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massachusetts museums

Museums in Massachusetts 🖼️ | The Best Museums in Massachusetts to Visit

Last Updated on: 3rd April 2024, 03:08 am

Massachusetts is a small state with a rich history. The Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, and Boston and Salem were founded in 1630. The state also played a major role in igniting the American Revolutionary War, with the Boston Massacre in 1770, the Boston Tea Party in 1773, and the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775. 

Massachusetts is home to some of the most prestigious schools in the nation, including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tufts University. Fortune 500 companies located in Massachusetts include Liberty Mutual, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, and General Electric. Massachusetts is a hub for the performing arts with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and much more. The many historical sites in the state include the Adams National Historical Park, the Bunker Hill Monument, and Boston National Historical Park. 

Massachusetts is also home to 5 professional sports teams: the NBA’s Boston Celtics, MLB’s Boston Red Sox, the NHL’s Boston Bruins, the NFL’s New England Patriots, and MLS’s New England Revolution.

It comes as no surprise that Massachusetts has a thriving arts and culture scene with many museums, including some of the best in the nation. Most museums in Massachusetts open early in the morning and close in the evening. This guide features our picks of the best museums in Massachusetts. Check out our list of museums in Massachusetts below!

Clark Art Institute | One of the Top Museums in Western Massachusetts

The Clark Art Institute, located in Williamstown, is a public museum and a research and academic institution with a library that houses more than 295,000 volumes in over 72 languages. Of the many museums in Williamstown Massachusetts, this is one that is often visited by children in schools. 

The Clark’s extensive art collection of paintings, sculptures, decorative art, and drawings spans from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century. The Clark houses works by some of the most famous artists in history, such as Degas, Cassatt, Homer, Manet, Toulouse, Monet, and many others. The Clark is surrounded by natural beauty with scenic hiking and walking trails. This is one of the top art museums in western Massachusetts.

Museum Hours & Location

  • Address: 225 South St, Williamstown, MA 01267
  • Phone number: (413) 458-2303 
  • Hours: July and August – Open daily 10 am to 5 pm. September through June:
  • Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm

John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum & Library | One of the Historical Museums in Massachusetts

This is one of the best museums in Massachusetts! At the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum & Library in Boston, you can learn about the life and work of the nation’s 35th president. Some of the permanent exhibits in the museum are the 1960 presidential election, the U.S. Space Program, the Peace Corps, the Oval Office, and First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy. 

The museum has a wealth of historical materials on 20th-century politics that students and scholars can use to conduct research. The museum is located in a ten-acre park overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Museum Hours & Location

Museum of Science | The Best of Children’s Museums in Massachusetts

If you’re looking for museums in Massachusetts for kids, the Museum of Science in Boston is packed with exhibits for all ages to enjoy. Explore and learn about dinosaur fossils, human biology, the wonder of mathematics, natural mysteries, the latest in science, technology, and more. In the Charles Hayden Planetarium, plunge through Jupiter’s atmosphere and explore the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe. The museum’s 4-D theater immerses you in sights, sounds, and even smells! 

This is one of the museums for kids in Massachusetts that will keep them having fun all day! The Garden Walk & Insect Zoo features a carnivorous plant display, stick insects, beetles, tarantulas, scorpions, and millipedes, as well as the popular leafcutter ants. The museum has a Live Animal Care Center as well, where you can view staff caring for rescued animals. With tons of museums and exhibits for kids in Massachusetts, this is a great choice for a full day of fun. If you’re looking for museums in Boston Massachusetts, you won’t want to miss out on this one!

Museum Hours & Location

The Harvard Museum of Natural History | One of Few History Museums in Massachusetts

The Harvard Museum of Natural History, located on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, provides visitors with an opportunity to understand the natural world and our place in it. The Birds of the World Gallery includes hundreds of specimens that represent over 200 different bird families. The Asia Gallery houses a rare Indian rhinoceros, as well as Siberian and Bengal tigers, and a cheetah. See fossils in the Cenozoic Era Gallery or stroll through the Great Mammal Hal, where you’ll find a large selection of mammals, including a full-size giraffe and whale skeletons

The African wildlife collection features a hippopotamus, lion, ostrich, hyena, gorilla, and many rare animals from the island of Madagascar. The museum also offers educational programs on evolution, Earth and planetary sciences, marine life, and much more. Though there aren’t many museums in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this one is quite enjoyable.

Museum Hours & Location

Boston Children’s Museum | One of the Most Unique Museums in Massachusetts

Of the kids museums in Massachusetts, this is a favorite amongst families. The Boston Children’s Museum is a great place for families where kids can play, learn, and explore. The museum encourages exploration and discovery with immersive encounters, hands-on engagement, and opportunities for children to engage in play designed to spark their creativity, curiosity, and imagination. 

