The Best Family Museums in Greater Worcester

By Noelle Monaghan - Worcester Macaroni KID Publisher January 26, 2023

The Greater Worcester area boasts several family-friendly museums that are well worth a visit. Whether you're interested in history, science, or the arts, there's something for everyone. Before heading out, it's always a good idea to call ahead and confirm the museum's hours and admission rates. With a little bit of planning, you can enjoy a fun and educational day exploring the many exhibits and attractions that these museums have to offer.

Worcester Historical Museum 

Worcester Historical Museum - $5/adult and free for children 18 and under, free parking. Worcester Historical Museum (WHM) is the only institution devoted to local history. It includes a research library of over 7,000 titles, an archive that houses thousands of documents, and a collection of artifacts, all vital to the study of Worcester history. A few examples of WHM’s holdings include correspondence of abolitionist Abby Kelley Foster, Blackstone Canal Company records, Civil War era diaries and letters, and artifacts including early woodenware and ceramics, weaponry from the colonial era through World War II, paintings and sculptures, and a significant costume and textile collection.


The EcoTarium museum of science and nature in Worcester, Massachusetts, offers an indoor-outdoor experience to visitors of all ages. Guests are encouraged to explore three floors of indoor interactive exhibits, live animal habitats, daily Science Discovery programs, hikes through forest and meadow nature trails, outdoor imaginative play, and a train ride (seasonal) around the 45+ acre campus.

Holy Cross Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery 

Holy Cross Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery in Worcester (free). The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery exists to promote and support the intellectual and cultural life of Holy Cross. Through its exhibitions and acquisitions, both historical and contemporary, the Gallery serves as a catalyst for the search for meaning and value in life and history. The Cantor Gallery has special responsibility for integrating the liberal arts values of the College and the classroom by linking exhibitions to the broader curriculum.

American Antiquarian Society

The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) cultivates a deeper understanding of the American past, grounded in its ever-growing collection of printed and manuscript sources. The Society fosters a broad community of inquiry through inclusive programs and generous support of scholarship. A national research library and learned society founded in 1812 by Revolutionary War patriot and printer Isaiah Thomas, AAS is located in Worcester, Massachusetts. The AAS library today houses the largest and most accessible collection of books, pamphlets, broadsides, newspapers, periodicals, children's literature, music, and graphic arts material printed before the twentieth century in what is now the United States, as well as manuscripts and a substantial collection of secondary texts, bibliographies, and digital resources and reference works. Free public tours of Antiquarian Hall are given every Wednesday at 3:00 pm. Public tours begin in our introductory gallery and may include a view of the Society's eighteenth century printing press, newly constructed conservation lab and learning lab spaces, the library stacks and the reading room.

Major Taylor Museum 

Major Taylor Museum in Worcester (Explore the life of the fastest man in the world. Tuesday through Saturday, 10AM to 4PM; Always free and open to the public. Call ahead to schedule a tour)

Worcester Center for Crafts 

The Worcester Center for Crafts plays an important role in maintaining central New England's edge on crafts education, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. The Worcester Center for Crafts is a nonprofit, community-based arts organization committed to: Providing quality craft education, Assisting artists/artisans to gain visibility and marketplace prominence, Supporting entrepreneurship in the arts, Promoting an appreciation for fine craft and the handmade object. In 1856, we were established as the Worcester Employment Society. In the early days, the Center forged its tradition of economic empowerment through craft by teaching the skills necessary to create and sell handmade crafts primarily to immigrants and immigrant women. Today, the Worcester Center for Crafts is an organization that still sees the value of craft in improving the quality of life for Worcester residents. The Worcester Center for Crafts completed its 153rd year in 2009 by forging an alliance and partnership with Worcester State University . WSU's Visual and Performing Arts classes in art and music meet in our studios, and student transportation is provided by the Sagamore Shuttle. WSU, as our partner, provides much needed support, including leadership expertise. Together, we are moving forward into a future of "inspiring and building a creative community through the promotion, appreciation and teaching of craft."

Salisbury Mansion 

Salisbury Mansion located at 40 Highland Street, is Worcester’s only historic house museum.  Built in 1772 as a combination house and store, it served as the home of “gentleman-merchant” Stephen Salisbury.  The store closed after the Embargo of 1812, and by 1820 all of the space once used for the store had become living quarters.  Salisbury Mansion was originally located at Lincoln Square.  Through tireless research and documentation,  Salisbury Mansion has been restored to the 1830s to reflect the time when it was home to the widow Elizabeth Tuckerman Salisbury. It is considered one of the best documented historic house museums in New England.

General Artemas Ward House 

General Artemas Ward House at 786 Main St in Shrewsbury (The Museum is Open April 15-November 30, Wednesday-Saturday, 10-12 & 1-4 or by appointment). Artemas Ward, a great-grandson of General Artemas Ward and an advertising magnate, had purchased the house from Henry Galbraith Ward and built the caretaker’s cottage for Florence to live in. He revealed his deep interest in his family’s history both by publishing books related to the family and by providing for the house after his death. He donated the house along with a substantial endowment on the conditions that Harvard maintain the home as a “public patriotic museum” and shed more light on the service of Major General Artemas Ward. The Ward family’s enduring interest in its own heritage ensured the preservation of this unique piece of American history even as it passed out of their hands.

Westborough Historical Museum

Westborough Historical Museum (The Sibley House, located at 13 Parkman Street in Westborough, is open by appointment). The Sibley House is on the National Register of Historic Places and is located in a historic district in town. The brick house contains collections of early furniture and household tools, paintings, maps, textiles, glassware and china.  Each of the three period rooms upstairs represents a century of Westborough history. They contain artifacts that tell the story of the growth of the town from an agricultural society to a modern center for industry and commerce.  The Society also has an extensive collection of early photographs of the town as well as newer ones that document the development of Westborough.

Worcester Art Museum

Worcester Art Museum (1st Sun of the month it is free). The Worcester Art Museum creates transformative programs and exhibitions, drawing on its exceptional collection of art. Dating from 3,000 BC to the present, these works provide the foundation for a focus on audience engagement, connecting visitors of all ages and abilities with inspiring art and demonstrating its enduring relevance to daily life. Creative initiatives— including pioneering collaborative programs with local schools, fresh approaches to exhibition design and in-gallery teaching, and a long history of studio class instruction—offer opportunities for diverse audiences to experience art and learn both from and with artists.

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