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11 Best Museums in Boston

Boston is a museum-lover’s dream. Where else can you visit the former haunts of the Founding Fathers, feed penguins, and see the works of French impressionist painters all in one day? So, whether you want to follow in the footsteps of revolutionaries or check out the site of the largest art heist in history, here are 11 must-see museums in Boston.

If you can’t get enough U.S. history:

Naval ship USS Constitution in Boston
Old Ironsides is alive and kicking—er, floating. Photo © Suse Schulz/Dreamstime.

Paul Revere House

Away from bustling Hanover Street, the gray wood Paul Revere House (19 North Square, 617-523-2338; seasonal hours, $5 adults, $4.50 students/seniors, $1 children) on a quiet cobblestone square was the home of midnight rider Paul Revere at the time of the American Revolution. The home, built around 1680, is the oldest building in downtown Boston. The Revere family lived in the building from 1770 to 1800; the building’s chimney was an addition made during their occupancy. It became one of the first historic home museums when it opened its doors to the public in 1908. Today, exhibits cover the Midnight Ride and Revere’s work both before and after the Revolution.

Old South Meeting House

The Old South Meeting House, (310 Washington St., 617-482-6439; daily 9:30am-5pm, $6 adults, $5 seniors/students, $1 children) which originated as a Congregational church at Milk and Washington Streets downtown, is where church and state mixed. Angry colonists met outside the building in December of 1773 to protest unpopular taxes thrust upon them by Britain. The protests grew into the Boston Tea Party. Today it’s a museum and still attracts politicians like Hillary Clinton who wish to speak about hot-button issues amid a historical backdrop.

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

No taxation without representation! Maybe it’s the historical reenactments and full-sized replica of an 18th-century ship, or maybe it’s the fact that you get to cathartically dump barrels of tea into Boston Harbor—the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum (306 Congress St., 617-338-1773; daily 10am-5pm, $28 adults, $25 seniors/ students, $18 children) feels like a true taste of revolutionary America. It offers an immersive take on the events leading up to the Boston Tea Party with engaging actors playing parts of those involved, and even houses one of the surviving tea chests from the actual day. Take time after for tea and refreshments in the tea room, which includes samples of the most popular kinds at the time of the Boston Tea Party.

USS Constitution Museum

The USS Constitution launched in 1797 as one of the original six ships commissioned for the then-infant United States Navy. The ship won over the hearts of the American people after defeating five British warships and repelling countless enemy shells during a battle in the War of 1812. Spared from scrapping due to her everlasting popularity, she is now the oldest commissioned vessel in the world. You can see her at the USS Constitution Museum (Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, 617-426-1812; April-October daily 9am-6pm, November-March daily 10am-5pm, suggested donation $5-10 adults, $3-5 children), where, after a three-year restoration, the Constitution is back on water and ready for visitors. The onsite museum offers an interactive exhibit showing what life at sea entailed during the ship’s famous fights, while other exhibits detail the ship’s history and life in early America.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

John F. Kennedy and his family have been viewed as the closest thing to an American royal family, and nowhere is it more apparent than Boston. While the Kennedy brand isn’t a major political machine anymore, Camelot roars on at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester (Columbia Point, Boston, 617-514-1600; daily 9am-5pm, $14 adults, $12 students/seniors, $10 children). Designed by star architect I. M. Pei, the Columbia Point complex was built after Cambridge residents opposed the project opening in Harvard Square due to the projected heavy volume of tourists. Seven permanent exhibits walk visitors through the Kennedy years at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There isn’t much nearby the museum, but it’s worth the detour.

If you’re with the whole family:

the outside of the museum of science building in Boston
The Museum of Science is fun for the whole family. Photo © Chicco7/Dreamstime.

Museum of Science

Located in Science Park in Boston’s West End and home to 700 exhibits, the Museum of Science (1 Science Park, 617-723-2500; daily 9am-5pm, $25 adults, $21 seniors, $20 children) draws schoolchildren from across the region to its planetarium while nighttime events like the “Beyoncé Experience” draw a decidedly more adult crowd to the same venue. Also an accredited zoo, the museum is home to over 100 animals—many of them rescued from precarious living situations. Currently undergoing an extensive renovation and expansion, the museum was the recipient of a $50 million donation by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2016, the largest gift in the history of the museum.

New England Aquarium

Whether it’s a brutally cold New England day or the peak of summer, it’s never a bad time to visit the New England Aquarium (1 Central Wharf, 617-973-5200; Mon.-Fri. 9am-5pm, Sat.-Sun. 9am-6pm, $27.95 adults, $25.95 seniors, $18.95 children). Over a million visitors stream in each year to see the four-story Giant Ocean Tank, which once held the crown as the largest circular ocean tank in the world. A replica of a Caribbean coral reef and hundreds of fish populate the tank and will be sure to pique interests of all ages, though those under the age of 12 seem to be the most prevalent!

An onsite IMAX theatre features a variety of ocean-themed films and gives the most lifelike experience short of walking outside and jumping into Boston Harbor. Be sure to save time for sea lion and penguin feedings. Longer visits should also include a whale-watching cruise, which sails from neighboring Long Wharf to the Stellwagen Bank marine sanctuary.

Boston Children’s Museum

Find Arthur the aardvark waving from a rooftop along Fort Point Channel, and you’ll have reached the Boston Children’s Museum (308 Congress St., 617-426-6500; Sat.-Thurs. 10am-5pm, Fri. 10am-9pm, $16 all ages, children under 1 free). This facility for the young and young-at-heart is the second oldest of its kind in the United States. From learning the inner workings of heavy construction to interactive exhibits like the bubble room and a real two-story town house from Kyoto, Boston’s sister city, the museum is a fine place to spend an afternoon indoors. Visit on Friday evenings after 5pm for Target Friday Nights and enjoy $1 admission.

Harvard Museum of Natural History

Harvard’s natural history museum (26 Oxford St., Cambridge, 617-495-3045; daily 9am-5pm, $12 adults, $10 seniors and non-Harvard students, $8 children) features permanent galleries with dinosaur fossils and other species as well as a variety of touring exhibits. The museum is extremely popular for its Glass Flowers exhibit: Over the span of fifty years, a father-son team from Dresden created 4,200 glass flower models representing more than 830 plant species. This and fifteen additional galleries offer a truly one-of-a-kind museum adventure.

