History is like Frankenstein's monster: all it takes to make it come alive is the right education, a large body of artifacts exhumed from the earth, and an electrical storm. Learn from the past with today's Groupon: for $12, you get two adult admissions to Fruitlands Museum in Harvard (up to a $24 value). Admission for children 5–13 is $5 and children younger than 5 are free.
Founded in 1914, Fruitlands Museum preserves the rich heritage of the New England region with exhibits housed in four main buildings, each dedicated to a different aspect of local history. The Fruitlands Farmhouse stands as a monument to Bronson Alcott's experimental Fruitlands community, an attempt to create a utopian communal living space inspired by the tenets of transcendentalism. Originally constructed on the site of the Harvard Shaker Village in 1796, the Shaker Office recalls the radical religious sect that took root in New England in response to an epidemic of dead-fish handshaking. At the Art Gallery, visitors can lose themselves in panoramas of America's uninhabited countryside by gazing at the museum's collection of more than 100 Hudson River School landscape paintings, which depict the region's natural scenery in logical and romantic style. Visitors to the Native American Gallery explore more than 1,000 ethnographic objects representing tribes from across the nation.
Visitors can peruse jewelry and local craftwork at the museum gift shop to take advantage of this Groupon's included 10% discount, or they can explore the museum’s 210 acres of natural scenery. The peaks of Mount Monadnock and Mount Wachusett look down with mountainly nobility over 2.5 miles of walking trails on the grounds. The museum invites guests to trundle in picnic meals or snack on burgers, hot dogs, and paintings of hot dogs from Alcott’s Restaurant & Tea Room.
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.