Connecticut museums & galleries offer fine art, science, children's exhibits

Connecticut's museums and galleries have a wide range of wonderful offerings. Major art museums includes the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, host to paintings of the Hudson River School; the Bruce Museum in Greenwich; and the Florence Griswold Museum in East Lyme, a historic colony of American Impressionists. Places like the Rose Cottage and the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum are a blend of museum and historic home. The Connecticut Science Center in Hartford is an up-to-the-minute presenter of topics in science. The state has many wonderful children's museums in every region. And don't forget the Barnum Museum of circus lore in Bridgeport.

Museums & Galleries in Connecticut
Classical Sculpture at the Mark Twain House & Museum - Hartford, CT
Mark Twain House & Museum

351 Farmington Avenue Hartford, CT, 06105 Phone: 860-247-0998

Step into the home of the author who created “The Gilded Age”

Walk in the rooms and hallways where Samuel Clemens walked and reconnect to the author who gave us Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and other beloved characters. At the Mark Twain House & Museum, daily tours take you through the richly decorated rooms of this lovingly restored Victorian home, which Clemens said was the site of the happiest years of his life. The museum’s collection of 16,000 artifacts includes period furniture, paintings, photos, first editions, and books by other authors with notes from Clemens in the margins. Rotating special exhibits and talks on everything from the Gilded Age to abolitionists make the National Historic Landmark a must for history and literature buffs. There’s an extensive museum store and a cafe serving food from local vendors.
Locomotive - Railroad Museum of New England - Thomaston, CT
Railroad Museum of New England

242 East Main Street Thomaston, CT, 06787 Phone: 860-283-7245

This museum has something others do not: train rides through the Connecticut countryside

At the Railroad Museum of New England, they don’t want to just tell you about the region’s rich railroading history – they want to show you, too. After exploring educational exhibits at the historic Thomaston, CT Station, and checking out the museum’s impressive collection of diesel and steam locomotives, passenger and freight cars and cabooses, including a bright red Boston & Maine C-72 caboose built in 1921, you’ll want to board one of the vintage trains for a scenic ride on the Naugatuck Railroad. Ride in style as the train rumbles through woods, alongside rivers and over the famed Thomaston Dam. Special excursions include the Easter Bunny Express, the Pumpkin Patch train, the Chocolate Decadence Tours and, for the holidays, the daytime Santa Express and evening Northern Lights Limited.
The Turtle Submarine - Connecticut River Museum - Essex, CT
Connecticut River Museum

67 Main Street, Steamboat Dock Essex, CT, 06426 Phone: 860-767-8269

Artifacts, artwork, activities and adventures: It’s all happening at this river museum

Artifacts and artwork that tell the story of the importance of the Connecticut River and the river valley are just part of what makes the Connecticut River Museum well worth a visit. Permanent and special exhibits show the lives of Native American communities along the river and convey the excitement of the speed-racing era, in the first half of the 20th century. There’s a three-floor river mural and an operational model of the Turtle, the first submarine to be used in combat, in 1776. The museum also hosts live entertainment with its Thursdays on the Dock series, offers cruises aboard an eco-tour boat and a re-created 1614 sailing vessel as well as drop-in Summer Fun Days for kids 6 through 12.
Mattatuck Museum

144 West Main Street Waterbury, CT, 06702 Phone: 203-753-0381

Exhibits chronicle the industrial history of the Naugatuck Valley as well as its social, architectural and cultural past. Period settings, decorative arts, furniture, 19th- and 20th-century art, changing exhibits. Cafe, museum shop.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Reopening Mondays in April, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; closed major holidays
Admission: $15, Adults age 16 and older; $12, seniors over age 65; $10, college students with ID; $8, children 5-18; Free, members and children under 5; Mattatuck is a Blue Star Museum that offers free admission to military members and their families from Armed Forces Day to Labor Day.
Information: www.mattmuseum.org
windham Textile Museum Ct
Windham Textile and History Museum

411 Main Street Willimantic, CT, 06226 Phone: 860-456-2178

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. Information: www.millmuseum.org/
webb Deane Stevens Museum in CT
Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum

211 Main Street Wethersfield, CT, 06109 Phone: 860-529-0612

This museum consists of three houses, each built in the 18th century. Two are now National Historic Landmarks, with each furnished to represent a different period in American history. In 1781, on this site, Washington and his partners planned their strategy that led to the American victory at Yorktown. Tours begin every hour on the hour up until 3 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $6, seniors, $5, students, $2.50.
Kidcity Children's Museum