If you’re an art aficionado:

inside look at the museum of fine art in boston
From Monet to Murakami, the Museum of Fine Arts has a canvas for every artistic interest. Photo © Wenling01/Dreamstime.

Museum of Fine Arts

Home to a permanent collection featuring the likes of Renoir and Van Gogh, the Museum of Fine Arts (465 Huntington Ave., 617-267-9300; Mon.-Tues. 10am-5pm, Wed.-Fri. 10am-10pm, Sat.-Sun. 10am-5pm, $25 adults, $23 students, $10 children) is one of the world’s top museums. Over a million visitors pass through the neoclassical space each year to see contemporary, Egyptian, and Asian art—to name a few. The contemporary wing houses works that push the envelope just enough in this famously provincial city. The Art of the Americas wing is accented by a glass-enclosed courtyard featuring the museum’s New American Café—one of four onsite dining options. Plan to visit on a nicer day, as the Japanese gardens are serene spots to reflect on the MFA’s masterpieces.

Admission after 4pm on Wednesdays is free, and your ticket gets you $2 off at the nearby Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum within two days of your visit.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

One would be hard-pressed to find a greater story and character than the late Isabella Stewart Gardner and her eponymous museum (25 Evans Way, 617-566-1401; Mon. 11am-5pm, closed Tues., Wed. 11am-5pm, Thurs. 11am-9pm, Fri.-Sun. 11am-5pm). Housing art collected by the socialite and her husband from their 19th-century travels around the world, the Gardner Museum was built to look like a Venetian palace. Its three floors of galleries and lush courtyard have become Boston’s nod to idiosyncrasy, as none of the collection can be rearranged or added to—or else everything (including the building) goes to Harvard, per Mrs. Gardner’s will.

Home to the empty gold frames from the largest art heist in history, the gallery also houses works by John Singer Sargent, Titian, and Rembrandt. Because of Mrs. Gardner’s affinity for the Red Sox, anyone wearing team memorabilia will get a discount on admission. Those named Isabella or visiting on their birthday get in for free!


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Pittsburgh Museums for Every Type of Traveler

Thanks to endowments from pioneering industrialists of the past and the ingenuity of local artists today, Pittsburgh museums cater to every kind of visitor. Whether you’re seeking boundary-pushing art, interactive science exhibits, or a slice of Pennsylvania history, here are 9 museums to keep you busy on your next trip to the ‘Burgh.

view of the frick center's exterior framed by trees
The Frick Art and Historical Center. Photo © Emily King.

For those who appreciate the finer things:

Frick Art and Historical Center

Visiting the Frick Art and Historical Center (7227 Reynolds St., 412-371-0600; Tues.-Sun. 10am-5pm; center, museums, and greenhouse free; Clayton guided tours $12 adult, $10 student and senior, $6 child; reservations recommended) is like stepping back in time to the Victorian age. Set on the estate grounds and mansion of the late industrialist, Henry Clay Frick, the house has been transformed into a museum to display the Frick family’s impressive art collection. Collections include Renaissance art, Baroque sculptures, decorative arts, Chinese porcelain, photographs, costumes, and more. Don’t forget to visit the Car and Carriage Museum on the grounds as well.

Carnegie Museum of Art

When Andrew Carnegie conceived of Carnegie Museum of Art (4400 Forbes Ave., 412-622-3131; 10am-5pm Tues.-Wed. and Fri.-Sat., 10am-8pm Thurs., noon-5pm Sun.; $20 adults, $15 seniors, $12 students and children 3-18) in the 1880s, he envisioned a collection of “the Old Masters of tomorrow.” The city’s premiere and largest modern art museum also houses a notable collection of post-Impressionist paintings, European and American decorative arts, and late-19th-century American art. The Hall of Sculpture features Greek and Roman reproductions. Check the website for visiting exhibitions from around the world. Your admission also gets you into the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, in the same building.

For kids (and the young-at-heart):

ketchup bottle art installation in the Heinz Center
Senator John Heinz History Center. Photo © Rachellynn Schoen, courtesy of Visit Pittsburgh.

Carnegie Science Center and Highmark Sportsworks

Filled with kid-friendly and hands-on exhibits, the Carnegie Science Center (1 Allegheny Ave., 412-237-3400; 10am-5pm daily; $20 adults, $15 seniors, $12 children) features several floors of permanent and visiting exhibitions that intend to spark curiosity, allowing visitors to conduct experiments and figure out how things work—everything from the human body to giant robots. Admission includes entrance to the attached Highmark SportsWorks, a fun activity-based complex designed to let visitors explore the physics behind sports. There are nearly 30 different interactive experiences, where visitors can race a virtual Olympic sprinter, climb a 25-foot 117 rock wall, or attempt to pitch a fastball.

Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

With part of the building located in a disused U.S. Post Office and part in the former Buhl Planetarium, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh (10 Children’s Way, Allegheny Square, 412-322-5058; 10am-5pm daily; $16 adults, $14 seniors and children, children under 2 free) holds 12 permanent exhibits, including puppets from the television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood; the Makeshop, a DIY maker space where kids and families can explore woodworking, circuitry, and sewing; and the fantastic Waterplay exhibit, where children can pump, move, channel, and dam various flows of water. (Bring bathing suits for this one!) Kids love to explore The Attic and The Garage, where everyday activities and objects become learning experiences.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History (4400 Forbes Ave., 412-622-3131; 10am-5pm Tues.-Wed. and Fri.-Sat., 10am-8pm Thurs., noon-5pm Sun.; $20 adults, $15 seniors, $12 students and children 3-18) is ranked as one of the top five of its kind in the United States. Visitors come to check out the world’s largest collection of Jurassic-era dinosaur bones and the world’s first specimen of a T. rex. In the jaw-dropping Hall of Minerals and Gems, a dimly lit gallery, spotlights bounce off of sparkling jewels in glass cases. Don’t miss the Fluorescence and Phosphorescence Room, an amazing exhibit lit only by the natural glow of these fascinating minerals. Other major exhibits include Polar World, which houses a life-size igloo, and the Hall of Ancient Egypt, where you can see a real mummy and its sarcophagus. Your admission also gets you into the adjoining Carnegie Museum of Art.

