The Wenham Museum

What an astonishing museum! “An undiscovered gem” was how the docent at the desk described it on our way out, and she is right. Barbara and I visited the Wenham Museum yesterday — our first time in Wenham for either of us, despite the fact that Barbara has lived in the Boston area for 28 years and I’ve lived here for 44!

So why hadn’t we known about this wonderful historical museum, especially given my interest in model railroads? I guess it’s because it is indeed an undiscovered gem. Anyway, along with temporary exhibits, there are only three types of permanent ones here, two of which very much interested me, and the third of which might well interest you (depending on who you are):

  • First and foremost (in my unbiased opinion) is a collection of model railroad layouts, including several well-done ones of various scales on permanent exhibit. When we went, there were also several extra ones being shown for the past three months, including a stunning one built entirely out of Legos! You can see images at the New England Lego Users Group gallery. Observe that everything in this huge layout was made from Lego pieces, including not only scenery and buildings but also the fully functioning trains and amusement park rides. The other layouts were all conventional ones, including a lot in N scale and even some in Z. But the majority were in HO, one of which contained truly excellent structures and scenery, especially the lovingly crafted hills and rocks.
  • Second is the Claflin-Richards House (not actually in the museum, but physically attached to it), a 1690 house with various rooms restored to different periods of its history from then to now. If you are interested in local history, social customs, architecture, etc., you should definitely see this fascinating house.
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  • Finally, the museum houses a huge collection of dolls (over 5000, of which only 1200 or so can be displayed at a time) from many countries and over several centuries. These included the Ralph Waldo Emerson family dolls, adding a sense of local history. Not my cup of tea, but impressive and clearly worth seeing by anyone interested in dolls and what they represent.

Categories: Model Railroading, Teaching & Learning