119 Washington Street Middletown, CT, 06457 Phone: 860-347-0495

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. Information: www.kidcitymuseum.com
CT Children's Museum - The Children's Building - New Haven, CT
The Children's Building - CT Children's Museum

22 Wall Street New Haven, CT, 06511 Phone: 203-562-5437

Interactive, innovative and inclusive museum with eight rooms of hands-on exhibits, observation bee hive, the Great Green Room from Goodnight Moon, and a pint-size post office.
Hours: Saturday & Sunday, Noon - 5pm. Admission is $10.
Bruce Museum Entrance Greenwich CT
Bruce Museum

One Museum Drive Greenwich, CT, 06830 Phone: 203-869-0376

Explore the world through the lenses of art, science and natural history at the magnificent Bruce Museum. The museum’s vast and growing collections include minerals, fossils, history, art, textiles, science, animals and ethnology. Visitors, through docent-led or self-guided audio tours on their phones, can marvel at dinosaur tracks or mounted extinct species like passenger pigeons or become lost in the paintings of Childe Hassam, the sculpture of Auguste Rodin or the photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Decorative arts include French art glass, art pottery and Staffordshire puzzle pipes. There are ladies’ gowns and accessories from the 19th century, crystals and meteorites, shells from around the world and so much more.
Tour Group - Harriet Beecher Stowe Center - Hartford, CT
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center

77 Forest Street Hartford, CT, 06105 Phone: 860-522-9258

Listed as a National Historic Landmark and a stop on the Connecticut Freedom Trail as well as on the Connecticut Women’s Heritage Trail, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center is a treasure trove of collections that illuminate the life of and issues that stirred the famous abolitionist author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Rotating exhibits deal with the life of slaves and the role of women. Collections include paintings (some by the author), memorabilia inspired by “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” the dining table where the book was written, decorative arts, rare manuscripts, drawings and household furnishings from the Beecher and Stowe families. In all, 228,000 items illustrate the lives and times of Stowe and her family. Interactive tours of her Victorian Gothic cottage leave visitors inspired.
Niantic Childrens Museum - Niantic, CT
Niantic Children's Museum

409 Main Street Niantic, CT, 06357 Phone: 860-691-1111

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: Open Tuesday thru Saturday 9:30am - 4:30pm and Sundays Noon - 4:30pm. Admission is $10 per person (Children under 1 year Free). Group rates available in advance.
4th Floor Galleries - Yale Center for British Art - New Haven, CT - Photo Credit Harold Shapiro
Yale Center for British Art

1080 Chapel Street New Haven, CT, 06510 Phone: 203-432-2800 Toll-Free: 877-274-8278

The YCBA houses the largest collection of British art outside the United Kingdom, encompassing works in a range of media from the Elizabethan period to the present day. It offers exhibitions and programs year-round, including lectures, concerts, films, symposia, tours, and family events.
Luddy/Taylor Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum

Northwest Park, 135 Lang Rd. Windsor, CT, 06095 Phone: 860-285-1888

Displays of artifacts and history of "Tobacco Valley." Tobacco curing shed houses exhibits of early and modern equipment. Other facility exhibits photographs, writings, and other documents. Hours: March-mid-December, Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday, noon-4 p.m. and by appointment Admission: Free. Information: www.tobaccohistsoc.org/
Eric Sloane Museum - Kent, CT - Photo Credit Reid House
Eric Sloane Museum and Kent Iron Furnace

31 Kent Cornwall Road (Route 7) Kent, CT, 06757 Phone: 860-927-3849

This museum features a collection of woodworking tools, dating from the 17th century. The ruins of the Kent Furnace, in use through the 19th century are also found on the grounds.
Hours: Open May-October, Friday thru Sunday 10am - 4pm.
Admission: Adults $8, Seniors $6, Ages 6-17 $5, 5 & Under Free.
Stamford Museum and Nature Center
Stamford Museum & Nature Center

39 Scofieldtown Road Stamford, CT, 06903 Phone: 203-977-6521

Stamford Museum & Nature Center is a place of nature expressed in art and art expressed in nature. The Knoblock Family Farmhouse is an indoor gathering space for the cold months, where children’s programs like What’s For Dinner? and Family Farm Fridays will happen. The Bendel Mansion, built in the 1920s, is now a historic home and gardens that visitors may tour. Heckscher Farm is a 10-acre learning site about rural and farm life. The institution has a nature center and nature trails, an otter pond, an observatory and planetarium, and wheelchair-accessible trails through the woods. Learning opportunities and celebrations take place all year, for all ages. - Trail Map (PDF)
Admission: Adults $14, Seniors $12, Students 18+ with ID $10; Ages 4-17 $8. Free admission for children 3 & under or those who present a transit bus pass or transfer.
Ballard Institute & Museum of Puppetry

