NEW EXHIBIT:  Equestrian Histories
First-Floor Galleries | June 11, 2019 – December 2019

Equestrian Histories – Now Open

Equestrian Histories

Opened June 11, 2019
Main Galleries 
Included in Admission 
Free for Members


Equestrian Histories is an exhibition three years in the making for children, adults, riders, and non-riders alike!  This exhibit explores the history of the horse in sport on Boston’s North Shore, with a focus on the four major equestrian sports that Hamilton and Wenham are known for, which are:  fox hunting, polo, three-day eventing and coaching and combined driving.  The role that the equestrian community has played in preserving local open space is also included in this exhibit.

Equestrian Histories also features never-before-seen content from the Patton Family Archives.  Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. and his wife, Beatrice Ayer Patton, were both accomplished equestrians. These traditions were passed to their children, and video footage of the Patton family (narrated by Gen. Patton’s son, Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, IV) is included within the Patton section of the exhibit.

For young visitors and the young at heart, there are many hands-on opportunities in the galleries to learn more about equestrian life, including:  a play table modeled after a map of Hamilton and Wenham with trains, farms, and horses; a horseshoeing activity; dress-up; and, a real saddle and side-saddle you can sit on.  Over the summer, a green screen that simulates a ride with the hunt will also open to the public.

Equestrian Histories is conceptualized an evolving exhibit, with annual offerings that delve deeper into particular sports and aspects of equestrian life.  Future plans also include an Equestrian Hall of Fame to celebrate those individuals–riders and non-riders alike–that have been integral to equestrian life on the North Shore.

Learn More
Follow our “Things To Do” or the Wenham Museum on Facebook to find out about upcoming opportunities to learn more about the North Shore’s equestrian history, to meet real horses, and watch local equestrian sports.

Exhibition Support

Equestrian Histories and its related gallery improvements have been underwritten by over 100 generous donors who collectively contributed over $500,000 to the Wenham Museum.  Those providing leadership gifts are listed below:

The Perkin Fund, Winifred Perkin Gray, Chair

World Champion
up to $60,000
Mr. Neil R. Ayer, Jr.
Ms. Susanna Colloredo-Mansfeld
Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Richey, Jr.

Grand Prix
up to $25,000
Mr. William S. Farish, III
Mr. and Mrs. Summerfield K. Johnston, Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Dave Page
Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Pulsifer

For a complete listing of supporters, please visit the Equestrian Histories campaign website by clicking here.


March 22, 2019 – Autumn 2019


Co-Curated by The Caterpillar Lab
Family Discovery Gallery
Included with Admission
Free for Members

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, we’ll learn all about the native New England caterpillars that live in your backyard.  Not only are these caterpillars always hungry, they have special skills that allow them to camouflage themselves in nature, protect themselves from predators, and change into moths and butterflies.

Visitors will learn about caterpillars in a fun and interactive way by matching caterpillars with their pupae and moths, dressing up as caterpillars, moths and butterflies, hanging in a cocoon, and crawling through large pieces of food just like Eric Carle’s hungry caterpillar.  The wonderful photography in this exhibition is provided courtesy of artist and educator Samuel Jaffe.

Support for the Family Discovery Gallery is generously provided by: 
Ken & Jean Jones


Now Open

Colonel Timothy Pickering:  A Practical and Scientific Farmer

Pickering Library

Col. Timothy Pickering (1745-1829) was a soldier, politician, and a scientist, but his greatest passion was for agriculture. He fulfilled a life-long dream when he purchased his Wenham, Massachusetts farm in 1806, which he farmed for more than 20 years. His legacy of promoting scientific methods in breeding animals, growing crops and promoting agriculture generally led him to found the Essex Agricultural Society, which today runs the Topsfield Fair. This is the first exhibit in the museum’s newly renovated Pickering Library, named for Col. Pickering himself.


Sponsored by:
Essex National Heritage Area
Society of Colonial Wars in Massachusetts
General Society of Colonial Wars