The Ipswich Museum was founded as the Ipswich Historical Society in 1890. It is comprised of two historic buildings: the Whipple House and the John Heard House, which serves as the museum's headquarters. The museum chronicles the city and surrounding area's history and it also features fine and decorative art, artifacts from the Ipswich Female Seminary, and Chinese artifacts. The Whipple House, which was built in 1677, is an excellent example of how architecture changed the early Colonial period to the 19th century. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also designated a National Historic Landmark.
The historical society bought the Whipple House in 1898 and opened it to the public a year later. In 1927, the society moved the Heard House (built in 1800) to its current location and began using it as its headquarters in 1939. Both structures have undergone restoration.