Senator John Heinz History Center

The Senator John Heinz History Center (1212 Smallman St., 412-454-6000; 10am-5pm daily; $16 adults, $14 seniors, $6.50 students and children 6-17, children 5 and under free) is Pennsylvania’s largest history museum and a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. The museum does a great job of bringing Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania history to life and bringing it into a context that’s relevant and engaging for its visitors, especially children. On the museum’s third floor is Discovery Place, a hands-on historical exhibit specifically designed for younger guests. Kids also love sitting in the driver’s seat of the restored 1949 streetcar trolley, which is in the ground floor’s Great Hall, where you’ll find Kidsburgh, a small play area built above Reymer’s Old-Fashioned Deli. Admission to the center includes entrance to the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum (on the 2nd and 3rd floors), a must-see for any black-and-gold sports buff.

For seekers of the wonderfully wacky:

art display of mannequins reflected in mirrors
A look inside the Mattress Factory art museum. Photo courtesy of Visit Pittsburgh.

Andy Warhol Museum

As the country’s largest museum dedicated to a single artist, the Andy Warhol Museum (117 Sandusky St., 412-237-8300; 10am-5pm Tues.-Thurs. and Sat.-Sun., 10am-10pm Fri.; $20 adults, $10 seniors, students, and children, free for children 2 and under) is a particularly unique feather in Pittsburgh’s cap. To explore the building properly, start on the top floor, where temporary exhibitions are generally held. As you work your way down, you’ll encounter pieces both obscure (Jesus punching bags, oxidation paintings made of urine) and familiar (Campbell’s soup cans, Brillo boxes). Don’t miss Silver Clouds, a room where metallic balloons float freely. A theater that regularly screens films by and about Warhol and his entourage is on the ground level. The basement holds a café and the city’s only vintage photo booth. An archival collection housing thousands of pieces of Warhol’s personal ephemera is also onsite.

The Center for Postnatural History

There’s history, and then there’s postnatural history. If you have an appreciation for the weird and freaky, The Center for PostNatural History (4913 Penn Ave., Garfield, 412-223-7698; noon-4pm Sun. or by appointment; free, donations accepted) is a must-visit. Postnatural history is the study of the origins, habitats, and evolution of organisms that have been intentionally altered by humans. Meaning: Humans have messed with nature, and the results are fascinating. Past exhibits have included a collection of photos of lab rats, a genetically modified mosquito, and a BioSteel goat (I dare you to find out what that is).

Mattress Factory

The oddly named Mattress Factory (500 Sampsonia Way, 412-231-3169; 10am-5pm Tues.-Sat., 1pm-5pm Sun.; $20 adults, $15 seniors and students, children under 6 free) is one of Pittsburgh’s longest standing contemporary art museums—as well as one of the coolest and quirkiest. The museum supports emerging artists and features room-sized installation art that is unconventional and unexpected, almost always resulting in thought-provoking exhibitions. The museum has 17 permanent continuous installations. Some of the most stunning of these are James Turrell’s odd and unsettling works of neon and light. Don’t miss Pleiades, an entirely dark room where a presence of light may or may not appear. Another can’t-miss is Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Dots Mirrored Room; entering it may just change your perspective on reality itself. On Tuesdays, admission is half price.


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Visiting Lancaster County’s Amish Attractions

Lancaster County, the most popular destination in Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country, has the largest concentration of Amish in the world. Their use of horse-drawn buggies, adherence to strict dress codes, and rejection of technologies including television and computers inspires curiosity and awe in the many visitors to the region.

Those unfamiliar with the term Pennsylvania Dutch may wonder what the state has to do with the Netherlands. The answer: nothing. “Dutch,” in this case, is a corruption of the word Deutsch, the German word for “German.” Many German-speaking Europeans immigrated to Pennsylvania in the 18th century. They, their descendants, and their English-influenced dialect came to be called Pennsylvania German, or Pennsylvania Dutch. A common misconception is that “Pennsylvania Dutch” is synonymous with “Amish.” In fact, the Amish made up a small percentage of the settlers. But the Amish and a handful of related “plain” groups have emerged as the guardians of the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect.

Note: While Amish Country may feel made for Instagram, resist the urge to snap a picture, as the Amish take offense at being photographed.

horses plowing farmland in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Farmland in Lancaster County. Photo © Justin Blasi.

Plain & Fancy Farm

In 1958, a few years after Plain and Fancy hit the Broadway stage, a man named Walter Smith built an Amish-style house and barn along Route 340, midway between the villages of Bird-in-Hand and Intercourse, with the intent of giving house tours and holding barn dances. Shrewdly, he named the property after the Broadway musical that had ignited so much interest in Amish Country. Half a century later, Plain & Fancy Farm (3121 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand) offers everything a tourist could want: food, lodging, souvenirs, and an excellent orientation to the Amish way of life.

Begin your orientation at the Amish Experience Theater (717/768-8400, ext. 210, daily Apr.-Oct. and select days Nov.-Mar., shows on the hour 10am-5pm, adults $13, children 4-12 $9). Designed to look like a barn, the theater features five screens, a fog machine, and other bells and whistles that produce three-dimensional effects. Jacob’s Choice, the film for which the theater was built, packs some 400 years of history into 40 minutes. It’s the contemporary story of an Old Order Amish family and the teenage son torn between joining the church and leaving the fold for a modern life. As the title character learns about the persecution his religious ancestors faced in Europe and their journey to the New World, so does the audience. Filmed locally in 1995, Jacob’s Choice doesn’t dwell on the blood and gore, but some loud noises and a burning-at-the-stake scene could rattle children.

The Amish-style house Mr. Smith built back in 1958 is still open for tours. Tickets can be purchased at the Amish Experience Theater box office. Now known as the Amish Country Homestead (daily Apr.-Oct. and select days Nov.-Mar., adults $13, children 4-12 $9), the nine-room house is continually updated to reflect changes in the Amish lifestyle. (Contrary to popular belief, the Amish don’t live just as they did centuries ago.) Guides explain such head-scratchers as why the Amish eschew electricity but use refrigerators and other appliances powered by propane gas. The tour takes about 45 minutes. Combo tickets for the theater and house tour are available.

Several minibus tours depart from the theater. The most popular is the Amish Farmlands Tour (daily Apr.-Oct. and select days Nov.-Mar., adults $30, children 12 and under $17), a 90-minute cruise through the surrounding countryside. Guides are well versed in the Amish way of life. A “SuperSaver Package” is available for those who wish to experience Jacob’s Choice, the house tour, and the Farmlands Tour.

