WENHAM MUSEUM: Accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1973
Wenham Museum celebrates childhood, interprets history, and explores culture for the enrichment of all generations in the greater North Shore community and beyond.
The Museum engages multigenerational members and visitors in examining the promise of the American experiment and provides thought-provoking learning experiences that connect the past, present, and future, in a welcoming and inclusive environment.
A second century is on the horizon. Wenham Museum is seizing the opportunity to become a more vibrant, distinctive and visible community and cultural resource for Boston’s North Shore and audiences beyond.
The Museum enthusiastically retains its commitment to being a family-centered institution. In its collections, exhibits, programs, and events, family history and activities are emphasized and are attracting multi-generational audiences.
Signature programs such as early childhood education and the train collections are augmented by a revitalized and stimulating adult program and special initiatives related to area history, cultural evolution, and the fast-changing world around us. Exploration of fulfilling the promise of the American experiment, viewed through the lenses of family, community, service, citizenship, leadership, and justice provide, rich, timeless programming themes and ideas. A new, complimentary Collections strategy is in place.
The Museum is achieving new levels of financial stability and strength, marked by careful fiscal management and planning, and renewed engagement with and generous philanthropic investment by its various stakeholders. Museum operations are noticeably improved, and the early success of a new capital campaign is helping to address endowment and facilities needs. A refreshed commitment to a fully dimensioned institutional advancement program is making profound impact on all of this work.
The Museum benefits from the expansion and strengthening of the Board of Trustees and the enthusiastic participation of myriad volunteers. The role of the Executive Director is more focused and streamlined, due in part to Staff reorganization and buildout.
The Museum is investing in a formalized external affairs program, combining a more comprehensive marketing/communications function with expanded community outreach and interesting collaborations with other organizations. The Museum is strengthening its brand and raising its visibility. It enjoys a growing reputation as a relevant, dynamic, innovative, and fun institution that is always welcoming.
The new Wenham Museum – informing our lives and inspiring for all!
In 1921, the Claflin-Gerrish-Richards House was purchased by the philanthropic Wenham Village Improvement Society for the purpose of preservation and exhibition. Then Elizabeth Richards Horton, a former resident of the house, donated her International Doll Collection to the WVIS in 1922, marking the beginning of the Wenham Museum as we know it today.
The museum was incorporated as a separate entity in 1952, and Adeline P. Cole presided as President over the grand opening in 1953, when the Pickering Library and Burnham Hall meeting room were added. The Wenham Museum was first accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1973 and underwent a major renovation and expansion from June 1996 to August 1997.
In 2013, the museum celebrated its 90th anniversary with a Birthday Gala.
We are honored to work with so many wonderful organizations that support arts, culture, history, and our region.
- North Shore Chamber of Commerce
- Essex National Heritage Area
- North of Boston Visitor and Convention Bureau (NBCVB)
- Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT)
- New England Museum Association (NEMA)
- Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) & ACM Reciprocal Network
- Museums for All
Interested in hosting an event at the museum? Learn more.
A special interactive space for young museum visitors with changing hands-on activities for creative learning. A period playhouse, general store, variety of blocks, doll house, musical instruments and more help history come to life for children of all ages. Hands on exploration is a fundamental concept at Wenham Museum. This gallery has been designed to introduce our youngest visitors to museum concepts in a fun interactive setting. See what’s on exhibit in the gallery now.