Clio Logo

The Connecticut River Museum, located on the riverfront in Essex, Connecticut, preserves the history of both Essex village and the Connecticut River waterway. The museum is ran by volunteers and is a non-profit organization established by The Connecticut River Foundation. The museum is located inside of the National Register Steamboat Dock building, and the learning experience can be enjoyed both inside and outside of the museum. Inside of the museum,historic artwork, artifacts, books and manuscripts that were gathered from the area can be examined, as well as a gift shop. There are various outdoor programs situated along the river that the museum provides to visitors as well, such as guided river cruises and walking tours. The museum is open year-round.


  • Connecticut River Museum
  • Inside of the Connecticut River Museum

   The steamboat warehouse that the Connecticut River Museum resides in was built in 1878 and to this day is the last steamboat warehouse that is left along the Connecticut River. In 1974, an organization called the Connecticut River Foundation formed, and their goal was to create a museum in the warehouse that was dedicated to the maritime history of the Connecticut River and surrounding areas. The galleries inside of the museum include historic paintings, folk life of Essex exhibits, navigation collections, and yacht and steamboat historical exhibits. 
      Views of the Connecticut River as it changes throughout history can be seen through a series of paintings that are on display in the art gallery. Beautiful water color paintings that portray the changing industrial buildings and commerce along the river can also be viewed in the art section. In the folk- life section of the museum, visitors can expect to see a vast collection of various handmade tools that were used by the locals of the lower River Valley Essex. Included in the collection of artifacts that inhabitants used for hunting and fishing, as well as a few of the boats that were used for fisherman or river travel. In the navigational department, many more tools such as the old compasses and telescopes used by travelers on the river can be examined. Since the Connecticut River attracted many yacht owners in the 1890s, there is a display that contains models of yachts for the public to enjoy. 
      When visitors finish their thrilling tour through the Connecticut River Museum, they can continue on their journey through Connecticut maritime enlightenment on the riverfront beside of the museum and even on the river! The very first submarine used during the American Revolution, The Turtle, can be explored on the grounds of the museum. From June to October, visitors can make arrangements to go on a tour of the river aboard the Mary E, and in February and March, American bald eagles can be seen flying over the river.  Antique boats shows and boat parades occur throughout the year as well. All of the events are must-see, and will provide children and adults alike with endless learning opportunities through educational programs and tours. 

"Connecticut River Museum" Last updated 2014. http://www.ctrivermuseum.org/about-us/history-mission/ "Connecticut: Still Revolutionary". Connecticut River Museum. Last updated 2013.http://www.ctvisit.com/museums-and-galleries/connecticut-river-museum/summary/1598 "Experience Essex Connecticut". Connecticut River Museum. Date accessed: 11/14 http://www.essexct.com/businessinfo.php?bus=84 "The History List". Connecticut River Museum. Last updated: 2014 http://www.thehistorylist.com/organizations/connecticut-river-museum-essex-connecticut?past_page=2