The Wenham Museum serves to “protect, preserve and interpret the artifacts of childhood, domestic life, and the history and culture of Boston’s North Shore” (“Mission”). Featuring over 45,000 artifacts about life in New England from the 17th century onward, the museum is home to collections of dolls, toys, historic costumes, textiles, photographs, and a model train gallery. The museum is an interactive and engaging learning environment that includes a Family Discovery Gallery, full of interactive hands-on activities; a period playhouse; a general store; blocks; doll houses; and musical instruments.
Backstory and Context
In 1921, the Wenham Village Improvement Society purchased the Clafin-Gerrish-Richards House, where the museum resides today. The society received its first collection when previous resident Elizabeth Richards Horton donated her doll collection in 1922. With the addition of the Pickeny Library and the Burnham Hall meeting room, the museum officially opened in 1953. During 1996 and 1997, the museum underwent a massive expansion and renovation and then celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2013.