One of the most successful colonies in early America and home of the Pilgrims, Massachusetts is rich in history and culture. Visting attractions such as art museums and important historical sites, student groups will find an adventure around every corner.
3 Arts Attractions
The Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston guides student groups through thousands of years of world art. The museum takes groups on interactive, object-based tours through world-renowned collections that feature works of art ranging from contemporary to classical. The “What Artists Do” tour incorporates an art-making activity that encourages students to reflect on the pieces they learned about earlier.
This Williamstown museum works with group leaders to create educational and fun experiences by tailoring gallery talks to the curriculum, introducing projects such as art and creative writing or focusing on the environment. The Clark Museum features art spanning from the Renaissance to the 20th century.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
A patron of the arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner traveled the world to amass a collection of master and decorative arts. Her Boston home, where she displayed her collection, is now the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Groups are able to choose between many themed tours that encourage students to talk and think about art by asking open-ended questions.
3 Overlooked Museums
Hammond Castle Museum
John Hays Hammond, Jr. built the Hammond Castle Museum in Gloucester in the mid-1920’s to serve both as his home and his collection of Roman, medieval and Renaissance artifacts. Guided tours take students on a journey through Hammond’s life and inventions in addition to his collection of artifacts. Students can explore the castle’s gardens, exhibits and secret passageways.
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Dive deep into the history of the whaling industry at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. Tours help students learn to identify important leaders and groups responsible for the growth of the port of New Bedford. Groups studying Melville’s Moby Dick have the option of the museum’s Moby Dick program, which enhances students’ understanding of the adventures and trials of whaling.
Built in 1807 in Boston, the Boston Athenæum is one of the oldest independent libraries and cultural institutions in the country. Students are encouraged to explore exhibits of prints, paintings and rare manuscripts while being educated on their importance and use. Museum curators work with group leaders to teach a course about the library and to explain the intricacies of curatorial work, such as how the documents and artwork and acquisitioned and how the library uses the materials for research.
3 Sites of Historical Significance
Minute Man National Historical Park
March student groups to the site of the opening battle of the Revolutionary War at Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord. Amid many historic sites, structures and landscapes, students can go on ranger-guided expeditions to the North Bridge battlefield and discuss what happened there. Students will read excerpts of primary accounts of the battle, identify key details and draw conclusions based on these accounts. On another tour, students can meet with a ranger dressed as a colonial militiaman and learn about what it was like to live in 1775.
Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum
The Pilgrim Monument commemorates the landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims in Provincetown before they sailed on to Plymouth Rock. Next to it stands the Provincetown Museum, which focuses on the arrival of the Pilgrims, the town’s maritime history and the early days of modern American theater.
Home to the best-known witch tales in America, Salem offers many historical and spooky attractions for student groups. The Hocus Pocus Tour is led by a knowledgeable tour guide who helps students discover the history of the town. It covers the infamous Witch Trials, the story of Salem’s most notorious murder and how author Nathaniel Hawthorne spent much of his life trying to escape the legacy of a hanging judge.
By Caroline Rabin