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.
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.
Southington's past is perfectly preserved within the restored home of Bradley and Leila Barnes—known today as the Barnes Museum—, where guests can peruse 17 rooms filled with antique furniture and personal belongings dating back to 1836. There, guests may feel they've stepped back in time, whether they're admiring the lace dresses, top hats, and other fashions of the times, or perusing Captain Andrew Upson's Civil War letters to find examples of old-timey emoticons. Even the plants surrounding the house have became a historical collection of sorts. A local Eagle Scout recently recreated the house's gardens as they were in 1922, guided by an article published in Country Homes magazine.
Founded in 1903, New Britain Museum of American Art was designated the first museum in the country to be dedicated exclusively to American artwork. Upon its founding, wealthy industrialist John Butler Talcott endowed the museum with a hefty sum of gold bonds and bottled phoenix tears with which to purchase modern oil paintings. The collection blossomed to include other artistic media over time, and it now consists of more than 10,000 works spanning more than three centuries of American creative endeavor. The museum's permanent collections showcase works by noted American artists ranging from Norman Rockwell to John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt to Georgia O'Keeffe. Along with rotating exhibitions and borrowed collections, the museum showcases work by emerging artists.
Looking for a unique art museum? Head on over to New Britain Industrial Museum in New Britain and browse through a wide variety of art pieces.
Head on over to the in-house restaurant for a delectable meal.
Go ahead and bring your rug rats with you — this museum has kid-friendly policy.
Drive to New Britain Industrial Museum and find easy parking in a lot close by or on the street.
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.
Size: three floors of time-related exhibits
Eye Catcher: a vast collection of clocks and pocket watches, all manufactured in Waterbury since the mid-1800s, when everyone stopped wearing their wall clocks on neck chains
Permanent Mainstay: an exhibit focusing on the ever-popular vintage Timex torture-test ads and their famous slogan "Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'"
Don't Miss: though seemingly unrelated to timepieces, the Time Tunnel archaeology exhibit is based on discoveries of explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who found interesting and peculiar connections between seemingly disparate cultures
Hidden Gem: the company's iconic Mickey Mouse watches are highlighted in their own exhibit
Hands-On Experiments: guests can decorate and assemble a working clock or participate in an assembly line and create a paper wristwatch
Pro Tip: at the museum store, you can not only buy Timex watches, but also get your watch battery or strap replaced
While You’re in the Neighborhood:
the American Clock & Watch Museum in nearby Bristol also keeps a collection of pieces from Waterbury Clock Company