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Massachusetts Museums

Museums in Massachusetts

Museums in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states.

The capital of Massachusetts in Boston has over 80% of Massachusetts’s population living in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry.

Massachusetts is home to a large number of museums and historical sites. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and the DeCordova contemporary art and sculpture museum and the Maria Mitchell Association are key attractions.

Historically themed museums and sites such as the Springfield Armory National Historic Site in Springfield, Boston’s Freedom Trail, and nearby Minute Man National Historical Park, preserve several sites important during the American Revolution.

The Black Heritage Trail in Boston, which includes essential African-American and abolitionist sites in Boston and the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, each showcase various periods of Massachusetts’s history.

Plimoth Plantation and Old Sturbridge Village are two open-air or “living” museums in Massachusetts, recreating life as it was in the 17th and early 19th centuries, respectively. With this history and legacy, Massachusetts has some of the world’s great museums.

A Virtual Tour of the Museums in Massachusetts

  • Museums in Williamstown, Massachusetts

Highlights of the Museums in Massachusetts

Boston’s Museums

  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
    • The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is one of the largest museums in the United States.
    • It contains more than 450,000 works of art, some highlights of the collection include: Egyptian Artifacts, French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art, Chinese painting, calligraphy, and imperial Chinese Art, Japanese works, 18th- and 19th-century American Art.
  • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
    • The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (ISGM) is in Boston, Massachusetts, located within walking distance of the Museum of Fine Art, Boston.
    • The museum displays an art collection of world importance, including significant examples of European, Asian, and American art, from paintings and sculptures to tapestries and decorative arts.
  • Harvard Art Museums
    • The Harvard Art Museums are part of Harvard University and combine three museums: The Fogg Museum – established in 1895, The Busch-Reisinger Museum – established in 1903, and The Arthur M. Sackler Museum – established in 1985.

 Williamstown’s Museums

  • Clark Art Institute
    • The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is an art museum and research institution located in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
    • Its collection consists of European and American paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts from the fourteenth to the early twentieth century.

Andover’s Museums

  • Addison Gallery of American Art
    • The Addison Gallery of American Art is part of the Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and collects American art.
    • The museum’s purpose is to acquire, preserve, and exhibit works of art for the education and enjoyment. 
    • The museum’s founding collection included significant works by such prominent American artists as John Singleton Copley, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, Maurice Prendergast, John Singer Sargent, John Twachtman, and James McNeill Whistler. Acquisitions and gifts have added significant works.
    • Also, Addison’s collection of 7,500 photographs spans the history of American photography.

Massachusetts’ Museums

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Museums in Massachusetts


“In Boston, they ask, how much does he know?
In New York, how much is he worth?
In Philadelphia, who were his parents?”

– Mark Twain


Photo Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Jonathan Carmichael [Public domain]

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