Other tours include the evening Visit-in-Person Tour (Mon.-Sat. Apr.-Oct., Sat. Nov., adults $60, children 6-16 $40), which gives visitors the opportunity to interact with Amish locals at a dairy farm during milking time, a place of business (such as a canning kitchen or wooden toy shop), and an Amish home. The three-hour excursion often sells out, so it’s a good idea to purchase tickets in advance.

If you’re short on time or traveling with antsy kids, a buggy ride is a better option than a bus tour. Aaron and Jessica’s Buggy Rides (717/768-8828, 9am-6pm daily Apr.-Oct., 9am-4:30pm daily Nov.-Mar., adults from $10, children 3-12 from $6) depart from Plain & Fancy Farm on a regular basis. Trips range from 20 minutes to an hour. Aaron and Jessica’s—named for owner Jack Meyer’s oldest daughter and her first horse—bills itself as Lancaster County’s only buggy tour operator staffed entirely by “plain” people (except on Sundays, which they set aside for worship).

Plain & Fancy Farm’s other attraction is its restaurant, Smokehouse BBQ & Brews (3121 Old Philadelphia Pike, Bird-in-Hand, 717/768-4400, 11:30am-close daily, $9-17), famous for its family-style meals. The on-site AmishView Inn & Suites (3125 Old Philadelphia Pike, 866/735-1600, $150-220) makes Plain & Fancy Farm a 24-hour attraction.

The Amish Farm and House

The easiest way to find the Amish Farm and House (2395 Covered Bridge Dr., Lancaster, 717/394-6185, hours vary but generally 9am-5pm or 6pm daily Apr.-Oct., 10am-4pm Nov.-Mar., adults $9.50, seniors $8.50, children 5-11 $6.50) is to look for its neighbor, a Target. The store opened in 2005 on property carved from the hundreds-year-old farm, and its bull’s-eye logo is easier to spot than the barn, silo, and windmill that once dominated the skyline.

Opened to the public in July 1955, the Amish Farm and House bills itself as the first tourist attraction in Lancaster County and the first Amish attraction in the United States. The operating farm has since shrunk from 25 acres to 15, but there’s more to see than ever. Start with a guided tour of the farmhouse, included in general admission. Built in 1805 of limestone quarried on the property, the house has counted Quakers, Mennonites, and Amish as residents. The front room features wooden benches arranged in preparation for a church service, opening the door for a discussion of why the Amish worship in their homes and other aspects of their religion. Their manner of dress is explained in the bedrooms. After the 45-minute tour, explore the farm at your own pace. Children love the chicken house and the barn with its cows, horses, and pigs. The farm also has an original tobacco shed, one of the few remaining limekilns in Lancaster County, a working waterwheel, a circa 1855 covered bridge, and a one-room Amish schoolhouse built specifically for tourists in 2006.

The Amish Farm and House offers 90-minute Countryside Tours (adults $22, seniors $21, children 5-11 $15, children 4 and under $5) year-round. Reservations are recommended, especially in the warmer months. The minibus tours usually stop at an Amish roadside stand or two (except on Sundays, when the Amish don’t conduct business). Combo tickets for the house, farm, and bus tour are available.

Mennonite Information Center

Don’t be put off by its name. You will learn about the Amish at the Mennonite Information Center (2209 Millstream Rd., Lancaster, 717/299-0954, 9am-5pm Mon.-Sat. Apr.-Oct., 9am-4pm Mon.-Sat. Nov.-Mar.), located next to Tanger Outlets. Start by watching the three-screen feature Who Are the Amish? (on the hour 9am-4pm Apr.-Oct., 9am-3pm Nov.-Mar., adults $6, children 6-16 $4). The images are beautiful and the narration interesting, but at 30 minutes long the movie won’t necessarily hold the attention of young children. Also showing: We Believe, which elucidates the similarities and differences between the Amish and Mennonites, both of whom trace their roots to the Anabaptist movement in 16th-century Europe. There’s no charge to see the 17-minute film, shown on the half hour. Admission to the center’s exhibits on Anabaptist life is also free.

What sets the Mennonite Information Center apart are its personal tours (vehicle with 1-7 people $53 for 2 hours, $17 each additional hour) of Amish Country. For about the cost of two seats on other countryside tours, a guide will hop in your vehicle and point the way to Amish farms, one-room schoolhouses, quilt shops, covered bridges, and more. All guides have a Mennonite or Amish heritage. Call ahead to arrange for a tour at a specific time or just show up and request one. The wait for a guide is rarely longer than 30 minutes. Another great service from the Mennonite Information Center is its list of Mennonite guest homes, available on its website and in pamphlet form at the center.

The center is home to a life-size reproduction of the portable place of worship described in the biblical book of Exodus. A wax figure of the high priest sports a breastplate of gold and precious stones. The Biblical Tabernacle Reproduction (adults $8.50, children 6-16 $6) can only be seen via a 45-minute guided tour, offered at regular intervals year-round. The reproduction has no real connection to Lancaster County’s Anabaptist communities. It was constructed in the 1940s by a Baptist minister in St. Petersburg, Florida, purchased by Mennonites in the 1950s, and installed in its current home in the 1970s.

Next door to the center is the headquarters of the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society (2215 Millstream Rd., 717/393-9745, 8:30am-4:30pm Tues.-Sat.), which has a fantastic bookstore. Its museum ($5) showcases Pennsylvania German artifacts.


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New Mexico’s Native American Cultural Sights

The Native American cultures that developed before the Spanish conquest in the 16th century are visible in the pueblos (both ruined and inhabited) and in excellent museums that hold some of the region’s finest works. Even if you’re visiting only one city on your trip to New Mexico, there’s a lot of Native history to see in and around each place—but definitely try to schedule a visit around a dance ceremony, as this will give you the most memorable impression of the living culture.

If you’re serious about buying art and jewelry, you could time your visit with the Santa Fe Indian Market in August, which showcases more than 1,200 Native American artisans. Otherwise, visit the gift shops at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe or the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque to get an idea of prices and quality; you can also buy directly from craftspeople at the pueblos.

opening of a cave in a rock wall in New Mexico
Cave dwelling in Bandelier National Monument. Photo © Dean_Fikar/iStock.

