The Best History Museums in Boston
Boston is a history lover's dream. A vast number of museums, historical sites, and monuments dot its urban landscape. History museums offer visitors a peek into the past, and are a great way to learn more about this unique city. Some of the most popular museums include spots along the Freedom Trail such as Old North Church as well as the Museum of African American History in Beacon Hill. For your next trip to Boston, here are the best history museums worth checking out.
This famous ship, referred to as Old Ironsides, was named by George Washington. It's a wooden-hulled, three masted, heavy frigate that was launched in 1797. It's also the oldest commissioned naval vessel that's still afloat. The ship is docked at Charlestown's Navy Yard and is part of the famous Freedom Trail. The ship's museum is located across the pier and is privately owned (with a suggested admission donation).
24 Third Street, Charlestown, Boston, Massachusetts, 02128
Old State House
Dating back to 1713, the Old State House was the site of the Boston Massacre where British soldiers fired into protesting colonists. This building was the seat of British government at the time, and became a spot where local colonists debated the details about their government leading to the revolution. Now, the building is a museum (combined with the Old South Meeting House) showcasing exhibits from the history of the revolutionary era.
206 Washington St, Downtown, Boston, Massachusetts
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
This library and museum offers a legacy to the Kennedy family and the 35th president. It's located in a dramatic building made of white concrete and dark tinted glass. There are galleries that feature a timeline and glimpse into the lives of the Kennedy's. This is a successfully done museum and a moving tribute to a respected president.
Columbia Point, Dorchester, Boston, MA, 02125
Old North Church
This historic church is one of the main landmarks in the historic area of Boston's North End. Surrounded by houses and buildings that are hundreds of years old, the church itself dates back to 1723. Not only is it well preserved, but it has a special place in American history as the beginning of Paul Revere's famous ride to let everyone know that the British were indeed coming. Self-guided tours of the church are available, and additionally visitors can go down into the crypt underneath the church as well. Furthermore, the church is open for services on Sundays if you make a reservation.
193 Salem Street, North End, Boston, Massachusetts, 02113
USS Cassin Young
The USS Cassin Young was a Fletcher-class destroyer in the U.S. Navy.
10 Third Street, Dock Square, Boston, Massachusetts, 02128
Museum of African American History
This museum educates visitors on the African American community and the people who lived on the north slope of Beacon Hill during the 19th century. This community actively worked to improve civil rights during this time. The two buildings that make up the museum include the African Meeting House, which is the oldest, still standing black church, and the Abiel Smith School, which is the country's oldest public school for African American children. It later became the headquarters for black Civil War veterans.
46 Joy St, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA, 02114
Gibson House Museum
This 1859 house on Beacon Street was designed with an Italian Renaissance style. There are guided tours available that take you through the four floors that are ornately decorated with elegant staircases and Victorian style furniture. A highlight of the tour is seeing the kitchen and bathroom from the turn of the century.
137 Beacon St, Back Bay, Boston, MA, 02116
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
You'll feel like you stepped back in time as this museum brings history to life. There are real life actors who portray this notable time in history through reenactments of a series of iconic events that led to the Revolutionary War. Beginning with the Sons of Liberty Meeting that was led by Samuel Adams, following through to the Boston Tea Party and finally Paul Revere's ride, you will experience it all at this historical museum. Kids and adults alike will enjoy this interactive experience.
306 Congress St, Seaport District, South Boston, Boston, MA, 02210
The Paul Revere House
This simple, two story, wood-frame home offers a glimpse into how Paul Revere and his family lived during the late 18th century. The Tudor-style house is part of the Freedom Trail.
19 N Square, North End, Boston, MA, 02113
This living history museum is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It recreates the first Pilgrim settlement in North America, which dates back to 1620. The small village has an authentic atmosphere with farm animals, basic cabins, simple furnishings that stay true to the time period. There are actors who are dressed the part and have real life roles in the town. They're available to answer any questions you may have.
137 Warren Ave, Plymouth, MA, 02360
First Harrison Gray Otis House
This 1796 Federal-style house has been fully restored with bright colors, and elegant but timely furnishings. It offers a glimpse at upper class life in Boston during the late 1700s and early 1800s. There's also an interesting architecture museum in the basement.
141 Cambridge Stree, West End, Boston, MA, 02114
Boston Fire Museum
This small museum has exhibits on the historical aspects of firefighting. There are hand-operated pumpers from 1793 and a steam pumper from 1882. There's also a ladder truck from 1860. This is a fun museum for kids who like fire trucks and all things related to firefighting.
344 Congress St, Seaport District, South Boston, Boston, MA, 02210
Nichols House Museum
The Nichols House Museum is located in an old Victorian mansion that was once owned by Rose Standish Nichols. This is a small and unique Boston museum that has a collection of art and furniture.
55 Mt Vernon St, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA, 02108
The West End Museum
This local museum is focused on the history of the West End neighborhood in Boston. It's a smaller museum, but it's a fun and unique place to visit that offers a glimpse into the real West End neighborhood, it's history and culture, and everything that makes it special.
150 Staniford St Suite 7, West End, Boston, MA, 02114
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $20 to $360. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $114. A few of the best options are below.
Where to Stay in Boston
How much do vacation rentals cost in Boston? Prices vary by location, date, size of the place, and the level of luxury. See below for options.