From its unobstructed perch directly on the bay, the Herreshoff Marine Museum showcases a vast sampling of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company’s historic fleet of power and sailing yachts. Herreshoff helped usher in the early 20th-century's golden age of yachting, building eight consecutive America’s Cup winners before constructing the first torpedo boats for the U.S. Navy, which until that point had relied on splashing the enemy’s vessels whenever the lifeguard wasn’t looking. A family membership grants two adults and up to four children free year-round access to 60 classic yachts, plus steam engines, fittings, photographs, and memorabilia. Members also get to wander the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, which honors the inductees of yachting’s premier competition.
Named as one of New England’s top five public gardens in Yankee magazine, Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum spans 33 acres of lawns, gardens, trees, and historic stone structures. Through October 3, Blithewold is celebrating the seasonal color scheme with Autumn Splendor, a festival that includes access to colorful grounds (daily) and the more than a century-old mansion (Wednesday–Sunday), plus free children’s story time for children to read encyclopedia entries to each other (Friday at 11 a.m.).
A living-history farm dating to 1799, Coggeshall Farm Museum brings Bristol’s agrarian past into the present by providing a faithful depiction of farm life during the period between the Revolutionary War and the Industrial Revolution. Staffed by trained actors in period dress, the museum provides rare insight into the lives of traditional coastal tenant farmers as workers demonstrate everyday chores of yesteryear such as tilling the land or applying wax to the land's moustache. Hands-on activities and workshops encourage patrons to get a feel for farm work and include lessons in Historic Foodways and Hearth Cooking. The farm's historic structures are meticulously maintained via period-accurate restorations, allowing them to keep proud watch over the expansive grounds where heirloom plants and native animals thrive amid 48 acres of woodland, fields, and salt marsh.Farm activities are open to the public on Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It would take months of sea travel, extensive scuba certifications, and fluency in several crustacean dialects to find—let alone interact with—all the creatures found in Ocean Explorium's interactive exhibits. The science center emphasizes environmental stewardship and scientific literacy through several educational habitats such as touch tanks of local aquatic wildlife—including New Bedford's world-famous scallops and schools of rays and sharks. The Living Laboratory exhibit brings visitors face to face with sea creatures such as baby sharks, shark egg cases, coral farm, and moon jellies. Beyond the up-close encounters with denizens of the deep, Ocean Explorium also enlightens patrons with a variety of non-living displays. The Explorer's Zone presents scientific experiments that reveal the workings of the natural world through hands-on exhibits themed around different weekly topics, and Discovery Bay enthralls children aged eight or younger with games, puzzles, and a sand and water table. Advanced computers construct a three-dimensional image of our home planet as it appears from outer space in the Science on a Sphere exhibit, displaying global weather patterns in real time or replaying natural phenomena from history, such as the time it rained men.
For the past 15 years, The New Bedford Art Museum has dressed up downtown New Bedford with a seasonally changing collection of visual stimuli from local, national, and international artists—all presented within a former bank that still contains two vintage vaults. Pamela Calore's Time Has Left Its Mark explores the haunting remnants of abandoned local factories and the Rhode Island System that governed the lives of its workers. New Bedford Through the Lens, meanwhile, charts the city's changes over time through photographs or a feature film, depending on how fast attendees sprint past the photographs. The New Bedford Art Museum is open Wednesday–Sunday.