History & Museums

History lives here! Explore the fabled towns of Middlesex, where Minuteman farmers marched to the Lexington & Concord Alarm. As you explore the collections of our local antiquarian societies and visit our historic districts you’ll discover facets of the American experience you’ve never encountered before.

Enjoy a traditional dinner at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Wayland, stop and see John Brown’s Bell in nearby Marlborough or set aside a morning to visit the Framingham History Center and its extraordinary collection of restored 19th century buildings.

Linger by the falls at South Natick, where John Eliot and his Praying Indians settled in 1651, then bike up to Natick Center and the Henry Wilson Historic District.

In nearby Sudbury, learn about the time in 1676 when the town came under attack in the last major engagement of King Philip’s War, then trace the path taken a century later by the Minuteman as they marched into history at the outset of the American Revolution.

History lives in MetroWest – Come and make it your own!

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Bowditch Field

Renovated in 2010, the field is located on Union Avenue midway between Downtown and Framingham Center and has been the main athletic facility for the town since being built the Great Depression of the 1930s as a WPA project.

Collings Foundation

137 Barton Road, Stow 01775
978-562-9182

Offers three major living history events annually, utilizing their collection
of 75 vintage automobiles, military vehicles, race cars, aircraft and
the world’s largest collection of WWII tanks.

Tours and events May 1-October 1

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Concord Museum

Cambridge Turnpike at Lexington Road, Concord, MA 01742
978-369-9763

Exploring historic Concord?  A visit to the Concord Museum provides an inspiring gateway to this famous town.  Treasures include the 1775 Revere lantern, Thoreau’s Walden desk and Emerson’s Study.  Enjoy engaging, self-touring history galleries, family-friendly activities, and distinctive special exhibitions.

 

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Davis Museum at Wellesley College

106 Central Street, Wellesley 02481
781-283-2051

The Davis Museum at Wellesley College is home to distinguished permanent collections including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photographs, and decorative objects, from antiquity to the contemporary moment; dynamic temporary exhibitions engage visitors in looking anew at the visual arts.

 

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Day Trips

CIVIL WAR
Edgell Memorial Library/Framingham History Center

Dedicated in 1873 to Civil War soldiers, this Victorian Gothic-style building, anchor of the Framingham Common, houses the Framingham History Center, which displays numerous artifacts and memorabilia illustrating Framingham citizens’ deep and influential involvement both in the abolition movement and the Civil War.

3 Oak Street, Framingham, MA 01701
508/626/9091

Saxonville Mills
One of the major national suppliers of sky-blue Kersey, the heavy wool fabric for the Union Army. In 1865, 80o workers here, using Sudbury River dam power, produced 1.5 million yards of blanket material, army cloth, and wool yarn.

Corner of Concord and Central Streets
Framingham, MA 01701

General Gordon House
General George H. Gordon organized the 2nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry regiment, which became the model for the Union Army, and trained Robert Gould Shaw, who raised and led the first regiment of African American troops, the famous ‘Massachusetts 54th’.

936 Central Street, Framingham, MA 01701
508/626/9091

Charles Russell Train House
This wartime Massachusetts Congressman received a commission from President Lincoln to join George Gordon’s Framingham Regiment as a captain.

125 Edgell Road, Framingham, MA 01701

Plymouth Church
The Framingham Anti-Slavery Society was founded here in 1837 and the church was the site of the first public singing of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, in 1862 (on George Washington’s 130th birthday). Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the lyrics, had family ties to Framingham and spoke at anti-slavery meetings in town.

87 Edgell Road, Framingham, MA 01701
508/875/1364

The John Brown Bell
Taken in 1862 from Harper’s Harper’s Ferry, Virginia—site of John Brown’s 1859 raid—by a Union Army unit from Marlborough. The city has refused to return (or sell) the bell to Harper’s Ferry.

