items outside Europe and, in fact, the only museum in the Western world solely dedicated to the subject. Visitors will see nearly 2,000 pieces of armor, jousting equipment, weapons, and "knightly" artwork from the Medieval and Renaissance periods of Europe, Japan, Africa, India, and the Middle East.
The town of Lexington is home to 3 buildings worth a stop due to their historic significance and involvement in the Battle of Lexington and Concord during the Revolutionary War: The Buckman Tavern (1690), The Hancock-Clarke House (1738) where John Hancock and Samuel Adams were staying before the battle, and Munroe Tavern (1695).
Boston Children's Museum is one of the world's oldest and largest children's museums featuring a collection of over 50,000 items of natural and American history and global cultures as well as hands-on exhibits for kids' enjoyment and education. Exhibits cover math and science, visual and literary arts, health and wellness, and world cultures.
The Harvard Museum of Natural History contains temporary and permanent historical collections related to the natural world, including thousands of fossils, minerals and gemstones, and taxidermied mammals, birds, invertebrates, reptiles, and fish for visitors to experience up close. The museum is also well-known for its Glass Flowers collection made of Blaschka glass, depicting hundreds of species of plants and flowers.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is the unique and memorable home of Isabella Stewart Gardner, a spirited art collector and well-known supporter of the arts. Her ancient Venetian-style palace is as much a work of art as the 2,500 paintings, tapestries, sculptures, and rare books and manuscripts she collected in her worldly travels. The home's 3 floors are open to a courtyard garden and display her art and nearly 7,000 letters she shared with her well-to-do friends such as artists John Singer Sargent and Henry James. Other artists' works she collected include Rembrandt, Botticelli, Manet, and Michelangelo.
The JFK Presidential Library and Museum was built to honor the memory of the nation's 35th President, John F. Kennedy. His life, work, and leadership history are contained within a one-of-a-kind building designed by famed architect, I. M. Pei. Permanent exhibits include Kennedy's Oval Office, First Lady Jackie Bouvier Kennedy, the Space room, and a background of the Kennedy and Fitzgerald families.
The Larz Anderson Auto Museum contains the oldest car collection in the country and is located in the Anderson family's Carriage House in Brookline, near Boston. There are still 14 of the family's 32 original cars, including a 1899 Winton Runabout, in addition to many other models from the late 1800s to the early 1900s such as the 1924 Renault Torpedo and a rare, open-sided 1900 Rochet-Schneider.
The Museum of Science in Boston features over 700 interactive science and technology exhibits, an IMAX Omni Theatre, planetarium, and always changing temporary exhibits. Among those that are here to stay, subjects range from the Milky Way and space, including 2 full-sized replicas of the Mercury and Apollo capsules, a walk-through butterfly garden, dinosaurs, green energy, human life, and many, many more.
The New England Aquarium attracts over 1 million visitors every year who love to learn about and see firsthand the many marine creatures who call this aquarium home. There are green sea turtles, leafy sea dragons, penguins, giant octopus, seals, and sharks, just to name a few. The aquarium also facilitates whale watch tours and an IMAX theatre.
Boston is also home to the Old North Church which was built in 1723 and is the city's oldest surviving church. This is where the lanterns were hung to alert Boston's midnight riders, including Paul Revere, to how the British would be attacking the city, better known by the phrase "one if by land, two if by sea". Paul Revere's House is nearby and is one of Boston's oldest homes, still standing from around 1680. Here visitors can tour the small brick building, climb the rickety, narrow staircases, see Revere family furnishings, and learn more about the famous American Patriot.