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.
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.
A haven for exotic animals rescued from neglect or abandonment, Animal Adventures lets visitors interact with its furry and scaly refugees, teaching them firsthand to appreciate and respect the earth's diverse wildlife. Working with a rotating cast of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and marsupials, animal experts regale audiences with facts and the backstories of each animal, such as how they were rescued and which cartoon representative of their species best captures their regional accent. Though its denizens regularly find new homes, Animal Adventures's altruistic menagerie has included a massive alligator snapping turtle, a canadian lynx, and an asian water monitor. The sanctuary also offers day camps for youngsters looking to get closer with the animals, and an animal-adoption program for adults looking to support the cause by taking a critter home and putting it through college.
With the largest collection of Russian icons in North America, this museum gives its visitors a glimpse into an important part of Russian culture in play since the year 998. It houses more than 700 Russian artifacts, and also encompasses a research library and archive with a collection that spans six centuries. Onsite classes let interested parties delve even more deeply into the artifacts? context and history, and the three-story building?s elevators and other amenities render it fully accessible to patrons in wheelchairs and on unicycles. Today, the museum spans 16,000 square feet and includes an old mill building, though over the years it has expanded to encompass extra gallery space, a tea room, and a performance area dedicated to cross-cultural understanding.
In 1843, Charles Lane and Amos Bronson Alcott—father to writer Louisa May Alcott—founded a utopian and transcendentalist community in the fields of Harvard. More than 70 years later, visionary Clara Endicott Sears was so moved by their experiment that she decided to establish a museum on the same site to preserve its history. Today, the Fruitlands Farmhouse stands as a testament to the original settlers’ ingenuity, which surfaced in their trailblazing thoughts on veganism, sustainable living, and harnessing moon beams to power home stereo equipment.
Clara has incorporated the Shakers’ original office into Fruitlands, where it now shows off Shaker artwork and artifacts, many of which were donated by the Shakers themselves. Since then, the museum has also collected a curated assortment of more than 1,000 Native American artifacts, as well as a longhouse, dugout canoe, and traditional garden.
The brains behind the museum are still innovating today, curating permanent additions such as an art gallery with Hudson River School Landscapes. In addition to organizing school field trips, the staff also hires experts to teach classes and workshops on sketching scenes from nature, painting watercolor landscapes, and constructing 3D sculptures.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, immigrants flocked to Rhode Island in search of work and prosperity within the state's mill towns. Their labors?both on and off the factory floor?helped define the culture of the Blackstone Valley. Today, the Museum of Work and Culture preserves their stories for future generations.