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The Top Museums You Have to Visit

Apr 04, 2013 01:38AM ● By Erin Frisch


The best museums in New England and the Northeastern US offer a walk through history, whether it’s the natural world or the man-made, as well as the best in contemporary art. This region is steeped in tradition and is one of the most dynamic places in the nation, where history is always being made. Here are four of the museums that bring the best of the old and the new to the fore.

Strawbery Banke Museum

If stepping into living history intrigues you, visit the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It encompasses nearly 10 acres where authentic buildings from four centuries still stand. Each building in the museum demonstrates what life was like in the past. The buildings were slated for the wrecking ball in the 1950s until a local librarian took up the cause and worked with the Rotary Club on the preservation and restoration project. It’s open from May 1 through October, seven days a week, but Sunday hours start at noon. Weekday hours run from 10am to 5pm.

Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Formerly known as Sandy Point, the Great Bay Discovery Center in Greenland, New Hampshire, has an accessible boardwalk and trail where visitors can explore the estuarine habitat along the New Hampshire coastline. Birders enjoy the waterfowl, warblers, and the eagle population during the winter. The museum has a replica of a 19th century gundalow where the deck affords views of the native gardens surrounding the visitor’s center. The visitor’s center houses interactive exhibits providing hands-on education about the estuary’s creatures. A touch tank offers the opportunity to learn about mud snails, lobsters, and horseshoe crabs up close. The Discovery Center is open Wednesdays through Sundays from May 1 to September 30, and weekends only in October.

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum celebrate the 1773 Boston Tea Party. The experience incorporates the authentic ships with high-tech tools to bring the past to life, and visitors can participate in dumping the tea into Boston Harbor. It’s one of the top museums you have to visit and could be the anchor for your trip to Boston. The museum has actors who reenact the steps leading to the rebellion, and you can join them in their protests. The Tea Party Ships and Museum also offer an extensive gift shop and Abigail’s Tea Room, where visitors can sip a cup and learn about the art of brewing tea. The museum is open year-round and hosts special events and weddings as well as group tours.

The New Museum

Located in New York City, the New Museum is one of the most recent additions to the many museums in the city. Its exhibitions and collections feature contemporary art, and it’s one of the top museums you have to visit. The museum’s founder, Marcia Tucker, was a curator at the Whitney Museum and felt that there was a lack of exhibition space for current works of art. The building has eight levels and was completed in 2007. The building houses the 40-seat Birdbath Cafe, a project of The City Bakery, and uses seasonal organically and sustainably grown products.

This region boasts a wealth of cultural and physical diversity, as visits to these four museums will show. Whether you’re planning a trip to the area or live here, it’s enjoyable and informative to explore these showcases of natural and American history, along with contemporary artistic accomplishments.

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