In 1935, the Wells family sought out a place to display their massive collection of New England antiquities. When they couldn't find one that was sufficient, they decided to build a museum. Since its founding, Old Sturbridge Village?a living-history museum with its own rich history?has granted visitors a chance to experience New England life in the 19th-century firsthand.
As they navigate a town and rustic countryside filled with 40 historic buildings, including an old schoolhouse, mansion homes, and three water-powered mills, visitors encounter heritage farm animals and interpreters in period costume. At regular times throughout the day, specific sites become interactive. A shoemaker cobbles a new pair of shoes, a blacksmith submerges steaming hunks of metal, and a soldier makes lifelike musket sounds with his mouth?all for the benefit of live audiences. Throughout the year, events such as cooking and craft-making classes further enhance the educational experience.
Longtime resident of northeastern Connecticut, Carly Martin founded Silver Circle in 2008 with the belief that art is the glue that keeps communities together, granting local artists a space to exhibit their masterworks, hosting classes for aspiring Picassos to hone their craft, and providing a venue for jewelry makers to sell their crafts. The original pieces in Martin's gallery––which have included works by Jean-Paul Jacquet and George Chaplin––rotate on a four- to six-week schedule, and featured exhibits can be viewed in the main hall every Tuesday through Sunday, or through an enchanted mirror on Monday. Rather than having a decorative mindset while choosing the pieces for the gallery, Martin takes a more spontaneous approach, telling the Putnam Villager, “We don't concern ourselves with 'matching'... If a piece of artwork speaks to us, it can change our whole space and add energy and interest in unexpected ways. Art truly breathes life into a home.”
The Worcester Historical Museum showcases local history with a library of 7,000 titles and exhibits full of artifacts such as Civil War?era diaries, colonial weapons, and antique textiles. The museum also hosts a number of temporary exhibitions, which have included students' artwork honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and stories from industry innovators, workers, and investors throughout Worcester's history.
Alongside its carefully curated 35,000-piece collection spanning more than 5,000 years, the Worcester Art Museum leads frequent tours and hosts live jazz performances, exhibit openings, and other events. Friends of the museum flex color-sensing muscles with unlimited free admission (up to a $14 value per visit), free gallery and audio tours, and two transferable one-year guest passes, good for bringing along friends and idle house painters. In addition to rotating special exhibits, the museum boasts an array of European works, such as the colorful canvases of Gauguin and Cézanne, as well as paintings by Whistler, Sargent, and Cassatt and pieces by other renowned American artists.
EcoTarium’s three floors of exhibits creatively use wildlife, scientific concepts, and the museum’s natural history collection to help children discover the natural world. "Cyberchase—The Chase Is On!", a new interactive exhibit based on the PBS KIDS GO! math mystery cartoon and running for a limited time, allows visitors to protect the virtual universe by cunningly solving puzzles and math problems. "Bubbles," a seasonal exhibit, lets children discover different bubble shapes and stand inside a humungous bubble. Many animals such as a polar bear, bald eagles, and otters frolic peaceably within the museum grounds, which also features 55 acres of nature trails. Regular museum events, a digital planetarium, and free parking are also available.
The four-story Higgins Armory Museum details the long history of weapons and warfare across the world, delighting imaginations with thousands of historical swords, armor, and early firearms. The Gothic-inspired Great Hall features ancient arms and armor, tools of war from around the world, and an entire section devoted to medieval tournaments, including both jousting and fantasy jousting. Blending the mythology of several world cultures with sci-fi art, Beyond Belief follows the curious journal of Professor Rufus Excalibur Bell, a scientist exploring the weird aspects of time and space with fun, fictional exhibits such as gargoyle skeletons and the Miniscule Winged Specimen Influxator, a vacuum designed for trapping fairies.