Weaver Road (off Route 44) Storrs, CT, 06269 Phone: 860-486-4605

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. Information: www.bimp.uconn.edu/
Prudence Crandall Museum

Junction Routes 14 and 169 Canterbury, CT, 06331 Phone: 860-546-7800

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 a full description on our Historic Homes & Sites page.
Summer Camp - Eli Whitney Museum - Hamden, CT
Eli Whitney Museum & Workshop

915 Whitney Avenue Hamden, CT, 06517 Phone: 203-777-1833

Museum focusing on Eli Whitney's life, his inventions and his legacy. In addition to historic exhibits, the museum also holds a water learning lab and outdoor study areas. The barn, built in 1816, is the site of special events throughout the year.
Fall/Winter Hours: From Labor Day to Memorial Day - Saturdays 10am - 3pm and Sunday 10am - 3pm.
Spring/Summer Hours: From Memorial Day to Labor Day - Saturdays & Sundays 11am - 4pm. Water Learning Lab is open on the weekends from May through October.
Admission: There is no charge for admission. There is a fee of $5-$18 to build Walk In Projects.
Museum of Connecticut History

231 Capitol Avenue Hartford, CT, 06106 Phone: 860-566-3056

Historic documents, including Connecticut's Royal Charter, are just part of the exhibit material in this museum. Special exhibits feature Colt firearms, Connecticut's Governors and changing exhibits. Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Closed on state holidays Admission: free. Information: www.museumofcthistory.org/
Connecticut Science Center

250 Columbus Blvd. Hartford, CT, 06103 Phone: 860-724-3623

A visit to the Center is a high-impact learning experience in a green, clean, bright, and stimulating environment. Adults and children alike will find entertainment and educational value in hands-on, engaging, and exciting exhibits and programs that emphasize current science and science you can use every day. Open year-round. Hours Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission: Adults, $21.95; seniors above age 65, $19.95; youth ages 3 to 17, $14.95. Information: www.ctsciencecenter.org
Connecticut Trolley Museum

58 North Road (Route 140) East Windsor, CT, 06088 Phone: 860-627-6540

Three-mile round trip ride on antique trolleys. Tour the Visitor's Center display and stationary trolleys. Gift shop, deli and cafe. Hours: Charters only from January through March; April to Memorial Day, Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday 1-4 p.m.; Memorial Day to Labor Day, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, noon-4 p.m.; Sundays in October, Pumpkin Patch rides Admission: Adults, $8.50; seniors, $7.50; children age 2-12, $5.50. Information: www.ct-trolley.org.
Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center - Ledyard, CT - Photo Credit Mashantucket Pequot Museum
Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center

110 Pequot Trail Ledyard, CT, 06338 Phone: 860-396-6910 Toll-Free: 800-411-9671

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, 9am - 5pm.
Admission: Adults $22, Seniors & Students with ID $17, Youths 6-17 $13, Children under 6 Free.
Lyman Allyn Art Museum - New London, CT
Lyman Allyn Art Museum

625 Williams Street New London, CT, 06320 Phone: 860-443-2545

Eighteenth-, 19th- and 20th-century art and decorative arts, American Impressionist paintings, contemporary American art, changing exhibits. Outdoor Children's Art Park.
Hours: Tuesday thru Saturday, 10am - 5pm, Sundays 1-5pm.
Admission: Adults $12, Seniors $9, Active Military $7, Students $5, Children 11 & Under Free. Members and New London residents are also Free.
Shore Line Trolley Museum

17 River Street East Haven, CT, 06512 Phone: 203-467-6927

The first half of the twentieth century comes to life throughout this large trolley yard and trolley system. Discover the stories behind painted trolleys, check out trolley equipment, and marvel at photos of days long past. See a full description on our Historic Homes & Sites page.
The Barnum Museum

820 Main Street Bridgeport, CT, 06604 Phone: 203-331-1104

Dedicated to the life of circus imnpresario Phineas Taylor Barnum and those who were influenced by his presence in their lives. 1892 building houses exhibits including a miniature circus model, ancient mummy, historic costumes, Tom Thumb carriages. Museum store. Hours: Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission: Adults, $8; seniors over age 65 and and children age 4 to 17, $5; students, $5. Information: www.barnum-museum.org.
Barker Character, Comic & Cartoon Museum

