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.
Named Best Family Destination (Indoor) by Northshore magazine in 2010, Imajine That diverts the minds of children with a 12,000-square-foot interactive, educational playspace. Pint-size imaginations roam free in 12 Imajination stations, where miniature post offices, grocery stores, and mortgage brokers let little ones mirror their grown-up wranglers. Kids can leap and bound through the dragon bouncy house and giant Jurassic climbing structure, or color canvases at the arts and crafts station. Membership includes monthly passes for one child and two adults (a $20 value) or two children and two adults (a $30 value), which allow unlimited play throughout the month, and kids can be brought in by babysitters, family members, and other childproof adults.
Established in 1950, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum features unique indoor and outdoor venues, allowing visitors to celebrate and explore contemporary art across 35 acres. Inside, the Museum features a robust slate of rotating exhibitions and innovative interpretive programming. Outside, deCordova’s Sculpture Park host
Housed inside Boston's monumental textile mill, the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation invites guests on a trek through American history with a collection of artifacts dating as far back as 1812. Throughout the building's hallowed halls, interactive displays cleverly disguise education as amusement, coaxing visitors both young and old to steer a 19th-century fire engine, play a foot-powered piano, and teach an antique telephone switchboard how to send text messages. Enduring exhibits also showcase Waltham's industrious past with displays dedicated solely to textiles, watches and clocks, and transportation, including bicycles and penny-farthings powered by shredded pieces of yellow journalism. Members can take advantage of such perks as complimentary museum admission, invitations to special events, and unlimited use of the museum library.
Founded in 1866, the Peabody Museum is one of the oldest anthropological museums in the world, with an in-depth collection of artifacts spanning prehistory to present. You'll learn about the evolution of cultures through a variety of current exhibits. Head into the Pacific Islands Hall to find carvings, shields, and shadow puppets from Hawaii, Micronesia, and other islands, and get a dose of colonial life in the early Harvard Yard with Digging Veritas, where you can scope out framed papyrus LSAT scores. The Wiyohpiyata display treats guests to distinct scents, motions, ambient sounds, and more to evoke the character of original 19th-century Lakota drawings collected at Little Big Horn. Your Groupon also affords you admission to the nearby Harvard Museum of National History, where muzzled opera singers can get a glimpse of the famed Glass Flowers exhibit, a collection of more than 3,000 highly realistic glass-blown models of flowers and plants.
Named by the Boston Globe as New England's greatest university collection of artworks, the Harvard Art Museums are three distinct museums—the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler museums—that together provide visitors with an astounding array of creative work. Re-View, the permanent exhibition highlighting the best of each museum, cuts a slice out of the collection to show rare treasures alongside well-known works ranging from Islamic to Asian, painting to calligraphy, and ancient to contemporary. Peruse a full queue of exhibitions, including one about the use of illusion in art and how it can confuse seeing-eye dogs.
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.