Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth

4.4
#3 of 9 in Museums in Plymouth
The Pilgrim Hall Museum at 75 Court Street in Plymouth, Massachusetts is the oldest public museum in the United States in continuous operation, having opened in 1824.HistoryThe Pilgrim Society, established in 1820, runs the museum. The museum tells the story of the Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony. Architect Alexander Parris designed the museum building, which is built of Quincy granite and opened in 1824. Russell Warren constructed a wooden portico in 1834, which had Doric columns supporting a triangular pediment. The museum was extensively upgraded in the 1880s, and a library wing added in 1904. In 1922 the original wooden portico was replaced by the present six-column Greek Revival temple front, which was designed by McKim Mead & White. In 2008, an addition was added to the museum along with a new sign, activities, and advertising throughout the downtown area. Its building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.CollectionsThe Pilgrim Hall Museum contains artifact collections, artwork, a library, and archives. Prominent pieces include original Pilgrim era artifacts, such as the original Brewster Chair and a 1651 portrait of Edward Winslow, the only known contemporaneous Pilgrim portrait. The museum owns the remnants of the Sparrow Hawk, the only known remains of a trans-Atlantic 17th-century ship which wrecked off of Cape Cod in 1626. The Sparrow Hawk remnants are currently in storage. The top part of Plymouth Rock sat in front of the building from the 1830s to the 1880s, when it was reunited with the bottom half in the Plymouth waterfront. A portion of the Rock was retained at the museum where visitors are currently permitted to touch it.
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Pilgrim Hall Museum Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
435 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • It took about an hour to visit this small museum. It was very educational about an important piece of history. I really enjoyed the 15-minute information video. The admission is $12 for adult and $8 f...  more »
  • Lots of stories are told about the pilgrim fathers. Most of them are presented here and discussed fairly with reasons. Best info I have seen with lots of relevant artefacts. Great place to find out wh...  more »
Google
  • I love the history, I love that it’s actually open in February. The ladies working were adorable and so helpful! Although it’s not large, there are many neat artifacts and a lot to learn! I had a great experience and I’m really happy I went. Kids are free in February which was awesome because we came late at 350, and they close promptly at 430. I could have used some more time. The kids got age appropriate scavenger hunts which they loved. Recommend go! I think an hour would be adequate.
  • This is a small museum but well worth the visit because of the unique artifacts within. There is a good display to inform you about the actions of the Pilgrims before they came to North America. For example, I learned that they did not come straight from England! The film is good, and there are pieces in the museum that were belongings of the Pilgrims. I was especially impressed by the cradle of the first baby in the colony, the country’s oldest needlework sampler, and the colony charters. When I visited, there was a very good informative collection of clothing which talked about how the Pilgrims have been portrayed over the years and what they actually wore. There was also a rotating exhibit to the left of the front door which, when I visited, contained examples of wedding dresses from the 1600s to present day. The museum also contains a library and a very nice collection of oil paintings. There is a small gift shop with books, trinkets, and jewelry. There is very limited parking in the front, but a larger lot in the back. Handicapped people should try to park in the front if possible. The building does have an elevator and air-conditioning. Allow an hour for your visit, or more if something particularly interests you.

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