1188 Highland Ave. (Route 10) Cheshire, CT, 06410 Phone: 203-699-3822

Over 80,000 items including toys and character collectibles from 1873 to present; Western, TV and advertising collectibles; cartoon memorabilia; official musuem for Celebriducks, the California Raisin and Gumby; sculpture gallery. Hours:Wednesday through Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Admission: Adults, $5; children age 2 to 12, $3. 
Carousel Museum of New England

95 Riverside Avenue Bristol, CT, 06010 Phone: 860-585-5411

One of two branches of this unique museum. Exhibits feature antique carousel horses, miniature carousels, and a historic carving shop. Exhibits represent the finest pieces of antique carousel art in existence. The Bristol Center for Arts and Culture features three galleries that include fine art exhibits. The Museum of Fire History displays fire department and firehouse memorabilia. Gift shop. Hours: March-December, Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, noon- 5 p.m.; open during local school holidays. Admission: Adults, $6; seniors, $4.50, children age 4-14, $3.50; children age 1-2, $2. Information: www.thecarouselmuseum.org/
Old Manchester Museum

126 Cedar Street Manchester, CT, 06040 Phone: 860-647-9983

Local historical artifacts including Pitkin Glass Works, Cheney Brothers Silk Mills, Bon Ami Soap Co., military memorial. Manchester Sports Hall of Fame, research and genealogy library, gift shop. Hours: Weekends, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: Adults, $2; children age 16 and younger, free. Information: http://bit.ly/SPcftr
Danbury Railway Museum

120 White Street and Patriot Drive Danbury, CT, 06810 Phone: 203-778-8337

Check out this historic station building and railway yard, on your own with a brochure, or with a tour guide. The historic splendor of this antique place tells a story of how railways changed America, and features unique artifacts. See a full description on ourHistoric Homes & Sites page.
Walking Trail - CT Audubon Birdcraft Museum & Sanctuary - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Audubon Birdcraft Museum & Sanctuary

314 Unquowa Road Fairfield, CT, 06824 Phone: 203-259-0416

Historic museum highlights natural history of the state with dioramas, wildlife exhibits, and dinosaur footprints. Adjacent 6-acre sanctuary with trails.
Hours: Open Monday-Friday, 9am - 5pm. The six-acre Birdcraft Sanctuary is open daily, year-round, from dawn to dusk.
Institute for American Indian Studies

38 Curtis Rd.(off Route 199) Washington, CT, 06793 Phone: 860-868-0518

The Institute for American Indian Studies Museum and Research Center features Native American art and artifacts from 10,000 years ago to present day, hiking trails, outdoor gardens, changing exhibits, and a 16th-century Algonkian village. Explore what life was like in Connecticut 1,000 years ago, sit in a dugout canoe, use replicated tools, and see a full wall mural depicting village life. Information: www.iaismuseum.org.
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
Cost: Adults, $10; seniors, $8; children age 3-12, $6
Florence Griswold Garden - Old Lyme, CT - Photo Credit Connecticut's Historic Gardens
Florence Griswold Museum

96 Lyme Street Old Lyme, CT, 06371 Phone: 860-434-5542

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.
Museum of the Fife and Drum

Highland Terrace at 63 North Main Street Ivoryton, CT, 06442 Phone: 860-767-2237

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.
New Britain Industrial Museum

185 Main Street New Britain, CT, 06051 Phone: 860-832-8654

This history of manufacturing in Central Connecticut is detailed in this museum, featuring exhibits of products made in the region over the past 200 years. Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 2-5 p.m.; Wednesdays. noon-5 p.m. Admission: free. Information: www.nbim.org/
Interior Slater Memorial Museum and Converse Art Gallery Norwich Connecticut
Slater Memorial Museum and Converse Art Gallery

Norwich Free Academy - 108 Crescent Street Norwich, CT, 06360 Phone: 860-887-2506

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.
Imagine Nation Children's Museum

1 Pleasant Street Bristol, CT, 06010 Phone: 860-314-1400

This science museum for kids age 2 to 10 is packed with fun exhibits that allow children to dig into science projects and experiments of all kinds. Some activities that will fascinate children are the Sandsational Sand Pendulum; the Gravity Well; the Tuning Fork Table; a construction zone; Dolls of the World; and Waterplay. Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Admission: $4 per person. 
Mystic Seaport Museum - Mystic, CT
Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea

75 Greenmanville Avenue Mystic, CT, 06355 Phone: 860-572-0711

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.