Santa Fe

On Museum Hill, visit the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian and the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, two fascinating exhibitions of arts and crafts. Then see what current work is on display at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, perhaps picking up some craftwork at the gift shop or from the vendors at the Palace of the Governors. Even Hotel Santa Fe, co-owned by Picurís Pueblo, showcases tribal art.

The pueblos north of the city offer more in the way of casinos than they do in traditional sightseeing, but the Poeh Museum at Pojoaque is worth a stop, and collectors will want to make the drive to San Ildefonso Pueblo for its stunning black-on-black pottery. Finally, visit the Puyé Cliff Dwellings or Bandelier National Monument to see the homes inhabited by the ancestors of today’s Pueblo people.

puebloan structures sit among the mountains and landscape of Taos
Taos Pueblo is one of the most beautiful sights in New Mexico. Photo © Steven Horak.

Taos

Head straight to Taos Pueblo—one of the most beautiful spots in the state, the organic adobe structures seemingly untouched by time (only seemingly—in fact, they get a fresh coat of mud nearly every year). Have a meal at Tiwa Kitchen, or at least sample the fry bread and chokecherry syrup. Don’t miss the excellent weaving and pottery collections at the Millicent Rogers Museum.

Albuquerque

Start with a visit to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, with its excellent museum and café. Then head to the edge of town: to the West Mesa, where Petroglyph National Monument has trails past hundreds of ancient rock carvings, and to Bernalillo, north of the city, where you can climb down into a ceremonial kiva at Coronado State Monument.

Mesa-top Acoma Pueblo is well worth the drive west of the city—along with Taos Pueblo, it’s the most scenic (and oldest) in New Mexico. You can break up the trip with a stop at Laguna Pueblo to see its mission church. South and east through the Manzano Mountains are the Salinas Pueblo Missions, ruined villages that didn’t survive the Spanish conquest. North of the city, the Jemez Mountain Trail runs through Jemez Pueblo—the red-rock scenery is beautiful, and don’t miss the fry bread from the vendors set up in front of the Walatowa Visitor Center.

Rest up from your road trips at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya resort, owned by Santa Ana Pueblo.

native american pueblo in abuquerque new mexico
The Acoma Pueblo is the oldest pueblo in New Mexico. Photo © Steven Horak.

New Mexico’s Cultural Mix

New Mexicans have particular ways of identifying themselves and the elements of the state’s unique cultural mix. The people who have lived in the highlands and along the Rio Grande for millennia usually refer to themselves as “Indians,” or “American Indians” in formal situations; or they will call themselves by their pueblo’s specific name—Jemez or Santa Clara, for instance. The term “Native American” appears occasionally, but many New Mexican Indians see it as just another inaccurate label.

Those who trace their roots to the conquistadors call themselves “Spanish” or “Hispano.” The latter is not to be confused with “Hispanic,” which refers to Spanish speakers regardless of background. “Hispano” is also distinct from “Mexican” and “Latino.”

The third category is the catchall term “Anglo,” which really just means “none of the above”—whether you’re white, Asian, or even African American, you could be considered Anglo, a relative latecomer to the state of New Mexico.


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Things to Do in a Day at Balboa Park

There’s more to see and do at Balboa Park than can comfortably be accomplished in one day, even if the famous San Diego Zoo isn’t on your list. If you’re only going to make one pass through the treasured cultural center of San Diego, here’s how to prioritize your visit with kids and without.

Balboa Park in San Diego
Balboa Park in San Diego. Photo © F11Photo/Dreamstime.
  • San Diego Museum of Art. It doesn’t have the most outstanding collection of paintings, but it’s always reliable for enchanting visual moments, and the visiting exhibitions tend to be quite good.
  • San Diego Museum of Man. It can be thought of as a museum of anthropology, topped by a tower with a panoramic view.
  • Mingei International Museum. This museum doesn’t get enough credit for bringing in unusual exhibits involving artisanal handiwork. Some objects are baffling in the sense that you can’t believe it came out of someone’s imagination; others baffle for different reasons altogether.
  • Botanical Building. The flora inside is as lovely as the building, and while you may not remember their Latin names, some flowers may create a lasting image.
  • San Diego Air and Space Museum. A stealth bomber is on display in front; inside there is much more.
front entrance of San Diego Air & Space museum
A life-size stealth bomber replica sits in front of the Air & Space Museum. Photo © Ian Anderson.

Balboa Park Sights for Kids

Children may get bored if you try to fill a whole day with museums. Bring them to these Balboa Park sights and they’ll have fun despite themselves.

  • Fleet Science Center. Blow everybody’s mind with hundreds of learning stations that trick you with optical illusions or turn common sense on its ear.
  • Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre. If there’s not a puppet theater in your town, expose your child to this sort of culture with the theater’s puppet shows, sometimes involving very large puppets.
  • San Diego Natural History Museum. Frankly, some parts of this museum on the natural history of San Diego are kind of ho hum, but there’s a mastodon skeleton, a 3-D theater, and some pretty engaging temporary exhibits.
  • San Diego Model Railroad Museum. Children love miniatures and trains, and this exhibit is huge and remarkably well detailed.
  • San Diego Air & Space Museum. On this point, kids and parents may agree: Everybody’s going to have fun here.
map of Balboa Park
Balboa Park

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Montréal Walking Tour: Centre-Ville Museums & Architecture

In busy downtown Montréal, there’s tons to see, shop, and snack on. This self-guided walking tour ends at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, which is closed on Monday but generally open 10am-5pm; it also heads along Ste-Catherine, a shopping strip—if you anticipate wanting to stop in at H&M or the Apple Store, you may want to allow yourself a little more time. Start the walk at avenue McGill College and rue Maisonneuve W.

Total Distance: 5 kilometers (3.1 miles)
Walking Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

front of the Redpath Museum in Montreal's Centre-ville neighborhood
The Redpath Museum, located on the McGill campus, is one of the only museums in the city open on Mondays. Photo © Will Keats-Osborn.

