The 10 Best Museums in New Hampshire! By
In a state with such devotion to outdoor activities, New Hampshirites sometimes forget all the wonders that await them indoors. When you do decide to duck in from the elements, our state offers some of the most varied, high quality museums in the country while offering something to visitors of all ages. Scope some fine art at the Currier Museum in Manchester, step back in time at the Strawbery Banke living history museum in Portsmouth, or learn about our local love at the New England Ski Museum in North Conway. Whether you bring the kids, a friend, or just yourself, the treasures of New Hampshire’s museums await!
Explore a fascinating past at the Enfield Shaker Museum through exhibits of art, furniture, and lifestyle, as well as craft demonstrations and concerts. Wander through picturesque grounds, including a renowned herb garden, or scope out the Great Stone Dwelling House, the largest Shaker Dwelling House ever constructed.
Home to some of the most extreme weather in the world, with winter summit conditions rivaling those of Everest or the Polar Ice Caps, there is no better place to teach children and adults alike about nature’s most powerful force. Through exhibits and interactive experiences such as a wind room, the Weather Discovery Center offers an enjoyable, educational experience like no other. On your trip, take advantage of the opportunity to speak with an observer who lives at Mount Washington’s summit, enduring some of earth’s toughest conditions.
A fascinating, hidden world of modern communication comes to life at Warner’s Telephone Museum, an impressively-curated collection of over 1,000 artifacts. Take a docent-led tour or download the museum’s app to lead your own. Admission includes a 10-minute introductory video and optional guided tour. Curious minds of all ages will find endless enjoyment learning about one of the most important developments of American and world history.
A world-renowned collection in the heart of New Hampshire, the Currier Museum of Art is a must-visit for both tourists and locals. The museum’s gems include an impressive collection of 17th century Dutch works, modern pieces from Matisse and Picasso, as well as the folk and fine art of New Hampshire artists.
Strawbery Banke is a 10-acre living museum in the heart of Portsmouth. Designed to preserve the daily life of the historic Puddle Dock neighborhood. Comprised of 39 restored structures, one of which dates to 1695, Strawbery Banke presents different exhibits aimed at telling the story of an earlier people who called Portsmouth home. Renowned gardens representing 400 years of varied horticultural technique, as well as traditional boat builders performing demonstrations, allow the visitor to feel completely immersed in colonial-era New Hampshire.
With a collection of over 14,000 artifacts and pieces of memorabilia, the Wright Museum of World War II offers a glimpse into American life during the war. Upcoming exhibits include “The American Soldier,” a photographic tribute to U.S. troops from the Civil War to present day, as well as a retrospective of Saturday Evening Post Covers, contrasting views of war on both fronts.
Located on a research submarine once used by the United States navy to test the latest maritime technology, the USS Albacore provides a unique museum experience. In 1989, the vessel itself was declared a National Historic Landmark, and in 2000 was made an Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, as well as an Historic Welded Structure. The Albacore also enjoys membership in the Submarine Hall of Fame. Enjoy a self-guided tour and the surrounding park for a family-friendly experience.
The only museum of police motorcycles in the entire United States, this Meredith gem offers a glimpse into the past of American law enforcement. Currently exhibiting a celebration of 75 years of the New Hampshire state troopers, the Police Motorcycle Museum combines display bikes, video and pictographic displays to create a multi-faceted experience.
Celebrating one of New Hampshire’s most time-honored traditions, the New England Ski Museum is not to be missed. Located in Franconia Notch State Park, the museum provides highlights such as an exhibit on the life of local legend Bode Miller, and an historical overview of 8,000 years of skiing.
An oasis for both curious little ones and their young-at-heart supervisors, the New Hampshire Children’s Museum offers an astounding array of exhibits and programs specially-tailored to be both entertaining and educational. Build an aerodynamic contraption and try your luck launching it from a 30-foot tower, take part in a simulated dig for dinosaur bones, or stop by the museum’s post office and take a turn behind the counter.