Artifacts, programs illuminate the stories of Pilgrims, indigenous people
At the Pilgrim Hall Museum, visitors will discover the story of families of different cultures and the great difficulties they faced from the arrival of the Mayflower to the end of the Plymouth Colony in 1692. Opening its doors in 1824, the museum is the nation’s oldest continuously operating public museum, with a vast collection of Pilgrim possessions, including Myles Standish’s sword, William Bradford’s Bible and Peregrine White’s cradle. The museum’s focus also encompasses the experiences of the Wampanoag people, who lived in the area for over 13,000 years before the Pilgrims. Exhibitions and programs trace the interrelationships between the Wampanoag and early colonial settlers. Begin your historical journey with a 15-minute orientation film and end it in the gift shop with items from corn husk dolls to Mayflower replicas.
33 William StreetNew Bedford, MAPhone: 508-996-4095
Covering 13 city blocks, a Visitor Center and many other buildings in downtown New Bedford, this park, operated by the National Park Service, preserves the history of 19th-20th century whaling industry, which had its epicenter in this old seafaring town. The park also tells stories of global immigration, Underground Railroad, women’s history, cultural diversity, architecture, and art. Here, you can see scenes like the Seamen’s Bethel, places depicted in Herman Melville’s classic novel “Moby-Dick.” Hours: April 1 to December 31, daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; January 1 to March 31, closed Mondays and Tuesdays
New Bedford Whaling Museum
18 Johnny Cake HillNew Bedford, MA, 02740Phone: 508-997-0046
The New Bedford Whaling Museum houses the world's most comprehensive collection of whaling and maritime artifacts. Climb aboard the world's largest ship model, the 89-foot bark Lagoda, and view the 66-foot skeleton of a rare blue whale.
Hours: October-April, Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; May-September, daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; open holiday Mondays; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
Admission: General, $14; seniors, $12; students, $9; children, $6.
Nineteenth-century Life Saving Station facing Boston Light; working rescue apparatus; exhibits, shipwreck lore, and kid's loft.
Hours: Year-round, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; July-October, also open weekends, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. ; Additional hours and guided tours available by appointment
Admission: Adults, $5; seniors, $3; children 18 and younger, free.
The Old Fire Station, 9 Sullivan AvenueNorth Easton, MA, 02356Phone: 508-230-3789
Located in the historic Old Fire Station in North Easton, the Children's Museum of Easton offers hands-on experience to stimulate curiosity and motivate learning. Three floors of interactive exhibits and over 100 programs allow kids to explore the world around them. Primarily for children age 1 to 8.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; closed most Mondays; call ahead for holidays or school vacation hours
Admission: $7.50 per person; children under 1 admitted for free.