The Museum of Fine Arts. Museum of Science. Mass MoCA. “Old Ironsides.” Plimoth Plantation. There are several tried and true museum and historical destinations across the Commonwealth. But whether you’re planning a class field trip or a family outing, some of these sites may be crowded or out of the way.
Luckily, Massachusetts has a wealth of museum options that are both educational and fun. Here are some of our favorites:
Amherst: Beneski Museum of Natural History
Housed at Amherst College, this museum boasts an extensive collection of dinosaur skeletons, vertebrate fossils, taxidermied specimens, and minerals. The museum’s website provides educators with resources such as a self-guided vertebrate tour, suggested vocabulary words and a detailed look at the evolution of the horse.
Fall River: Battleship Cove
The world’s largest naval ship museum is right here in Massachusetts. You can tour battleships, submarines, aircraft and other vessels that played pivotal roles in 20th century American naval warfare. The museum hosts school trips and can provide you with learning resources and curriculum information.
Medford: Isaac Royall House
Slavery is one of the most painful chapters in American history. As the only surviving slave quarters in New England, the Isaac Royall House offers a unique opportunity to learn the complex lessons of this era up close. Besides the grounds, which include the slave quarters and family mansion, there are also several historical artifacts on display.
Pittsfield: Berkshire Museum
This museum in Western Massachusetts has something for everybody, including an aquarium, an interactive exhibit about regional innovators, dioramas of natural scenes in miniature, a collection of historical toys and a hands-on fossil and dinosaur exhibit. The museum offers several educational programs focusing on natural science, engineering, geology and paleontology.
Readville: Blue Hill Observatory and Science Center
As the home of the oldest continuous weather record in North America, this observatory south of Boston has been the site of many meteorological discoveries in its 125-plus year history. The center aims to encourage an interest in and understanding of science through the study of the atmosphere and how it affects our lives.
Waltham: Charles River Museum of Industry
Located at the site of the first factory in the United States, this museum uses hands-on learning to connect the history of the Industrial Revolution in Massachusetts to innovation taking place today. The manufacturing machines on display — including one that packages 40,000 bags of candy per hour — are sure to drop some jaws. The museum also has lesson plans and reading materials available to educators.
In serving the needs of educators across the commonwealth, we’ve had the chance to discover some exciting destinations throughout Massachusetts. We hope you have fun exploring our suggestions. What are some of your favorite museum destinations?