With its lofty ceilings, slate floors, natural wood beams, and floor-to-ceiling windows that give sunlight some rare exposure to high culture, the building that houses the Fuller Craft Museum is itself a work of art. The 21,000-square-foot structure is surrounded by a 22-acre campus, which is itself surrounded by some 700 acres of woodland. It's a place to easily lose an afternoon in exploration and contemplation.
Across this wide-open space, creativity flows naturally. Exhibitions, galleries, and workshops showcase the mesmerizing craftsmanship of woodworking, sculpture, bookmaking, and many other forms, exploring the materials, techniques, and expression poured into each piece. Interactive attractions draw visitors deeper into the creative process. Letterboxing, for instance, challenges them to search the property for hidden treasures by following clues instead of just lazily asking a neighborhood pirate.
Part playground and part museum, Our World Children's Global Discovery Museum welcomes kids ages 1–6 to explore the natural sciences and human history with all of their senses. Here, kids can step into the boots of a boat captain and guide the newest nautical portion of the playground, The Ship. The interactive boat encourages wee ones to try their hands as fishermen, hauling traps and nets, and to explore new species in the touchable coral-reef display. Throughout the year, the ship captivates kids' imaginations with a new theme and historical event or location.
Other exhibits give kids the chance to conduct tiny trains or take to the stage in the theater area. For more structured learning, the museum hosts classes in everything from making music to painting to cooking meals, a vital skill in winning any game of house.
In 1949, the USS Salem began its 10-year career patrolling the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. A flagship of the 6th Fleet during the Cold War era, it served as a “Lady of Diplomacy,” using its massive canons to impress ambassadors, not to fire on enemies. The ship also made headlines in 1953 when it harbored refugees from Greece following a massive earthquake.
Today permanently docked in Quincy Fore River Shipyard, the Salem is one of the last preserved naval heavy cruisers in the world. Three quarters of the ship is used to honor the history of those who served, with features including a Navy SEALs exhibit, the USS Newport News Memorial Room, and a US Navy Cruiser Sailor Memorial. In addition to memories, the Salem also hosts birthday parties and overnight adventures filled with simulated battles and real-life survival instruction. If they listen closely, visitors might even hear some of the spooky sounds that earned the ship a feature on the SyFy channel’s Ghost Hunters in 2009.
It didn’t take long for Robert Bennet Forbes to make a name for himself. He was made a captain by the age of 20, and he quickly amassed wealth and influence as a China Trade Merchant. And despite becoming one of the country’s most prominent businessmen, Captain Forbes still found time to design ships, write, and build an estate that would make Scrooge McDuck molt with envy. Along with his brother John, the Captain commissioned a Greek Revival mansion to be built in 1883. The house was intended for their mother, but over the decades, it would become home to many members of the entrepreneurial family—who collected four generations worth of paintings, artifacts, and various artwork.
Perched atop Milton Hill, the mansion—now a National Historic Landmark called the Forbes House Museum—transports visitors back to key moments in American history. In one part of the house lies memorabilia focused on President Lincoln and the Civil War, collected by the Captain's granddaughter Mary Bowditch Forbes. Her passion for that time period was so strong, she even had a replica of Lincoln's birthplace built on the museum's grounds. Other rooms showcase the valuable Chinese exports collected by the Captain. Sitting atop a table of Cantonese marble and hand-carved rosewood is the crown jewel of this collection, the Election Bowl, a porcelain vessel adorned with two Forbes family crests and two depictions of Scottish castles. In addition to tours, the mansion also hosts various cultural events, including a monthly roundtable discussion on the Civil War.
America’s oldest car collection is stowed away inside an exquisite mansion built to resemble the French Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire. A vehicular hot spot for the car-collecting community, the 75-year-old museum showcases dazzling exhibits, such as Britain Can Make It: Postwar Progress through Determination, Innovation & Exportation, conducts educational programs and lectures, and maintains a viewable fleet of carefully maintained machines. Cars on display range from 1920s cruisers to modern Formula One racers. Additionally, museum members have access to all lawn event car shows from May through October.
The museum will be closed from April 15 through mid-May to prepare for a new exhibit.
It’s not often that a building is as cutting edge as what it houses, but that’s the case with Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. Set on Boston Harbor, the 65,000-square-foot cantilevered structure boasts amazing views, perched as it is right at the water’s edge with its enormous glass windows. The museum, founded in 1936, has hosted exhibits by the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein over the years and, more recently, by artists such as Tara Donovan and Shepard Fairey. Since 2000, the museum has been building a permanent collection which rotates about once a year. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of multimedia art, videos, installations and performing arts programs.