Museums in Salem

Select Local Merchants

Housed within the antiquated Amos Blanchard House and Barn Museum, the Andover Historical Society preserves artifacts and archival records from Andover’s storied 350-year history. Within the more-than-100-year-old building, visitors can experience what it was like to live as a middle-class family in the early 19th century or peruse the vast library archives. The society also hosts events within the community, including the seasonal Tree Time display and lectures on the town’s history.

97 Main St
Andover,
MA
US

When a Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence was found in 1985 inside a historic Exeter house, the founders of the American Independence Museum knew they needed a special space to show off the amazing discovery. Today, their dream is manifested in the form of the museum, which is made up of the 18th century Ladd-Gilman House, Folsom Tavern, and an acre of land in downtown Exeter. The history museum is dedicated to the men and women of revolutionary America, from the signers of the Declaration to ordinary families who played large roles in the revolution. Here, visitors can take tours and check out historic documents relating to the birth of America, as well as view early American furnishings and household goods.

1 Governors Ln
Exeter,
NH
US

Some museums simply tell the history of their subject, but The Museum of Old Newbury actually plays a role in history. Located in a stately manse that's as much an exhibit as anything within its walls, the historical society was founded in 1877. The museum is also home to a research library specializing in local genealogy and a photography collection of more than 14,000 images of a past age.

  • Size: the museum boasts four main areas: the Caleb Cushing House, the Garden, the Carriage House, and the Perkins Engraving Plant, which played a crucial role in the early minting of Massachusetts currency
  • Eye Catcher: the collection of the old Newburyport Marine Society, which includes curiosities and artifacts found all over the world by sailors in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Permanent Mainstay: guided tours held until 5 p.m. every Wednesday through Sunday explore the history of the home's artwork and relics
  • Don't Miss: the 1870s wall-to-wall carpeting, the gas light fixtures, and the 19th century wallpaper, which aren't era-appropriate replicas?they're the real thing
  • The Building: from 1818 to 1955, three generations of Cushings?some of which were ship-owners, merchants, judges, and diplomats?called this building home
98 High St
Newburyport,
MA
US

Established: 1922

Staff Size: 11?25 people

Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours

Handicap Accessible: Yes

Parking: Free parking lot

Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Antique toys, trains, dolls, and 1690 house

Recommended Age Group: All ages

Q&A with the Marketing Director

What is one fun, unusual fact about your business?

Wenham Museum is a family-friendly museum that's perfect for young visitors. The museum?s collections and most popular attractions inlclude 10 model-train layouts, a world-renowned doll collection, vintage dollhouses, a costume and textile collection, antique toys, historic photographs, and the National Historic Register Claflin-Gerrish-Richards House. The museum?s changing exhibits and programming celebrate childhood, connect generations, and honor local heritage.

What special training do you or your staff have?

Our museum educators are great with young children (and big kids too). We have family-friendly programming, and [our] rotating exhibits are designed to bring our collection and exhibits to life. Our museum offers many hands-on activities.

I'm a first-timer. How do you get me ready for the experience?

Read about our exhibits and collections before you visit. Our welcome desk can also give you tips for a successful visit. Check out [the] website for directions and hours at http://www.wenhammuseum.org/visit.html.

132 Main St
Wenham,
MA
US

The Griffin Museum of Photography was founded more than two decades ago to honor Arthur Griffin, a famous photojournalist whose work appeared in Time and Life, and who was the first photographer to capture baseball player Ted Williams and boxer Joe Louis in color. The non-profit museum is comprised of three galleries, one of which is solely dedicated to displaying Griffin's own photographs.

In the main gallery, rotating exhibits spotlight contemporary photographers that have included Peggy Sirota, known for her striking celebrity snapshots, and a selection of picture curated by NY Times Magazine director of photography Kathy Ryan. Up-and-coming artists take center stage in the museum's Atelier Gallery, while Griffin's pioneering photojournalism fills the Griffin Gallery.

The museum also hosts digital and night photography workshops, where you can master being on the other side of the lens. It also sells photo books and other merchandise, including black-and-white posters of Fenway Park and souvenir mugs.

67 Shore Rd
Winchester,
MA
US

In 1799, Salem’s weathered seafarers founded the East India Marine Society and began to assemble “natural and artificial curiosities” brought back from their journeys to Asia, Africa, and other distant lands. Over the following centuries, the collection grew, and while it did, the Society evolved through various shapes until it became the Peabody Essex Museum. Today, more than 1.8 million of these works invite visitors to explore the world in a facility that underwent a $200 million transformation in 2003.

The majority of works now rest in a Moshe Safdie–designed glass-and-brick building, focused around a sunny atrium whose various architectural silhouettes echo local forms. This new building joins the East India Marine Hall, built by the seafarers’ society in 1825 and dedicated in a ceremony attended by President John Adams. Today, that National Historic Landmark hosts society-member portraits and a number of the hall’s original objects; in other galleries, paintings and sculptures by Japanese, Indian, and Chinese artists hang on the walls or perch in glass cases like pies with personal-space issues. Guests can also tour Yin Yu Tang, the only complete Qing Dynasty house outside of China and a 200-year-old structure with intricate carvings.

In 2013, the Peabody Essex Museum will add exciting new displays to its rotating special exhibitions, from Faberge treasures to impressionistic masterpieces from the likes of Monet, Renoir, and Manet, as well as modern African-American art and contemporary art from India. After marveling at the skill and diversity of the artwork, visitors can drop by the Atrium Café or the Garden Restaurant for a bite to eat.

East India Square, 161 Essex St
Salem,
MA
US