Museums and galleries are a living historical display. Visiting a Central Massachusetts museum and/or gallery is an inexpensive way to experience our past, and view the culture of local and world renowned artists. Museums and galleries are scattered throughout the Central Mass region, which translates into a short drive no matter your locale. Take the opportunity to probe our history by visiting a museum, or support our local artists by stopping by a gallery.
An urban oasis of woodlands and wetlands, the EcoTarium is a unique indoor-outdoor museum that allows for discovery of the wonders of the natural world. It offers three floors of interactive exhibits, extensive grounds, and a digital planetarium. Meet live animals, stroll interpretive trails, ride the train, or walk among the treetops 40 feet above ground. Seasonal outdoor café and Museum Store located on-site. Rentals are available after 5pm for up to 250 guests. Year round events and exhibits. Live at Sunset summer outdoor concert series, June-July.
A permanent collection of American, European, and Asian paintings, prints, and sculptures. Decorative arts and antiques from Egypt, Greece, Rome, Meso America. Changing exhibitions. Tours, lectures, classes for adults, children; school & bus group accommodations are available.
Museum - Historic/Heritage: Immerse yourself in the heritage, nature, and art of a New England treasure. Scenic Fruitlands offers four intimate galleries of New England history plus a charming restaurant, and museum store. Set on 200 pastoral acres, with 2.5 miles of walking trails and stunning vistas, Fruitlands is a favorite for weddings and special events.
Fruitlands Museum celebrates four distinct groups all of whom found a spiritual connection to the land: the historic home of Bronson Alcott’s transcendental experiment, where Louisa May Alcott and her family lived in 1843; a gallery of Native American folklore and artifacts; the first Shaker museum in the country; and an art gallery with a large collection of Hudson River landscapes, American portraiture and seasonal exhibits.
Restaurant: Linger over lunch at Fruitlands Museum Cafe, a farm to fork restaurant operated by the folks from Gibbett Hill Restaurant in Groton, MA and exclusive caterer for weddings and special events.
Gift Shop: Browse NOA at Fruitlands gift shop, with handmade jewelry and unique gifts from local craftsman. Group, Education and Bus Tours welcomed.
The extraordinary collections of the Higgins Armory Museum span European Medieval and Renaissance history, with significant items from ancient Greece, Egypt, Turkey, and Japan. There are plenty of family-friendly events. Kids and adults can learn the basics of swordplay, stand face-to-face with centuries of arms and armor, get a taste of castle life in the interactive “Castle Quest” and even learn to make their own shields. To complement Higgins’ vast collection, the museum is regularly developing new interactive exhibits.
Meetings/Banquets/Weddings/Outings - Imagine a show-stopping two-story Medieval Great Hall with soaring ceiling, tapestries, stained glass windows, and more than 35 suites of armor as back drop. Higgins Armory Museum’s premiere rental space accommodates up to 120 for a seated dinner and 250 for cocktails. Newly renovated auditorium is perfect for presentations and seats up to 114.
Learning Center - The Higgins Armory Museum is among the world’s most important centers for the study of combat arts from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The museum offers a range of classes that include the knightly long sword, rapier, dueling saber, staff weapons, and more. You can also study modern fencing, or take part in the museum’s world-class program of seminars and demonstration of lost martial arts, offered through the Higgins Armory Museum’s Academy of the Sword.
The Museum of Russian Icons is the largest collection of Russian icons in the USA. The collection exceeds 500 icons from the 15th century to the 21st century. Group, education and bus tours welcomed - please call ahead.
Old Sturbridge Village (OSV) is a "must-see" destination to experience early New England life from 1790-1840. One of the country's largest living history museums, OSV has a large staff of costumed interpreters, 59 antique buildings, three water-powered mills, and a working farm. Visitors can ride a stagecoach, view antiques, tour heirloom gardens, meet heritage breed farm animals, and enjoy hands-on-crafts. Open year round
Weddings: At Old Sturbridge Village, they’ve been planning your wedding for 175 years. Hold your ceremony in their 1830s Center Meetinghouse, with your wedding music played on the antique organ and the soft glow of candles in the chandelier. There is no shortage of picturesque backdrops for your photos, including the Salem Towne House Garden and the horse-drawn carriage. Continue with an on-site reception at Bullard Tavern or Oliver Wight Tavern featuring outstanding menus and service.
Learning Center: Step out of the classroom and into the 19th century. Old Sturbridge Village has many programs to engage students and make history meaningful. Tour their working 1830s community and participate in hands-on activities. Online teacher resources help connect your OSV experience to the curriculum. If you can’t visit them, they’ll come to you with History on the Road. Programs are also available for home school students and scouts.
