Bring the whole family as you rediscover the fun and wonders of early American history through our museum houses, collections, outdoor spaces and hands-on activities.
Included with paid admission.
Visit our museum houses and world-famous collections of early American crafts and decorative arts on your own, at your own pace. Your choices include:
The Flynt Center of Early New England Life has lots to see in two galleries and open-storage of our permanent collection. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ask for a printed family guide.
The Sheldon House shows daily life for an average farming family from 1780 to 1810. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ask for a printed family guide.
The Stebbins House shows decorative arts that were popular when the United States was still a new country. Open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ask for the “I Spy” game.
The Cooks’ Garden interprets the herbs and vegetables that would have been grown in an 18th century kitchen garden.
The Channing Blake Footpath meanders through the meadow and past a working farm. If you’re lucky you may meet some animals along the way. Ask at the Visitor Center to borrow a “Nature Pack.”
The History Workshop provides a place where families can relax, play on their own, or have a hands-on experience guided by a museum educator. Open weekends from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 16 through June 26; open daily 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 1 through August 14, and open again on weekends September 10 through November 20.
Curiosity and Wonder: Exploring Collections (Weekends)
April 30, 2016 - June 26, 2016 | 12:00 pm - 4:30 pm
From children’s collections of rocks, shells, coins and cards, to adult collectors of textiles and fine ceramics, who doesn’t love the idea of a collection? The famous European Cabinets of Curiosity, or Wonder cabinets as they were called are the precursors of today’s museums. Whether you are inspired by your own collections at home or collections in our museum come to the History Workshop to learn about Cabinets of Curiosity. You will be inspired by famous Cabinets of the past, see some unusual staff collections, and make your own “Wonder Jar” of curiosities and memories to take with you.
Rainbow in a Pot: Making Dye with Natural Materials
July 01, 2016 - August 14, 2016 | 12:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Daily, drop-in anytime.
Join us to explore the remarkable process of making dye. In Colonial times as well as today, plant parts from roots to leaves, stems to flowers were used for some pigments; other colors came from mushrooms and even insects! Come have fun as you help us prepare the dye pot by gathering dye plants from our garden and nearby fields, or preparing imported dye materials like indigo or cochineal. You will leave with lots of information and a hand-dyed project you have made.
Apprentices’ Workshop at Dwight House shows how things were made by hand long ago. Learn about woodworking, weaving cloth, and making ceramics. Open 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Guided House Tours
Included with paid admission.
All visitors are welcome on guided house tours, available on the hour from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A guided house tour lasts approximately 35 minutes. We recommend the Wells-Thorn House and Williams House for families with children.