McGill and the Golden Square Mile

Walk north on the east side of the street. About halfway up the block, look to your right: This sculpture that almost looks like it’s made of butter is called The Illuminated Crowd, by Raymond Mason, which symbolizes the fragility of the human condition. Two blocks north, you’ll reach the gates to McGill University, Montréal’s oldest English-language university. Head through the gates and explore the campus by walking up toward the Redpath Museum of Natural History. At the top of the path, you’ll see one of McGill’s oldest structures, the Arts Building: The urn out front used to contain James McGill’s ashes. Turn left and head west in front of the Redpath Museum; walk until you reach rue McTavish. Take a right, then a left onto avenue du Docteur-Penfield.

This street forms the northern edge of the Golden Square Mile, home to the early houses of wealthy Montréal merchants. Walk five blocks west and take a right onto avenue du Musée: Immediately on your right is the former home of Colonel Herbert Molson, who owned Molson brewery; it is now the Russian consulate. Head south one block, turn left onto rue Sherbrooke, and continue for almost two blocks. Enter the Ritz-Carlton’s Palm Lobby and have a snack or a drink at the Dom Perignon bar. When you’re ready, reemerge onto Sherbrooke and head east four blocks to rue Peel.

Take a right at rue Peel and walk two and a half blocks to Dorchester Square, a bustling little spot of greenery featuring four stone monuments. Head to the kitty-corner of the park—boulevard René-Lévesque W. and rue Metcalfe—and look southwest.

outside of the Cathedrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde in Montreal
Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde, pictured here between the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel and the 1000 rue de la Gauchetere building. Photo © Will Keats-Osborn.

Art, Chocolate, and Religious Heritage

Across the street, you’ll see the gorgeous Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde. Take a few external pictures or head inside to check it out. Next, walk back through Dorchester Square, retracing your steps until you reach rue Peel and rue Ste-Catherine W. Turn left.

In almost eight blocks (you may want to stop for some shopping), you’ll reach Juliette et Chocolat—a great place to take a break and enjoy a brownie, a hot chocolate, or a crêpe. Exit and head west to rue St-Mathieu; take a left and head south one long block to boulevard René-Lévesque W.

Cross the street so you’re on the southern sidewalk of boulevard René-Lévesque W. and head one block west until you reach a strange park overlooking the highway: This is the unconventional sculpture garden of the Centre Canadien d’Architecture, designed by Melvin Charney. Charney was a professor and artist whose claims to fame include curating street art to be shown during the 1976 Olympics in Montréal.

Head back to the northeast corner of the park and cross the street onto rue St-Marc. Head six blocks north and then take a right onto rue Sherbrooke W. Head east about five blocks, until you reach Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, a large art museum home to a solid permanent collection as well as impressive traveling exhibitions.


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Key Sites Along Bermuda’s African Diaspora Trail

Bermuda’s black heritage and the 200-year legacy of slavery on the island are remembered through a chain of monuments and museums. The African Diaspora Trail belongs to an international group of heritage sites by the same name, all officially designated UNESCO Slave Route Projects. There are a dozen points of interest on the island, each marked by a bronze plaque. Six of these are located in St. George’s. If you dedicate a full day, you could begin at the National Museum of Bermuda at Dockyard in Sandys, then take the fast ferry to St. George’s and bus or scooter back through the central parishes. Some of the key sights and points of interest along the trail

The Bermudian Heritage Museum once belonged to the Grand United Order of Good Samaritans, which aided newly freed blacks before and after their emancipation in 1834. Photo © Rosemary Jones.
The Bermudian Heritage Museum once belonged to the Grand United Order of Good Samaritans, which aided newly freed blacks before and after their emancipation in 1834. Photo © Rosemary Jones.

The West End’s Commissioner’s House, at the National Museum of Bermuda, contains exhibits and compelling artifacts detailing the island’s part in the transatlantic slave trade, as well as slavery in Bermuda. Ships carrying enslaved people often smashed on Bermuda’s reefs, leaving artifacts such as iron manacles, glass beads, and cowry shells belonging to the human cargo. Many Bermuda families can trace their roots to enslaved people who worked as farmers, ship pilots, whalers, or carpenters on the island before slavery was abolished in 1834.

Warwick Parish’s Cobb’s Hill Methodist Church was built by enslaved and free blacks, who often toiled “by moonlight” in the after-hours allowed by their masters. A Chief Justice permitted a piece of land to be released for the project, and the church was finished in 1827. Today, it is located on Moonlight Lane, and its congregation includes descendants of those who labored to build it.

Barr’s Bay Park, on the City of Hamilton waterfront, is included on the trail, as it was the place where an American schooner named the Enterprise landed in 1835. Sent off course by a storm, the ship was carrying a cargo of 78 enslaved people—an illegal activity in Bermuda a year after abolition. Local officials refused to clear the vessel, and members of a Bermuda Friendly Society took the captain to court. The enslaved people eventually were allowed to choose whether to stay in Bermuda or return to the United States. All but one woman and her five children opted to remain on the island; the descendants of those 72 people can still be found in Bermuda.

A Bermuda National Trust property (although not open to the public), Verdmont Cottage, alongside the historic house in Smith’s Parish, was once a slave quarters. Slaves would have helped build the main house, living in the outroom and buttery. Later, they worked as laborers or domestic help. Verdmont Cottage was the property’s original kitchen, and archaeologists believe it also served as slave quarters.

Site of a dedicated graveyard for enslaved people, St. Peter’s Church in the Town of St. George hosts a special ceremony each Emancipation Day (late July or early Aug.) to remember Bermuda’s enslaved. Inside the church, a gallery on the western end was built in the early 1700s to allow free and enslaved blacks to attend services in the segregated society. The graveyard is located outside the gallery, separated from the main gravesite of many of the early town’s white citizens. An interesting artifact in the church is a baptismal register for 1834, in which a line drawn at the month of August indicates when blacks no longer had to be entered as “slave” or “free.”

Opened in 1994, the Bermudian Heritage Museum in the Town of St. George celebrates achievements of black Bermudians, including personalities in music and sports, the gombey tradition, and members of Friendly Society lodges who helped blacks adjust to life after emancipation.

For more information on the African Diaspora Trail, contact the Department of Cultural Affairs (tel. 441/292-9447), or Bermuda’s Visitor Information Centres throughout the island.


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Boruca Masks and the Little Devils Festival

A pair of colorful and intricately carved Boruca masks with large teeth and devilish features.
Boruca masks are carved out of balsa or cedar. Photo © Andrés Madrigal/Costa Rica Traveler.