Exhibits include Investigate, where kids examine natural objects; Kid Power, where kids can shoot hoops, climb walls, and hop and bounce on power pump seats together; and Raceway, where children can race objects using loops, roller coasters, giant spirals, and many other unique tracks. At the Art Lab, kids make collages, prints, clay objects, and more. These are only a few of the awesome activities waiting for your kids at the Boston Children’s Museum!

Museum Hours & Location

Museum of Fine Arts Boston | One of the Best Art Museums in Massachusetts

There are so many pieces of artwork that will have you saying this is one of the best art museums in Boston Massachusetts! The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston houses over 100 galleries and is one of the largest art museums in the world. Inside, you’ll discover works from Ancient Greece and Rome, Egyptian sculpture, Dutch and Flemish art, and much more. 

Some of the highlights at the museum include one of the largest collections of works by the famous Impressionist painter Claude Monet outside of France, over 140 ancient Egyptian mummies and Egyptian objects ranging from about 1700 BC to AD 300, and paintings, sculptures, ceramics, furniture, devotional art, and many other items from the Italian Renaissance period, which includes works such as Rosso Fiorentino’s masterpiece The Dead Christ with Angels

Other collections include art from 14th to 18th-century Europe, Korean art, Islamic art, Chinese Song dynasty art from 960 to 1279, and Impressionist art from masters such as Gauguin, Manet, Renoir, and Van Gogh. If you’re looking for free museums in Massachusetts, the Museum of Fine Arts is free by voluntary donation each Wednesday after 4 PM.

Museum Hours & Location

  • Address: 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115
  • Phone number: (617) 267-9300
  • Hours: Saturday to Wednesday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed Tuesday), and Thursday and Friday 10 am to 10 pm

Norman Rockwell Museum | Great Museum for Aspiring Artists

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge is dedicated to one of the most beloved American illustrators, Norman Rockwell. The museum houses the largest and most significant collection of his work in the world, with 998 original paintings and drawings. You can see his Stockbridge studio, where he lived the last 25 years of his life. Besides his paintings, the studio displays original art materials, Rockwell’s library, furnishings, and personal items. 

The museum also houses the Norman Rockwell Archives, a collection of more than 100,000 items that includes working photographs, letters, personal calendars, fan mail, and business documents. Rockwell’s iconic illustrations not only reflected but also helped shape society. In the 1800’s, Santa was not portrayed as the round, jolly, bearded man we know today. 

Norman Rockwell helped shape his image in his illustration on the cover of the December 1913 issue of Boys Life, titled “Santa in Snow with Scouts.” The museum includes many of Rockwell’s most famous illustrations depicting heartwarming scenes of American holiday traditions, such as Valentine’s Day, Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Museum Hours & Location

  • Address: 9 Glendale Rd, Stockbridge, MA 01262
  • Phone number: (413) 298-4100
  • Hours: Monday–Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (closed Wednesdays), and Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Peabody Essex Museum | Best of the Museums in Salem Massachusetts

 

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The Peabody Essex Museum, located in Salem, is home to a collection of outstanding works, primarily from the 1600s to today, including paintings, decorative arts, sculptures, photographs, drawings, textiles, architecture, and objects of daily life. As one of the most famous museums in Massachusetts, you’ll feel like you were transported back in time. 

The museum has exhibits from around the world on display. Explore African, Asian, American, maritime, Native American, and Oceanic art collections, encompassing more than 850,000 works of art and culture. Many works are the first of their kind to be collected in this country. The African art spans from the 15th century to the present. The Chinese art collection is the oldest in the United States. 

The Natural History collection features regional plants, animals, and geology, as well as other specimens from around the world. Highlights include a giant clam found in Sumatra, an ostrich egg from the Cape of Good Hope, and the first penguin exhibited in North America. This is truly one of the best museums in Salem Massachusetts!

Museum Hours & Location

Map of Museums in Massachusetts

If you’re looking for cool museums in Massachusetts, you’ve found them with this list. Along with those in this guide, there are many other museums in the state to explore, featuring everything from art, sculpture, photographs, artifacts, history, and more. Although many are located in and around Boston, you can find excellent museums throughout the state. 

At Mass Bay Movers, we’re here to help you relocate to the beautiful state of Massachusetts! If you’re looking up museums in Massachusetts because you’re moving here, let our Massachusetts movers help you get your belongings relocated safely. Give us a call at 978-587-3775 for a free quote!

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