With three floors of interactive exhibits, Imagine Nation keeps tykes aged 2?8 and their parents engaged for hours of synapse-firing fun. Kids can create their first masterpiece in the art studio, or visit the ESPN center, where they can pretend to be sportscasters as they sit behind the desk of a model TV set, replete with real equipment from the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
The museum also boasts a health exhibit in which children can don hospital attire and explore a model newborn nursery and an operation table, ideal for parents trying to nudge their child toward a career as a hypochondriac. After whippersnapper's minds have been blown learning about the cosmos at the space exhibit, they can unwind with drinks and snacks at the old-fashioned soda fountain, which winds the clock back to the 1940s with the help of a player piano.
American Clock & Watch Museum’s staff and visitors never have to worry about keeping track of time. Inside a Federal-style home originally built in 1801, curators display more than 1,500 clocks and watches from a collection of more than 5,500, making it one of the largest in the world behind the legion of wristwatches glued together to form Big Ben. Guest curators showcase timepieces from different eras and manufacturers, from antique clocks to art deco accessories made in the Jazz era. Visitors can admire clock maintenance in action on the first and third Friday of each month when the “Ol’ Cranks” wind more than 70 of the museum's historic items. Visitors can also learn more about their own antique treasures by consulting with the museum staff during scheduled evaluation events.
Once, antique wooden carousels dominated parks around the country, delighting kids and adults with jaunty music and exquisite craftsmanship. Today, the experts at the New England Carousel Museum preserve those bygone playtimes for future generations, acquiring and restoring old-fashioned carousels and carousel memorabilia to educate the public on these vintage treasures. In addition to its restoration and exhibition work, the museum also houses an art gallery hosts educational programs for families that can include visits from collectors of other pieces of Americana such as quilts and dolls.
Timexpo: Inside a brass mill built in 1854, the Timex Museum traces the story of the famous watch brand and its impact on modern timekeeping, starting from its inception as Waterbury Clock Company in 1854. Here, visitors learn about the heritage of Timex through modern and interactive exhibits and discover how the watch company turned Waterbury into a landmark.
In the 1920s, Thomas Lamb was the man to see if you were planning to build a theater. The designer of everything from the Orpheum in Boston to Madison Square Garden in New York, his designs fanned the flames of vaudeville and inspired so much admiration in silent-film stars that they almost spoke. So when theater impresario Sylvester Z. Poli decided to built his Palace Theater, he turned to the best. Lamb designed the Palace in a Second Renaissance Revival style, mixing Greek, Roman, Arabic, and Federal motifs into the grand lobby and domed auditorium. With such a regal foundation, Poli couldn't keep his wallet closed when decorating, and spent $1 million dressing the Theater for a king. And so well outfitted, the Theater had a good run, operating with force until 1987. Then the lights on the marquee went out, staying dark for the next 18 years. But with such undeniable beauty, it couldn't stay dark forever. A three-year, $30 million restoration and expansion brought the Palace into the 21st century, turning it into a 90,000-square-foot historical landmark. Yet now, as in the 1920s, the Theater's mission remains the same: to serve as an artistic, cultural, educational, and economic catalyst for the community.
“Other communities looking to establish museums preserving their regional culture and history would do well to visit The Mattatuck Museum,” raves the New England Travels about the Connecticut treasure. The Museum’s educational programs, rotating exhibits, and permanent collections showcasing over 2,000 works of American art focus on preserving and sharing Connecticut’s cultural history. Members receive free admission and discounts on programs and events including readings of Shakespearian plays, walking tours of local neighborhoods, regular live jazz performances, and field trips to go bully Rhode Island, Connecticut’s diminutive neighbor.