Corner of Main and Bolton Streets, Marlborough, MA
508/485/4763

Henry Wilson’s Cobbler Shop
Henry Wilson, a fervent abolitionist who began life as a shoemaker, served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs throughout the Civil War and as Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant

Corner of West Central (Route 135) and Mill Streets
Natick, MA 01760
508/647/4841

Natick Historical Society Museum
The collection includes memorabilia of distinguished Natick citizens involved in the Civil War, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” and her fellow abolitionist Henry Wilson, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs throughout the War and Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant.

58 Eliot Street, Natick, MA 01760
508/647/4841

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deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum

51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, MA
781-259-8355

Encompassing 30 acres, deCordova is the largest park of its kind in New England. Providing a constantly changing landscape of large-scale, contemporary sculpture and site-specific installations, the Sculpture Park hosts more than 60 works. Inside, the museum features a robust slate of rotating exhibitions.

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Dedham Historical Society

612 High Street, Dedham 02027
781-326-1385

The Dedham Historical Society & Museum showcases Dedham Pottery, historic furniture; silver, portraits, and other decorative arts. The library/archives (available by appointment) include over 10,000 volumes and photographs supporting a local history/genealogical collection. Email: society@dedhamhistorical.org. Museum hours: 12-4pm, Tuesday-Friday; 1-4pm even dated Saturdays.

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Discovery Museums

177 Main Street Acton 01720
978-264-4200

Our unique campus in Acton features two great museums (Children’s Discovery Museum and Science Discovery Museum) with hands-on exhibits that children of all ages can enjoy.

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Framingham History Center

16 Vernon Street, Framingham, MA 01703
508-872-3780

The Old Academy Museum (16 Vernon Street): Looking out on Framingham’s quintessential New England Town Common from its 1836 site, the Old Academy houses a permanent exhibition of four centuries of Framingham’s history as well as 12,000 artifacts, photographs, and documents illustrating this town’s remarkable past..

The Village Hall Banquet Facility (2 Oak Street);  This 1834 former town hall, with a capacity for 180 guests, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is available for weddings and other large gatherings as well as business functions. For rental availability call 508-308-9291.

The Edgell Memorial Library (3 Oak Street), is the town’s first free-standing library and its Civil War memorial.  Visit www.framinghamhistory.org for exhibitions and programs taking place in this architectural gem.

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Franklin Historical Museum

80 West Central Street Franklin, MA 02038

Displays include locally discovered Native American arrowheads and stone implements, antique tools from Franklin’s industrial-age past, and an extensive collection of Civil War artifacts.

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Fruitlands Museum

102 Prospect Hill, Harvard 01451
978-456-3924

Home to a number of historic buildings which house New England history & art, Fruitlands Museum is located on more than 200 acres of meadows and wooded trails overlooking the Nashua River Valley in Harvard, Massachusetts.

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Gatepost Tours

Concord, MA
978-399-8229

A pilgrimage to Concord is an experience in authentic, living history, and Gatepost Tours is the only all-inclusive tour company that can guide you through it all!

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Longfellow’s Wayside Inn

72 Wayside Inn Road, Sudbury, MA 01776
(978) 443-1776

The country’s oldest operating Inn has offered comfort and hospitality to travelers along the Boston Post Road since 1716. Enjoy fine food in one of several dining rooms, stay the weekend in a tastefully appointed bedroom or suite, or simply bring your family for a quiet walk through one of New England’s finest historic sites, including the Grist Mill, which still produces flour, and the famous Mary Martha Chapel, a preferred site for traditional weddings.

View “The “Wayside Inn” video on YouTube.

Check out their Beer Tasting event: Spirits of Boston listed on our “Culinary Tourism” page!

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Marlborough Historical Society

377 Elm Street, Marlborough, MA 01752

The Marlborough Historical Society is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to historic preservation, education, and celebration in Marlborough, Massachusetts.  Free monthly meetings and the city’s historical archives are held in the Peter Rice Homestead and Museum, which is maintained by the Society.  Call or send a message at least two weeks in advance to arrange a tour.