When a Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence was found in 1985 inside a historic Exeter house, the founders of the American Independence Museum knew they needed a special space to show off the amazing discovery. Today, their dream is manifested in the form of the museum, which is made up of the 18th century Ladd-Gilman House, Folsom Tavern, and an acre of land in downtown Exeter. The history museum is dedicated to the men and women of revolutionary America, from the signers of the Declaration to ordinary families who played large roles in the revolution. Here, visitors can take tours and check out historic documents relating to the birth of America, as well as view early American furnishings and household goods.
Some museums simply tell the history of their subject, but The Museum of Old Newbury actually plays a role in history. Located in a stately manse that's as much an exhibit as anything within its walls, the historical society was founded in 1877. The museum is also home to a research library specializing in local genealogy and a photography collection of more than 14,000 images of a past age.
Housed within the antiquated Amos Blanchard House and Barn Museum, the Andover Historical Society preserves artifacts and archival records from Andover’s storied 350-year history. Within the more-than-100-year-old building, visitors can experience what it was like to live as a middle-class family in the early 19th century or peruse the vast library archives. The society also hosts events within the community, including the seasonal Tree Time display and lectures on the town’s history.
Named Best Family Destination (Indoor) by Northshore magazine in 2010, Imajine That diverts the minds of children with a 12,000-square-foot interactive, educational playspace. Pint-size imaginations roam free in 12 Imajination stations, where miniature post offices, grocery stores, and mortgage brokers let little ones mirror their grown-up wranglers. Kids can leap and bound through the dragon bouncy house and giant Jurassic climbing structure, or color canvases at the arts and crafts station. Membership includes monthly passes for one child and two adults (a $20 value) or two children and two adults (a $30 value), which allow unlimited play throughout the month, and kids can be brought in by babysitters, family members, and other childproof adults.
Gundalow Company likens its namesake to the tractor-trailer rigs of today. Flat-bottomed cargo barges with a single mast, gundalows once sailed down shallow rivers, carrying fish, lumber, bricks, and coal to towns in the Piscataqua region. The company’s mission is to preserve the history of this ship and the maritime life it once facilitated. They are aided in this mission by two vessels. The Captain Edward H. Adams is a historically accurate replica of the Fanny M., the last commercial gundalow. It was helmed by Captain Adams, who was also known for gathering awareness for the health of the Great Bay Estuary. Visitors can hop aboard this permanently docked ship and participate in an array of hands-on educational programs. The Piscataqua, on the other hand, offers on-the-go lessons, as it is US Coast Guard–certified and available for public and private sails. During two-hour tours, passengers travel along six inland rivers, picnicking, helping the crew pull up lobster traps, or searching the water’s surface for a third eye in their reflections.
Staff Size: 11?25 people
Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Free parking lot
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Antique toys, trains, dolls, and 1690 house
Recommended Age Group: All ages
What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?
Wenham Museum is a family-friendly museum that's perfect for young visitors. The museum?s collections and most popular attractions inlclude 10 model-train layouts, a world-renowned doll collection, vintage dollhouses, a costume and textile collection, antique toys, historic photographs, and the National Historic Register Claflin-Gerrish-Richards House. The museum?s changing exhibits and programming celebrate childhood, connect generations, and honor local heritage.
What special training do you or your staff have?
Our museum educators are great with young children (and big kids too). We have family-friendly programming, and [our] rotating exhibits are designed to bring our collection and exhibits to life. Our museum offers many hands-on activities.
I'm a first-timer. How do you get me ready for the experience?
Read about our exhibits and collections before you visit. Our welcome desk can also give you tips for a successful visit. Check out [the] website for directions and hours at http://www.wenhammuseum.org/visit.html.