Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site in Saugus is a perfect way to fill your day and boost your knowledge of historical events.
Parking is plentiful, so guests can feel free to bring their vehicles.
In Focus: Beebe Estate
Original owner: William Foster, a Boston merchant and politician
Architectural style: early Greek Revival
Namesake: Decius Beebe, merchant and tannery owner
1963: ownership passes to City of Melrose
1981: listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Uses: public events, rentals, and host for lectures, exhibits, and classes
Home to: the Council on Aging, Melrose Alliance Against Violence, and Friends of the Fells
Notable feature: lilac, rose bush, and hedge gardens, used for outdoor concerts and poetry readings
Shouts of “huzzah” ring out from the decks of a restored tea ship on the Boston Harbor, led by live actors costumed in waistcoats and tri-corner hats. Their triumphant shouts urge guests to take part in the events and acts of rebellion that helped spark the Revolutionary War. Inspired colonists meet Sam Adams, who encourages guests to take place in a revolutionary act of resistance and throw tea into Boston Harbor with the daring Sons of Liberty.
In addition to the array of immersive, high-tech storytelling devices and ornate replicas—the restored wooden ships were constructed by the craftsmen behind the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World—the museum houses a novel artifact: an original tea chest recovered from the shores of Boston after the Tea Party, of which there are only two in existence.
Five Things to Know About Museum of Science
The Museum of Science dates all the way back to 1830, when a group of civic-minded scientists and academics formed the Boston Society of Natural History. The group didn’t have a permanent spot for its collections until 1864, and it didn’t move into its current spot by the Charles River until 1951. After 180 years, the museum still isn’t standing still; it’s just finished a capital campaign to help inspire a love of science and technology in future generations. Before you stop by, here are a few helpful tidbits about the museum.
There’s plenty for little ones to do. Designed for kids 8 or younger, The Discovery Center offers hands-on science experiments, real fossils and animal skeletons, and much more. T. rex fans will love the Dinosaurs: Modeling the Mesozoic exhibit, which features plenty of imagination-inspiring models and fossils.
To infinity and beyond? Why not? Past exhibits include The Science Behind Pixar, which showed the technology and science that go into creating films such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo over more than 40 exhibit elements.
There are presentations all day. Check out a demonstration of lightning created by a very large Van de Graaff generator, see a show about scientific magic, or watch two brothers discuss physics while performing entertaining feats in The Amazing Nano Brothers Juggling Show.
IMAX in the house: With a gargantuan screen measuring more than five stories in height, the IMAX theatre gives you an immersive view of the world; popular shows let audiences explore Arabian lands or visit the worlds of dinosaurs or humpback whales.
Math controversy abounded in 2015 when a teen saw what he believed to be a math error in a museum exhibit. At first, the museum acknowledged its error, but upon further review, it emerged that the museum’s original equation was correct (albeit presented in a less common format).
Five Things to Know About John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Like several presidents before him (and all after), John F. Kennedy agreed to house his presidential papers in a publicly accessible library after his presidency. Because of his assassination in November 1963, however, the task was left to others to determine how best to represent his legacy. After lengthy delays, the library and museum finally opened in 1979, covering his life and presidency in great detail. Here are a few things to know before you visit:
The building is designed by I.M. Pei. The legendary architect was chosen by Jacqueline Kennedy herself.
It leaves no stone left unturned. Permanent exhibits cover JFK on the campaign trail, in TV press conferences, and in the space race. They also profile Jacqueline Kennedy and the rest of his family. Rotating exhibits have covered aspects of his life and work in more detail, such as the Cuban missile crisis and a comic book issue in which the president asks Superman to help the nation live healthier lives.
If your grandma once sent a gift to JFK, it might be here. The museum has collected 20,000 objects, including many gifts from heads of state and regular citizens, such as a chair crafted by a Cub Scout and a rosary carved out of pinewood.
There’s a large collection of Ernest Hemingway papers. Kennedy was an admirer of Hemingway, and the widow of the latter donated the bulk of his papers to the library in the 1970s.
Kennedy’s sailboat, the Victura, is on display during warmer weather. It’s there to remind visitors of the family’s love of being out on the water.
Five Things to Know About Gibson House Museum
Built in 1860, the Gibson House Museum was originally the home of a sea merchant’s widow, her son, and his family. Since 1957, the Italian Renaissance–style building has served as a time capsule of Victorian-era life on the Back Bay, with a large percentage of the Gibson family’s original furnishings still intact and on display. Before you pay a visit, here are a few things to keep in mind.
The only way to see it is on a tour. Guided walk-throughs are available Wednesday through Sunday in the afternoon; they start on the hour. Group tours are available by special appointment.
There’s a lot to see. You’ll work your way through four abundantly decorated floors, coming across family photos, silver, paintings, original furniture, sculptures, and other heirlooms and curios in the kitchen, scullery, butler’s pantry, bedrooms, library, and, ahem, water closets.
Check out the servants’ area. Just as on Downton Abbey, the real heart of the home is the servants’ area on the ground floor. You’ll see the original coal shed used for heating the building, a cast-iron stove, a dumbwaiter that brought meals upstairs, and a mechanical call-bell system that the Gibsons used to summon their servants.
There’s no elevator. Be prepared to climb a lot of stairs.
The house occasionally hosts special events. One of the most fun is an annual celebration of the anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal.