When the summertime impulse to get out of the house encounters the drearier forces of nature, don’t just hunker down in front of a screen. Hit the road and discover the many bright worlds to be explored inside New Hampshire’s inner space. Museums, large and small, offer journeys into the past and the future and provide new ways of looking at our state and our planet. And if you are feeling lucky, pack a picnic lunch, ’cause you never know when the sun might break through.
Before you head out, make sure you check each museum’s website for updates on reservations, rules and capacity limits.
North Country Museums
Museum of the White Mountains
34 Highland St., Plymouth, NH
Hours: Open starting June 3 Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Sundays, Mondays and university holidays.
About: Opened in February of 2013, this relatively new museum is located on the Plymouth State University campus. The museum’s mission is to preserve, celebrate and promote the history, environmental legacy and culture of the region.
New England Ski Museum
Route 16, North Conway, NH
135 Tramway Dr., Franconia, NH
Hours: The North Conway location is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week from Memorial Day through March; in April and May it’s open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. The Franconia location is open every day 10 a.m.-5 p.m. from Memorial Day through the end of ski season at Cannon Mountain, which is normally in early April.
About: The long-time location at Franconia Notch State Park has been, and will remain, a welcoming home for the permanent and annually produced exhibitions, as well as the vast and growing collections. The Eastern Slope Branch of the New England Ski Museum opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday February 24, 2018, and houses a history of skiing. Their mission is to collect, conserve and exhibit elements of ski history for research, education and inspiration.
The Frost Place
158 Ridge Rd., Franconia, NH
Hours: The museum and barn remain closed to the general public. The museum grounds, the poetry trail and Robert Frost’s porch are always open to the public.
About: Simple country cottage where Robert Frost and his family spent summers and lived full time from 1915 to 1920. The cottage has a half-mile nature trail with plaques displaying poems written during the poet’s Franconia years and a small exhibit of signed first-editions of Frost’s work.
Old Man of the Mountain Museum
Franconia State Park, Franconia, NH
Hours: Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.
About: The stone face might be gone, but his memory lives on in this small museum, located in the Cannon Mountain aerial tramway base station, with an Old Man gift shop (open from Memorial Day Weekend to Columbus Day) and a display of photos and artifacts. The collection includes the turnbuckle used to fasten the Old Man to the mountain when the stone face was crumbling. The Old Man of the Mountain Profile Plaza & Historic Site, located at exit 34B from I-93 (walk around the Old Man Museum and Gift Shop building to the right and follow the path down to Profile Lake) features a monument honoring the state’s much-loved emblem. The Plaza includes seven steel “profilers” that recreate the visage of the Old Man looking over Franconia Notch and hundreds of paver stones purchased by friends of the Old Man engraved with personal messages.
Gorham Historical Society & Railroad Museum
25 Railroad St., Gorham, NH
Hours: Open Wednesday through Saturday from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
About: Situated in a 1907 depot, this museum contains memorabilia of the Grand Trunk Railroad including a B&M 4265 diesel, a Baldwin steam locomotive, Russell snow plow, a caboose and four freight cars, and Fairmont ST2 Track Inspection Car.
Lakes Region Museums
Remick Country Doctor Museum and Farm
58 Cleveland Hill Rd., Tamworth, NH
Hours: Farm grounds, museum center and store are open daily from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Admission: Pay what you can.
About: You can see a working farm with sheep, goats, pigs, cows, steers and chickens. Nestled in the heart of New Hampshire, the farm offers year-round history, season-based learning opportunities and exploratory fun for all generations. Discover Remick!
Poore Family Homestead Historic Farm Museum
629 Hollow Rd. Route 145, Stewartstown, NH
Hours: Open June through September 30, Friday-Sunday and holidays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Suggested admission: $5 per person and children under 12 are free.
About: A working farm and museum recounting one farm family’s life on the property from the 1830s through the 1980s.
- Did you know that the most lucrative period of farming in New Hampshire was during the sheep farming boom from 1810-1830.
New Hampshire Boat Museum
399 Center St., Wolfeboro, NH
Hours: Open Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day weekend. Off-peak: From Memorial Day weekend through the last weekend of June, and after Labor Day in September, open Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Peak: From the last weekend of June through Labor Day in September, open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from 12-4 p.m. Thursday admission is free.
Admission: Adults are $10, seniors (65+) are $8, students 13-21 are $6, children 12 and under are free and the group rate for 10 or more people is $6 per person.
About: Displays of historic and contemporary power boats, canoes and other watercraft used on local lakes. You can also take a lake cruise aboard the replica Millie B.
The Wright Museum of World War II
77 Center St., Wolfeboro, NH
Hours: Open May 1-October 31, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Monday-Saturday and 12-4 p.m. on Sunday. Closed November through April.
Admission: Adults are $14; military and seniors are $11; students ages 5-17 are $8; and children under 4 are free. The family rate for two adults/seniors and three students 5-17 is $40.
About: Exhibit of World War II memorabilia, including tanks, posters, home front exhibits and other art and artifacts from the Greatest Generation.
American Classic Arcade Museum
Funspot, 579 Endicott St. North, Laconia, NH
Hours: Monday through Friday from 12-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Admission: Free, donations encouraged.
About: Claims to have the largest collection of vintage working arcade games in the world.
- Did you know that the cult film “King of Kong” was filmed at Funspot, the site of the arcade museum.
New Hampshire Farm Museum
1305 White Mountain Hwy., Milton, NH
Hours: Open to the public May 21 to mid-June, weekends only from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. From mid-June to August 30, open Wednesday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Open September 1-mid-October, weekends only from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Closed for the winter except for special events.
Admission: $12 for adults, $8 for seniors (65+), $6 for juniors (4-17) and free for children 4 and under, active military members and museum members.
About: Learn about three centuries of New Hampshire farm life at this working farm.
Lake Winnipesaukee Museum
503 Endicott St., Laconia, NH
Hours: Open Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., from mid-June through Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day weekend.
About: Exhibit includes vintage souvenir postcards, photographs and memorabilia of summer camps and steamboats.
- Did you know that at one time there were more than 100 summer boys and girls camps on Lake Winnipesaukee, the majority run by educators interested in the physical and moral health of youth? There are now about two dozen camps left.
755 North Main Street, Wolfeboro, NH
Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sundays 12-4 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day, then weekends (10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays and noon-4 p.m. on Sundays) until Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day weekend.
Admission: $5 for adults and free to seniors, veterans and children 15 and under.
About: A natural history museum built in 1912 by local dentist Henry Libby includes mounted animals, Abenaki Indian artifacts and more.
Concord Area Museums
New Hampshire Historical Society
30 Park Street, Concord, NH
Hours: The Society’s exhibits are open from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Admission: $7 for ages 18 and older.
About: The New Hampshire Historical Society’s museum includes a Concord Coach, 19th-century paintings of the White Mountains, Abenaki artifacts and the “mystery stone” (don’t ask, you’ll have to visit). The museum even has a re-creation of a fire lookout tower on the roof with a magnificent view of the Merrimack River as it corkscrews its way north.
Canterbury Shaker Village
288 Shaker Rd., Canterbury, NH
Hours: For the 2023 season, guided tours are offered Tuesday through Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Village store and exhibit hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.. The village grounds and trails are open every day from dawn to dusk and are free to visit.
Admission: Guided outdoor tours are $25; group tours are $20, minimum 12 guests. See the website for additional tour information. Admission to the grounds and trails is always free.
About: Canterbury Shaker Village is a tribute to the 200-year history of the Canterbury Shakers with 25 restored original Shaker buildings, four reconstructed Shaker buildings and 694 acres of forests, fields, gardens, nature trails and mill ponds. On site is one of the best museum gift shops in the state and The Shaker Box Lunch & Farm Stand offering sandwiches, salads, soups, baked goods and local products.
McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
2 Institute Dr., Concord, NH
Hours: Usually open Wednesday through Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Check website for more detailed listing of hours.
Admission: $12 for adults, $9 for children ages 3-12, $11 for seniors ages 62+, $11 for students ages 13-college, free for children ages 2 and under. Planetarium shows are $6 per person ages 3 and up.
About: Foster a sense of wonder and curiosity about astronomy, aviation, earth and space science with the center’s many exhibits, activities, planetarium and more. There are also a number of programs and events scheduled throughout the year.
- Did you know that when New Hampshire’s own Alan Shepard became the first American in space in 1961, his 302-mile trip took only 15 minutes.
New Hampshire Telephone Museum
1 Depot St., Warner, NH
Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. May 1 to October 29.
Admission: $7 for adults 18-64 ($10 w/ tour), $6 for seniors 65+ ($9 w/tour), $5 for students 5-17 ($8 w/ tour).
About: View a collection of telephones, equipment and tools from the very first telephones to the latest wireless devices. Display includes hand-cranked magneto boxes familiar to viewers of old movies — you know, “call me on the Don Ameche.” Visitors to the New Hampshire Telephone Museum can now also enhance their experience by using their mobile tour app.
- Did you know that until the New England Hurricane of 1938 small, private telephone companies were common in New Hampshire? It was only after all those trees fell that Bell Telephone bought them out and prospered.
Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum
18 Highlawn Rd., Warner, NH
Hours: Open daily from May 1 to October 31. Open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Sunday from 12-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults are $11; seniors, veterans and students are $10; children ages 6-12 are $8 and children under 6 are free. There is no admission fee for Native Americans.
About: View exhibits of Native Americana — dioramas, clothing and crafts as well as teepee mockup and a nature trail highlighting plants used for medicine and Native American rituals.
Manchester Area Museums
Currier Museum of Art
150 Ash St., Manchester, NH
Hours: Open Thursdays from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults are $15; seniors (65+) are $13; students are $10; youth (13-17) are $5. Timed tickets are no longer required, and general admission tickets can be purchased onsite.
About: The Currier is considered to be one of the best small museums in the country and includes European and American paintings, decorative arts, photographs and sculpture, including works by Picasso, Monet, O’Keeffe and Wyeth. The museum also offers tours of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Zimmerman House and Kalil House, and has an on-site café, The Winter Garden.
SEE Science Center
200 Bedford St., Manchester, NH
Hours: Open Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m.-5 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Admission: Cost is $12 per person ages 3 and up. Reservations are recommended. Walk-ins will be turned away if the museum is at capacity.
About: SEE Science Center, located on Bedford Street in the city’s historic Millyard District, has two floors of hands-on science, with something to keep every kid busy, including touch-and-try exhibits on light, electricity, forces, momentum, sound and the SEE’s centerpiece, the LEGO Millyard Project. The impressive — and huge — LEGO-made diorama shows Manchester as it looked in 1900.
200 Bedford St., Manchester, NH
Hours: Open all year, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults are $10; seniors and college students are $8; children age 12-18 are $5; and under 12 are free.
About: Millyard Museum’s permanent display, “Woven in time: 11,000 Years at Amoskeag Falls,” displays the history of one of the largest textile mills in the world, which employed more than 17,000 people at its peak. The museum houses the over 600,000 documents and artifacts from the Manchester Historical Society, from neon shoe store signs to textile looms. Visitors to the Millyard Museum can also now enhance their experience by using a new mobile tour app as they explore the museum.
Aviation Museum of New Hampshire
27 Navigator Rd., Londonderry, NH
Hours: Open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.- 4 p. m. and on Sunday from 1-4 p.m.
Admission: Adults (13+) are $10; seniors are $5; children 6-12 are $5; under 6 are free; veterans are $5; max family price is $30.
About: Airplane models, photographs and memorabilia of Granite State’s history in the air. The museum is housed in the original Art Deco terminal building built in 1937.
- Did you know the terminal building was one of only two structures in the United States moved across a working runway.
American Credit Union Museum
420 Notre Dame Ave., Manchester, NH
Hours: Open by appointment only Tuesday-Thursday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
About: The museum was the former dwelling of Joseph Boivin, manager of the St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association, with period offices and exhibits on the history of the credit union.
- Did you know that St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association was the first credit union in the country? It was founded by Monsignor Pierre Hevey and his Manchester parishioners in 1908.
Seacoast Area Museums
Strawbery Banke Museum
14 Hancock St., Portsmouth, NH
Hours: The historic house season is May 1-October 31. Strawbery Banke Museum’s nearly 10-acre campus, including the historic buildings and historical gardens, is open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., closing at 4 p.m. on weekdays in May, June, September and October.
Admission: Adult are $23; seniors are $21; children ages 5-17 are $10; children under 5 are free; families (two adults accompanying children under 17) are $56.
About: This 10-acre site was the location of the first Portsmouth settlement in 1630 and continued to be a residential area until the 1960s. The restored buildings represent over 300 years of our state and nation’s history. Check out their calendar to see what special events are happening throughout their season.
6-9 Market Square, Portsmouth, NH
Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday from 1-4 p.m.
About: The Athenæum today continues a long tradition of membership-only libraries and mutual improvement by maintaining a library of over 40,000 volumes and an archive of manuscripts, photographs, objects and ephemera relating to local history. It also sponsors exhibitions, concerts, lectures and other educational and cultural programs.
Seacoast Science Center
570 Ocean Boulevard in Odiorne State Park, Rye, NH
Hours: Open Wednesday-Monday (closed Tuesday) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission: Ages 12 and above are $12; seniors and active military are $10; ages 3-11 are $8; and under 3 are free. Reservations are recommended.
About: Enjoy a variety of fish tanks and exhibits of the Seacoast. The 32-foot-long skeleton of a humpback whale hangs from the museum’s ceiling.
- Did you know that the heart of the average humpback whale weighs 430 pounds — about as much as three adult humans.
Children’s Museum of New Hampshire
6 Washington St., Dover, NH
Hours: Open Wednesday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. Open Tuesdays and Sundays from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Admission: $12.50 for adults and children over age 1; seniors (65+) are $10.50.
About: Check out hands-on learning and fun for all ages. Climb through caves, discover dinosaurs and learn to fly. There are also numerous ongoing STEAM innovation programs as well as special events.
Derry History Museum
29 West Broadway, Derry, NH
Hours: Wednesdays 6-7:30 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
About: This local potpourri includes Native American artifacts like a dugout canoe and a quill basket. There’s also a room devoted to native son, astronaut Alan Shepard and a rock artifact commemorating the growing of the first potato in North America in town in 1719.
40 Park Ave., Hampton, NH
Hours: Open in the spring, summer and fall on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
Admission: Free but donations are appreciated.
About: Exhibit of millstones, monuments, a fire station museum, old postcards and memorabilia of this seaside town first settled by Puritans in 1638. Collection includes the Viking’s Stone thought by some to be a relic of an early visit to the area by Norsemen.
182 Central Ave., Dover, NH
Hours: Open Wednesday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., April-November.
Admission: Adults are $15; seniors, adult students, teachers and military are $10; children and students 4-17 are $7; and children 3 and under are free.
About: Eclectic collection of local art artifacts including 1,300 labeled rocks and minerals and a 10-foot tall polar bear. Exhibit also includes the last cougar killed in the state, in 1843.
- Did you know that the last cougar in the state was killed in 1843.
American Independence Museum
1 Governors Lane, Exeter, NH
Hours: Tours available Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., May-November.
Admission: $8-$12 for adults; $6-$9 for seniors; military and children under 12 free.
About: Permanent collections include American furnishings, ceramics, silver, textiles and military ephemera. The museum was founded in 1991 to display rare Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence found on the property in 1985.
USS Albacore Museum Albacore Park
569 Submarine Way, Portsmouth, NH
Hours: From June to October 11, they’re open daily from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. with the last ticket sold at 4 p.m.
Admission: Adults are $11; children age 5-14 are $5; retired military, veterans and seniors are $8; active military are free; families (2 adults, 2 children, max, ages 14 and under) are $25.
About: Take a hands-on tour of a submarine built in at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. You can sit on the bunks and tables in the cramped quarters and even check out the traffic on Route 1 Bypass through the periscope.
- Did you know that the USS Albacore was an experimental submarine built expressly for speed in 1953? Fish were used as a model. The vessel ship has a cod’s head and a mackerel’s tail.
Monadnock Area Museums
Mariposa Museum and World Culture Center
26 Main St., Peterborough, NH
Hours: Open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults are $8; seniors are $6; children ages 3-16 are $5.
About: An interactive museum of artifacts from around the world including drums, costumes, chimes and marionettes in a historic Baptist church. Make sure to visit the outdoor zen garden.
Florence H. Speare Memorial Museum
5 Abbott St., Nashua, NH
Hours: Open Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
About: Operated by the Nashua Historical Society, this small museum features Industrial Age artifacts, an impressive selection of historical textiles and rotating exhibits.
Horatio Colony Museum and Nature Preserve
199 Main St., Keene, NH
Hours: Open May 1 through October 15 on Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
About: The four-square Federal-style house built in 1806 was the home of Horatio Colony, descendant of one of Keene’s historic families, and is filled with original family furnishings.
Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee museums
The Aidron Duckworth Art Museum
21 Bean Rd., Meriden, NH
Hours: Open April 27 through October 27 on Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. or anytime by appointment.
About: This museum is dedicated to preserving and presenting the artworks of Aidron Duckworth. The building, Meriden’s former “White School,” was an elementary school from 1940 to 1972. From 1977 to 2001 it was Duckworth’s home and studio, and for a brief time his art school for adults. You’ll also find works from guest artists, four changing exhibitions each year and sculptures outdoors on the former school grounds and Duckworth’s gardens.
Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site
139 Saint Gaudens Rd., Cornish, NH
Hours: The park’s gardens, grounds, trails and some outdoor statues are accessible year-round, dawn to dusk. The historic buildings and visitor center are open daily from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Memorial Day to October 31.
Admission: $10 for ages 16 and ove. The receipt is valid for seven days and may be used for reentry to the park. Children 15 and under are free.
About: This is the home, studios and gardens of famed American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The park’s trails and grounds are open year-round, dawn till dusk for hiking use. The Visitor Center is typically open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Memorial Day weekend (late May) to Oct 31. Guided tours are offered during this time.
- Did you know that Augustus Saint-Gaudens was the first sculptor to design an American coin? The $20 gold piece he designed in 1907 at the request of Theodore Roosevelt is known as a “Saint-Gaudens” by coin collectors. Click here for our guide to the Saint-Gaudens estate plus a history of the artist’s life.
The Fells Historic Estate and Gardens
456 Route 103A, Newbury, NH
Hours: House, trails and garden hours vary. Click here for complete details. The main house and shop are open from Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day weekend. During the spring and fall, they’re open weekend and Monday holidays; during the summer, Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m.- 4p.m.
Admission: Adults are $10; seniors and students are $8; children ages 6-17 are $4; and ages 5 and under are free.
About: The Fells spans across 83 acres of beauty and tranquility. Visitors can learn the legacy of diplomat and statesman John Milton Hay, tour the 22-room Colonial Revival home, explore the forests, walk the woodland trails and enjoy the renowned gardens. The Fells is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a preservation project of The Garden Conservancy.
The Hood Museum of Art
6 E. Wheelock St., Hanover, NH
Hours: Regular gallery hours are Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday-Friday 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday 1-5 p.m. Closed Sunday-Tuesday.
About: The Hood Museum of Art dates back to 1772 and is owned and operated by Dartmouth College. It houses both permanent collections and visiting exhibitions.
Enfield Shaker Museum
Rte. 4A, Enfield, NH
Hours: Open May 17-October 31, Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., with guided tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5 p.m., with guided tours at 1 and 3 p.m.
Admission: Adults are $14; ages 11-17 are $8; children 6-10 are $3; and children 5 and under are free.
About: Canterbury was not the state’s only Shaker village — one also once thrived on Mascoma Lake in Enfield. Thirteen of the original buildings still survive and the Great Stone Dwelling, the largest structure ever built by the sect, is now a museum. The collection includes clothing, furniture, tools and photographs of the earnest agriculturists. The museum also has an extensive herb and flower garden.