The Wenham Museum is open to the public with modified hours (Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sunday, 12 – 4 p.m.; Monday, Closed).   Holiday-related hours are listed on our Visit page – please note the museum will be closed Wed., Nov. 25th – Friday, Nov. 27th for Thanksgiving.  Face coverings and advanced ticket purchase are required.  Click here to reserve tickets. We also encourage you to review our new protocols at wenhammuseum.org/reopening.  Thank You!

Exhibitions

MAIN EXHIBIT:  Calling All Engines! Train Time
First-Floor Galleries | October 17, 2020 –  March 2021

Current Exhibitions Past Exhibitions

All visitors to the Wenham Museum, including Members, must reserve tickets in advance.   Face coverings are also required for all visitors (aged 5+) per Massachusetts guidelines.  For complete details on our operations during COVID-19, please see our Reopening page.  Thank you!

CURRENT EXHIBITIONS

NEW EXHIBIT

CALLING ALL ENGINES!  TRAIN TIME

First-Floor Galleries
Included with Admission
Free for Members
Open October 17, 2020 – March 2021

 

 

The Wenham Museum’s Train Time tradition continues with this year’s installation, Calling All Engines!  This exhibition will celebrate three, different iconic model trains and highlight their connections to places here on the North Shore and Cape Ann:

  • An engaging four-by-sixteen foot O-gauge Thomas the Tank Engine train display in honor of the 75th anniversary of the publication of the first Thomas books. See your favorite sites on Sodor in miniature and learn about local places of interest—like quarries, lighthouses, and farms—that are just like places Thomas would go to do his work. This section of the exhibit also explores the “real” trains that inspired the characters in Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • An eighteen-by-twenty foot O-gauge train layout inspired by daily life on Boston’s North Shore. With city scenes, country scenes, and a working harbor, this expansive layout will capture the diversity of our region. This display also includes many beloved Lionel-brand model railroad accessories, which will delight model railroad enthusiasts and our youngest visitors alike.
  • A large, S-gauge American Flyer train layout using recently gifted items to the museum’s train gallery. American Flyer S-gauge trains were popular in the 1950s. New generations can explore this must-have 20th century model train.

Due to COVID-19, hands-on opportunities for play will be driven by interactive baskets of toy trains, scavenger hunts, and train-themed activities that each household can use during its visit. Baskets are cleaned and disinfected daily. Other hands-on opportunities include a wooden, climb-on blue tank engine and a train station inspired by Knapford Station.

The museum’s expansive permanent collections will complete the exhibition, with mid-century travelling clothes and accessories, antique trunks and doll trucks, vintage railroad advertisements, and a display of historic railroad lanterns.

After you explore Calling All Engines! be sure to visit the museum’s permanent display of model trains in the lower galleries.

 

 

Now Open

POLO:  A North Shore Passion

Burnham Hall
Included with Admission
Free for Members

America’s love of polo, the ancient “sport of kings,” first took hold in New York City in the 1870s and spread up the East Coast to Boston and the North Shore. For over 150 years, polo has been a local pastime. Learn about the history of the sport on the North Shore in this reprise of the polo section from our Equestrian Histories installation.

Our youngest (and young-at-heart!) visitors can try their hand at playing polo with our ride-on ponies and indoor polo field.

Sponsored by:  The Perkin Fund

 

 

Now Open

My Essentials by Tina Rawson

Egbert Gallery
Included with Admission
Free for Members

My Essentials, an exhibit of paintings by Tina Rawson, showcases works that were created as a result of the surge of creativity that the artist is experiencing during the restrictions made necessary by the Covid-19 pandemic. Rawson is a Newburyport resident with a strong connection to her Swedish ancestry. She paints dynamic acrylic, oil, and watercolor pieces inspired by the natural world , including flowers, beaches, and horses; other pieces are inspired by her love of travel. Her paintings manage to be both soothing and energizing all at once – like a walk on the beach! This lovely exhibit will be on display through November 21, 2020 in the museum’s Egbert Gallery.

 

 

Now Open

 

Tiny Things!

Osgood Gallery
Included with Admission
Free for Members

This intriguing exhibit explores all things small! Featuring miniatures from the museum’s collection, as well those made by Abraham Megerdichian, a master machinist who grew up in Cambridge, MA. From the 1950s until his death in 1983 Abraham machined interpretations of everyday objects from blocks of metal. Displayed side by side with the museum’s collection, and with some full-size versions for comparison, this exhibit is sure to delight and fascinate – don’t worry, magnifying glasses will be provided!

 

Image caption: Curiouser and curiouser! These pins are less than a 1/2 inch high! Designed as a doll accessory, they came with a tiny pair of gloves for the White Rabbit! (accession # 2011.03.045d&e)

 

Now Open

Confidence + Courage + Character = GIRL SCOUTS!

Opening February 29, 2020
Family Discovery Gallery
Included with Admission
Free for Members

Come exploring in our latest exhibition in the Family Discovery Gallery!

In celebration of Women’s History Month, and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage,  the new Family Discovery Exhibit is all about confidence, courage, and character! Our youngest visitors will learn scouting values while they role play selling cookies, camping, canoeing, exploring, and more! The Girl Scouts have been teaching leadership, teamwork, and life skills since 1912, and this exhibit celebrates that long history in an all-hands on gallery space for kids aged 5 and younger.

With special thanks to Ken & Jean Jones of Wenham, Mass. for their generous support of the Family Discovery Gallery.

 

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

 

PAST EXHIBITIONS

FROZEN: MELTED!

First Floor Galleries
Included with Admission
Free for Members

Don’t miss this summer refresh of our popular Frozen exhibition where we explore summer fun and what “frozen things do in summer!”  This family-friendly, hands-on history exhibit is packed with fun.

Go inside our kid-sized ice house and pack it with blocks of ice – using real ice tongs!  Sell ice cream from our Wenham Lake Ice Cream stand.  Sit in an authentic one-horse open sleigh, explore where in the world the ice from Wenham Lake went, see Matt Tavares’ original illustrations from Over the Hills and Through the Woods by Lydia Maria Child, and enjoy the many dolls and artifacts that explore summer right here in your own back yard!  A special equestrian section explores how horses were used to harvest ice right here on Wenham Lake.

For detailed information about the museum’s operations during COVID-19, please visit our Reopening page.

FROZEN: STORIES OF ICE & SNOW

First Floor Galleries
Included with Admission
Free for Members

Don’t miss our new exhibit, Frozen: Stories of Ice and Snow, featuring all things cold! This family-friendly, hands-on history exhibit is packed with chilly fun!

In a salute to Disney’s upcoming film, Frozen 2, our Winter 2019/20 exhibit will explore ice and snow in New England! Go inside our kid-sized ice house and pack it with blocks of ice – using real ice tongs! Glide along on our sock skating rink, sit in an authentic one-horse open sleigh, explore where in the world the ice from Wenham Lake went, follow the map of Geopolis using the original illustrations from Virginia Lee Burton’s Katy and the Big Snow, and enjoy the many dolls and artifacts that explore winter right here in your own back yard!  A special equestrian section explores how horses were used to harvest ice right here on Wenham Lake.

Equestrian Histories

June 11, 2019 – December 1, 2019
Main Galleries 
Included in Admission 
Free for Members

Equestrian Histories was an exhibition three years in the making for children, adults, riders, and non-riders alike!  This exhibit explored 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 was also included in this exhibit.

Equestrian Histories also featured 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.

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.

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:

Olympic
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.