A living museum of plants, featuring a 3,000 square-foot Orangerie [greenhouse] filled with flowering subtropical plants, citrus and palm trees, seasonal displays, and special events. Distinctive gardens showcasing more than 350 varieties of trees and shrubs in the Lawn Garden alone, along with evergreens and fruiting plants, woodland trails, meadows, gift shop, library, café. Dozens of educational and artistic programs for adults and youths, some eligible for college credit. Open Tues-Sun, 10am-5pm and holiday Mondays. Twigs Cafe serves lunch 11am-3pm. Library is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10am-4pm. Guided Tour every Sunday at 2pm. Horticultural Hotline operates on Wednesday afternoons from 2-4pm for gardening questions. Call the telephone number or sign on to the website for details and directions; group rates available.
Rentals of the facilities at Tower Hill Botanic Garden are offered for professional meetings, off-site business “retreats”, and other corporate functions. Rental rates are competitive and they offer a wide range of accommodations for groups of various sizes. The standard schedule for rental of meeting space is between the hours of 9am-5pm. Special arrangements can be made for rentals after regular
hours of operation. Rentals include the set-up of tables, chairs, lectern, screens and easels. Tower Hill is now WIFI internet connected to facilitate business communications.
Vaillancourt Folk Art of Sutton is one of the America's last producers of Christmas collectibles. Visit their gallery, see the painters create the santas before your eyes. Enjoy the Christmas Museum and enjoy their production of the Christmas Carol featuring Charles Dicken's great great grandson, Gerald Dickens.
Discover where time began in the Blackstone Valley. The museum includes the original homestead and workshop of America's premiere 18th century clockmakers. Over 75 Willard clocks are displayed in period room settings, along with family portraits, furnishings and ceramics. Check their website for special events and hours. Museum shop includes book and antique clocks for sale.
The Worcester Art Museum, which opened to the public in 1898, is world renowned for its 35,000+ piece collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints, drawings, and new media. Art celebrates life at the museum. Accessible to all, the works span 5,000 years of art and culture ranging from ancient Roman mosaics to colonial silver, Impressionist paintings, and contemporary art. Dedicated to the promotion of art and art education, the Museum also offers a year round studio art and appreciation program that enrolls over 6000 adult and youth students each year.
Specialty Shop: The Museum Shop at Worcester Art Museum offers a wide variety of merchandise inspired by art in the permanent collection and in museums worldwide. Find beautiful items to remember your visit or give as gifts. Browse the shelves where scores of just-right items will catch your eye. From note cards, framed and matted prints, silk scarves and ties, umbrellas, decorative boxes to an irresistible collection of tree ornaments, picture frames, glassware, pottery, purses, clocks, and art inspired jewelry and watches to complement any outfit. Our children's selection of gifts encourages learning, laughter and play. Baby toys, children's books, art-making kits, puzzles and games will please any child.
Cafe: Whether you're visiting the Museum's galleries or stopping in just for lunch, The Museum Café is sure to pleasantly surprise. Choose from a delectable selection of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrées and desserts. Dine indoors or experience one of Worcester's few outdoor courtyard cafes. Reservations for parties of eight or more may be made by calling 508.799.4406 x3068.
ADD MATISSE, REMBRANDT AND MONET TO THE GUEST LIST - A WORLD CLASS VENUE FOR YOUR EVENT. Wedding Receptions and Ceremonies | Holiday Parties | Cocktail Receptions | Corporate and Team Building Events. The Museum makes available, on a rental basis, the use of its magnificent architectural spaces and galleries. World-renowned for its collections which span more than fifty centuries, the Museum features must-see masterpieces spanning the globe. What better site in which to host your historic event! Private events in the Renaissance Court may begin after 5:45pm on Wednesday through Sunday. Events in The Museum Café may begin after 4:00pm Wednesday through Saturday, or anytime Sunday. All venues are available for rental any time on Monday and Tuesday. For business and social events, the Museum offers three approved caterers which have extensive experience with the Museum spaces and present delectable and artfully displayed cuisine. You will need to contact those outside caterers directly for menu options, pricing and availability. In conjunction with your event, we encourage you to take advantage of our docent-led or self- guided tours of selected galleries. The fees for these options vary depending on the galleries of interest and number of guests. Please ask for more details. World-renowned for its collections which span more than fifty centuries, the Museum features must-see masterpieces spanning the globe from ancient mosaics to contemporary art. Experience a diverse world of art and ideas through antiquities, paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures and decorative arts. From concept to completion, our staff is highly experienced in every aspect of event planning, and will work with you to ensure your occasion is unique and truly memorable. What better site in which to host your special event! The Museum Café is also available for rental. Please call 508-793-4327 or e-mail specialevents [at] worcesterart [dot] org for more information.
Learn about the history of Worcester through exhibitions, education programs and special events presented throughout the year. Visit Worcester Historical Museum to see hundreds of objects made in Worcester. Listen to the stories of industrial leaders, inventors, and workers. Discover Worcester's common heritage through hands-on activities. Explore the contributions of ethnic groups and individuals through changing exhibitions and special programs. Find out what Worcester was like in centuries past in the library's reading room. The library is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 10am-4pm; Thursday, 10am-8:30pm.