8 Museums that are Hidden World-Class Gems

Of course you’ve been to the Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Science, Boston, but Massachusetts contains so many other world-class, must-see museums you may not have heard of. Winter is a great time to trek out to see them!

Modern Art For the Rest of Us

Close to Boston, the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum is a magical place where the sculptures are strikingly new yet warmly accessible. Wander through their extensive park and discover sculptures hidden in the woods and along the grounds, some of which move in the wind. Indoors, the DeCordova has a kids activity center, interactive programs such as snowshoe tours, and plenty of free visitor days. It’s a great place for a picnic lunch on a date or with your family, and your kids can go to summer camp there, too!

You’ll also even more programs in the Berkshires at MASS MoCA, or the Museum of Contemporary Art, with frequent live music, theatre, and dance, and you can join in the fun by attending a dance party or their Valentine’s Day ‘Date Night’ in February. The museum is enormous, and I’ve always found its new art accessible to me, a layman. The museum features ‘KidSpace’, where your kids can learn art and give you time to explore the grounds on your own.

The World’s Largest Museums of War

Did you know the most comprehensive collection of World War II memorabilia is right here in Massachusetts? The Museum of World War II just west of Boston is a serious and private collection that you need to sign a waiver in advance to visit. And Battleship Cove in Fall River in Southeast Massachusetts is the world’s largest naval museum, with a real WWII battleship, a destroyer, a submarine, PT boats, and much more. You’ll find a carousel on their park grounds, and you and your kids can even sign up to sleep over on the battleship!

Castle Museums

On the North Shore you can find a medieval castle! Hammond Castle is a replica built in the 1920s by an inventor, Dr. John Hammond, who was second only to Thomas Edison in filing patents. They’ll be open during February school vacation but their normal months are April to October. As well as regular interactive programs, the museum holds annual festivals, including a Renaissance Faire in July and a Halloween house in October. Near Worcester, the Higgins Armory is an extensive museum of arms and armor placed in another castle replica, and they hold their own Renaissance festivals. At Higgins you can train to be a viking or roman warrior, and they have a sleepover program, too!

Museums of Sports

If you’re visiting Springfield, head to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, where you’ll find hundreds of interactive exhibits and can join in a shooting contest, and the nearby Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke where you can catch a game!

Those are just a few of the hundreds of educational destinations around. It’s cold this winter, but make that your excuse to explore New England’s many indoor spaces. So don’t just sit around. Get out and have some fun at Massachusetts museums!