Every year, the Boruca people in south-central Costa Rica enact a centuries-old ritual representing the clash between their indigenous ancestors and the invading Spaniards. During the Balle de los Diablitos, the diablitos (little devils) are dressed in elaborate hand-carved and painted balsa wood masks that often have extensions of jute and banana leaves that cover the reveler’s body. The devils do mock battle with the toro (bull), which represents the invading conquistadors.

The festival begins the night of December 30, with village church bells ringing out the old year. Drummers and flautists accompany the dancers, and the action heats up as participants and onlookers imbibe more and more chicha (fermented corn liquor). The days-long dance traces the evolving interaction between the bull and the diablitos. First the diablitos taunt the bull, but the bull gains ground and eventually “kills” the little devils. But the devils rise from the dead and throw the bull (represented by his costume) into a roaring fire. The fiesta culminates as the devils leap across the flames in celebration of their enemy’s demise.

Masked Dance of the Little Devils festival of the indgenous Boruca of Costa Rica.
The Dance of the Little Devils. Photo © Andrés Madrigal/Costa Rica Traveler.

This is one of the rare examples of living indigenous heritage in Costa Rica, though visitors to the festival give mixed reports: some say it was the highlight of their trip; others feel the community is not particularly welcoming. If you go, be respectful, and ask before you take photos.

The small town where this all happens is called Rey Curre, near a town called Boruca located within the Boruca Indegenous Reserve. It’s on the Inter-American Highway about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Buenos Aires and about 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of San Isidro de El General. Visitors can purchase authentic Boruca masks from indigenous artists year-round within the Boruca Indigenous Reserve, or in art galleries around the country.


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What to See in Fredericton, New Brunswick

Fredericton is New Brunswick’s legislative, cultural, and educational center, and it’s one of the country’s oldest settlements. The city is the exception to the usual rule of thumb that a province’s busiest and largest city is the logical choice for the capital. Fredericton is hardly a metropolis. Rather, it’s of modest size, elegant, picture-book pretty, and very Anglo in tone and shape. “There is something subtle and elusive about it,” Michael Collie wrote of Fredericton, “like a person who has had long sessions of psychoanalysis and has become more sophisticated and charming in the course of them.”

[pullquote align=right]Fredericton makes a good introduction to the province and a good sightseeing base. Roads lead from here to every part of the province.[/pullquote]Visitors flying to New Brunswick will find Fredericton makes a good introduction to the province and a good sightseeing base. Roads lead from here to every part of the province. St. Andrews and Saint John on the Fundy are each just over an hour’s drive south, and Moncton is 180 kilometers east. And it’s always nice to return to Fredericton, the province’s quintessential hometown.

Sights in Fredericton

Historic Garrison District

The Historic Garrison District (Queen St., 506/460-2129), a national historic site, dominates downtown, encompassing two long city blocks between the modern city to the south and the Saint John River to the north. A military compound built in 1784 as headquarters for the British army, it is enclosed by a curlicue wrought-iron black fence that contains a variety of attractions.

At the corner of Queen and Carleton Streets, the stone Officers’ Quarters was built in 1827. One street-level room (July-Aug. daily 10am-6pm; free) is open to the public, while around the back, low-ceilinged rooms once used to store ammunition now provide a home for vendors selling arts and crafts. Across the courtyard is the Guard House (July-Aug. daily 10am-6pm; free), a simple stone building that looks much like it would have in the mid-1800s, complete with costumed guards out front in summer.

Reenactment of a changing of the guard ceremony at Fredericton's Officers Square.
The Officer’s Square in Fredericton’s historic Garrison District. Photo © Graca Victoria/123rf.

Fredericton Region Museum

Facing the Parade Square at the east end of the Historic Garrison District, the Fredericton Region Museum (571 Queen St., 506/455-6041, May and Sept. Tues.-Sat. 1pm-4pm, June-Aug. daily 10am-5pm, adult $5, child $2) is housed within the former Officers’ Quarters (1825), a three-story stone building designed by the Royal Engineers and unusually styled with a ground-level colonnade of white pillars and an iron handrail.

The museum is devoted to provincial history from early Malecite and Mi’kmaq to contemporary events. The unlikely surprise is the Coleman Frog, a 17-kilogram, 1.6-meter-long amphibian stuffed for posterity and squatting inside a glass showcase on the second floor. The believe-it-or-not frog was found a century ago by local Fred Coleman, who developed a friendship with the frog and fattened it up by feeding it rum pudding and June bugs in honey sauce—or so the story goes.

School Days Museum

Step back into the classroom at the School Days Museum (corner of Queen and York Sts., 506/459-3738, mid-June-Aug. Mon.-Fri. 10am-4pm, Sat. 1pm-4pm, free), across York Street from City Hall. In addition to a reconstructed classroom, you’ll find an interesting display on one-room schools, textbooks and training manuals, and furniture from as early as the mid-1800s.

New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame

The John Thurston Clark Memorial Building is an impressive 1881 Second Empire French Revival edifice that once served as customs house and post office. The building now provides a home for the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame (503 Queen St., 506/453-3747, June-early Sept. Tues.-Fri. noon-5pm, Sat. 10am-5pm, adult $3, child $2), with exhibits highlighting the province’s best sporting men and women.

City Hall

The red-brick City Hall, at the corner of Queen and York Streets and across from the Historic Garrison District, is central to everywhere downtown. The elegant 1876 building has housed city offices, a jail, a farmers market, and an opera house. Its high tower showcases the city’s copper clock, and the decorative fountain in front—crowned by the figurine that Frederictonians have dubbed “Freddie, the little nude dude”—was added in 1885.

Inside, the Council Chamber is adorned with a series of 27 locally produced tapestries depicting the city’s history. The Fredericton Visitor Information Centre (506/460-2129), in the building’s front vestibule, conducts chamber tours (mid-May-early Oct. daily 8:15am-7:30pm; early Oct.-mid-May Mon.-Fri. by appointment 8:15am-4:30pm).

Travel map of Downtown Fredericton, New Brunswick
Downtown Fredericton

Fredericton Lighthouse

Cross Regent Street from the Historic Garrison District to reach the privately operated Fredericton Lighthouse (615 Queen St., 506/460-2939; mid-June-mid-Sept. daily 10am-10pm; adult $2). The interior consists of 13 separate landings exhibiting shipping and river-sailing artifacts. The top level commands a magnificent riverfront view. At ground level, you’ll find a gift shop and outdoor café serving light lunches and delicious ice cream.

