Museums in Mystic, Connecticut range from fine art to American history
Norwich Free Academy - 108 Crescent Street
Norwich, CT, 06360
Unique museum offers the past in a magnificent edifice
Set on the campus of Norwich Free Academy in Norwich CT, this unique museum was founded by philanthropist William A. Slater more than a century ago. Housed in a stunning architectural treasure designed by architect Stephen C. Earle. The museum offers a diverse collection of fine and decorative arts, replicas of great Greek and Roman sculpture, historical artifacts, and ethnographic material spanning five continents and 35 centuries. Exhibits rotate regularly. See film screenings, discussions, book signings, and other events. An interpreter-guided tour is free with admission. The Museum shop is filled with unique gifts, including fine art prints and reproductions, the works of Connecticut artisans, and other items. Open year round, Tuesday-Sunday.
67 Main Street, Steamboat Dock
Essex, CT, 06426
A year-round adventure through nature, history & life on the sea
Discover the exciting history and spectacular environment of New England’s Great River at the Connecticut River Museum, located in beautiful Essex Village. Bring your family and explore the exhibits! Climb aboard a replica of the Turtle submarine and find out what it was like to be a submarine pilot during the American Revolution. Walk all 410 miles of the River as you travel our vertical gallery filled with fantastic aerial photos and a whimsical mural of the River. Learn the stories of people and the River from Native Americans through the present in our three floors of exhibits. Complete your visit with a picnic lunch and a chance to run around on the Museum’s riverfront lawn.
The Connecticut River Museum offers seasonal exhibits and programs as well. Come November – February for the magic of our annual Holiday Train Show; visit in February and March to see the wintering Bald Eagles on one of our EagleWatch Boat Tours; and spend a summer day sailing on the River on the historic wooden sailing ship Onrust. Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle the quiet coves.
55 Coogan Boulevard
Mystic, CT, 06355
Where learning and discovery meets fun
Enrich your mind, roll up your sleeves, expand your knowledge and get involved at Mystic Aquarium. Discover thousands of marine animals throughout indoor and outdoor exhibits where beluga whales, African penguins, frogs, fish and so many other animals act as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. Experience the sensation of a shark or stingray as it glides below your fingers. Daily complimentary sea lion shows provide a truly unique opportunity to see these fascinating animals up-close and in action. And now, travel back in time to encounter animatronic dinosaurs in ‘Jurassic Giants!’ Participate in various events throughout the year and become a champion for change. Learn how you can join our mission to protect our ocean planet. SEA more at MysticAquarium.org.
Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center
110 Pequot Trail
Mashantucket, CT, 06338
Permanent exhibits on the Native and natural history of southern New England include a cool descent into a glacial crevasse from 18,000 years ago. Walk through a 1550 Pequot Village. Interactive computer programs, films providing additional information and interpretation of the exhibits. Two research libraries, one for children. Museum store and restaurant.
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; last admission at 4 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $15; seniors, $13; children age 6-15, $10; under 6 free.
Windham Textile and History Museum
411 Main Street
Willimantic, CT, 06226
Museum preserves the textile industry of southern New England at the height of the Industrial Revolution. Exhibits include thread factory floor, rooms from a workers rowhouse and owner’s mansion.
Hours: Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Guided tours Sunday at 3 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $7; seniors and students, $5.
Lyman Allyn Art Museum
625 Williams Street
New London, CT, 06320
Eighteenth-, 19th- and 20th-century art and decorative arts, American Impressionist paintings, contemporary American art, changing exhibits. Outdoor Children's Art Park.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $10; seniors and students over age 18; $7; children under age 18, $5.
Brayton Grist Mill and Marcy Blacksmith Museum
Pomfret, CT, 06258
This fine example of a one-man mill operation of the 1890's has original milling equipment. The tool exhibit represents the craft of three generations of blacksmiths. Maintained by the Pomfret Historical Society.
Hours: Call for hours of operation.
Admission: Free; donations welcome.
Museum of the Fife and Drum
Highland Terrace at 63 North Main Street
Ivoryton, CT, 06442
Exhibits focus on the fife and drum, not only as an important symbol of American patriotism during the Revolutionary period, but as an integral part of military strategy in the 17th and 18th centuries. The museum is a visual and musical history of America on parade, from the Revolutionary War to the present. Theme displays feature drums, fifes, military swords, music, uniforms, medals, awards and photographs.
Hours: June 30 through Labor Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-5 p.m.; third weekend of July and fourth weekend of August reserved for private activities.
Admission; Adults, $5; youth age 12-17, $4; seniors, $3; children under age 12, free.
Kidcity Children's Museum
119 Washington Street
Middletown, CT, 06457
Whimsical, one-of-a-kind rooms filled with hands-on play and learning, for kids ages 1 to 8 and their grown-ups.
Hours: Sunday-Tuesday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: $8 per person.
Prudence Crandall Museum
Junction Routes 14 and 169
Canterbury, CT, 06331
The Prudence Crandall Museum is a collection of objects, from clothing to books and more, from the life and times of Prudence Crandall, a female abolitionist teacher whose legacy is left here. See full description
of the Prudence Crandall Museum
Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea
75 Greenmanville Avenue
Mystic Seaport is a maritime museum that preserves artifacts of America’s seafaring past. The Seaport’s grounds cover 19 acres on the Mystic River and include a re-created 19th-century coastal village, a working shipyard, and formal exhibit halls. The Seaport is home to more than 500 historic watercraft, including four National Historic Landmark vessels, most notably the 1841 whale ship Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship still in existence. The Seaport is a great adventure for families. It hosts many seasonal celebrations, along with exhibits and festivals related to seafaring life, such as the annual sea music festival and a lobster fest. A gift shop on the grounds has many high-quality products, from books and maps to toys and home décor, all with a seafaring theme. Open year-round
Children's Museum of Southeastern Connecticut
409 Main Street
Niantic, CT, 06357
Interactive hands-on exhibits for the entire family. Don’t miss our Long Island Sound Marinelife Tank, Parent Pockets, a self guided tour of the Museum and Kidsville, an entire kid-sized town. Themes include arts and science, health and history. Have fun while learning. Explore the Discovery Room, see live animals and say hello to Richter the Red Tailed Boa Constrictor.
Hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon-4:30 p.m. Hours vary by season; call ahead.
Admission: $7 per person.
96 Lyme Stree
Old Lyme, CT
In the early 20th century, Florence Griswold’s boarding house in Old Lyme was the hub of one of the most important summer art colonies in America. The colony attracted artists Henry Ward Ranger, Childe Hassam, and Willard Metcalf and others who were in the vanguard of the Tonalist and Impressionist movements. Today, visitors see the boarding house and much of the work of these American Impressionists, an adjacent gallery building with rotating exhibits, and extensive gardens. Special programs are offered in summer and holiday seasons.
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Closed on major holidays.
Admission: Adults, $10; seniors, $9; students, $8; free of children under age 12. Information:
Ballard Institute & Museum of Puppetry
Weaver Road (off Route 44)
Storrs, CT, 06269
Collection of more than 2,000 puppets from the world over. Each exhibition features a different view of the variety of styles and periods in puppetry.
Hours: Friday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m. or by appointment
Admission: Free; donations accepted.
Military Historians Museum
N. Main St.
Westbrook, CT, 06498
The largest collection of American military uniforms in the country. Unit crest insignia, vehicles from World War II Weasel to a Desert Storm truck, music room, research center.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m., and by appointment.