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.
A treasury of American art from the 18th century to the present day, with a particular emphasis on the school of Boston expressionism, the Danforth Museum of Art treats patrons to an array of ever-changing exhibits. Running June 12–August 7, the museum's juried exhibitions highlight pieces selected by discriminating art experts, rather than by fickle magic 8 balls. Along with the annual flagship presentation Off the Wall, which features new and exciting work from contemporary artists living and working in New England, this year's new Picture This! exhibit fills the Danforth Children's Gallery with work from regional children's-book illustrators working without the aid of talking-caterpillar apprentices. A third exhibition, A Community of Artists, displays hand-picked artwork chosen after the selection process for the other two showcases.
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.