Beaverbrook Art Gallery

On the east side of downtown is Beaverbrook Art Gallery (703 Queen St., 506/458-2028; Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun. noon-5pm; adult $10, senior $8, child $5), which was donated to the city by New Brunswick art maven Lord Beaverbrook, also known as William Maxwell Aitken. The gallery boasts an impressive 2,000-piece collection—the most extensive British fine arts collection in Atlantic Canada, if not the nation.

Among the British painters represented are Thomas Gainsborough, Sir Joshua Reynolds, John Constable, and Walter Richard Sickert. You’ll find Graham Sutherland’s sketches of Winston Churchill—drawn in preparation for Churchill’s official portrait—and works by Atlantic Canada’s Miller Brittain, Alex Colville, and Jack Humphrey. Also central to the collection are the oils of Cornelius Krieghoff, depicting social and domestic scenes of early life in Acadia. Lord Beaverbrook could not resist the European masters—Salvador Dalí’s large-scale Santiago El Grande and Botticelli’s Resurrection are prominently displayed.

Legislative Assembly Building

The splendidly regal Legislative Assembly Building (706 Queen St., 506/453-2527, mid-June-Aug. daily 9am-5pm, Sept-mid-June Mon.-Fri. 8:30am-4pm, free) lies kitty-corner from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. The sandstone French Revival building spreads across a manicured lawn, its massive wings pierced with high arched windows, and the upper floor and tower rotunda are washed in glistening white. The building was completed in 1882 at a cost of $120,000, including construction and furnishings. The front portico entrance opens into an interior decorated in high Victorian style—the apex of expensive taste at the time. Glinting Waterford prisms are set in brass chandeliers, and the spacious rooms are wallpapered in an Oriental design. The interior’s pièce de résistance is the Assembly Chamber, centered around an ornate throne set on a dais and sheltered with a canopy.

John James Audubon’s Birds of America is kept in the Legislative Library. One of four volumes is on display in a climate-controlled exhibit, and pages are periodically turned to show the meticulous paintings.

Exterior view of magnificent stained glass windows at Fredericton's Christ Church Cathedral.
Christ Church Cathedral in Fredericton, NB. Photo © Adrian Wojcik/123rf.

Christ Church Cathedral

Gothic-styled cathedrals were designed to soar grandiosely toward heaven, and this storied stone cathedral is no exception. With a lofty copper-clad central spire and elegant linear stone tracery, Christ Church Cathedral (506/450-8500) rises from a grassy city block at Church and Brunswick Streets. Begun in 1845 and consecrated in 1853, this was the first entirely new cathedral founded on British soil since the Norman Conquest way back in 1066. It was rebuilt after a fire in 1911 and is still the place where the city’s nabobs go to pay their respects to the benevolent powers that be. It’s open year-round, with recitals taking place in summer Friday 12:10-12:50pm.

Historic Cemeteries

The Old Burial Ground is bounded by Regent, Brunswick, George, and Sunbury Streets. The site—spliced with walkways beneath tall trees—is one of two historic burial grounds in town. This spread of greenery was the final resting place for Loyalist notables.

The Loyalist Cemetery (formerly the Salamanca graveyard), on an unmarked gravel road off Waterloo Row at the riverfront, is simpler and marks the final resting place of the founding Loyalists who died in the town’s first winter of 1783-1784.

Odell Park

Of the 355 hectares of lush parkland throughout the city, Odell Park (Rockwood Ave., 506/460-2038) is the choice spread, holding 16 kilometers of trails, formal lawns, duck ponds, a deer pen, barbecue pits, and picnic tables. The park is Fredericton’s largest, covering 175 hectares. It is best known for an arboretum holding every tree species in the province; a 2.8-kilometer walking trail divided into three loops wanders through the shady expanse. To get there from downtown, head south on Rockwood Avenue.


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What to See in Fredericton, NB - History, Museums, Architecture

Top 9 Historic Sites in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

The region’s prolific history is quite noticeable throughout the Upper Peninsula, with virtually every community boasting a local history museum and a variety of state-recognized sites. The state’s Michigan History Center operates the Michigan Historical Marker Program, which has designated 128 noteworthy sites scattered among the U.P.’s 15 counties. This list highlights nine of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula historic sites to visit.

Mining History

view through a crumbling wall in Fayette State Park
Fayette State Park is the site of a former iron smelting operation. Photo © alexeys/iStock.
  • Fayette Historic State Park: Perhaps the best preserved “ghost town” in America, Fayette serves as a three-dimensional window to the nineteenth century, when belching blast furnaces turned raw iron ore into pig iron.
  • Keweenaw National Historic Park: This park is made up of sites throughout the Keweenaw seminal to the area’s copper mining heritage. Don’t miss the Quincy Mine!
  • Iron County Heritage Trail: This complex of attractions is a great destination for history buffs. The Iron County Historical Museum is its centerpiece.
  • Downtown Calumet: This town offers a dynamic reminder of the once prosperous copper industry.

Marine History

aerial view of a lighthouse on top of land jutting into lake superior
Marquette Lighthouse. Photo © ImagesbyK/iStock.
  • Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum: This haunting yet intriguing museum pays tribute to those lost while working in commercial shipping on the Great Lakes.
  • Marquette Maritime Museum and Lighthouse: This fascinating nautical museum emphasizes the role lighthouses have played in Great Lakes shipping.

Military History

horse-drawn carriages sit in front of fort mackinac
Costumed guides lead reenactments, including musket firing and cannon salutes, at Fort Mackinac. Photo © skling/iStock.
  • Colonial Michilimackinac State Park: The site of the original fort, built in 1715, is the location of a 50-year-long archaeological dig, summertime reenactments, and a big wooden replica fort.
  • Fort Wilkins Historic State Park: An example of excessive nineteenth century military spending, Fort Wilkins was built to combat trouble that never occurred. Today it’s a historically accurate display of military life during the era, complete with costumed interpreters.
  • Fort Mackinac: A massive fortress perched on a bluff overlooking the Straits of Mackinac and the village below, Ft. Mackinac best exemplifies the quintessential nineteenth century military fort. Interesting programing featuring interpreters in period dress make this a “must visit” destination.

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