North East US

Boston, MA

Museum of Science

Science Park

Boston, MA 02114-1099

617-723-0300

http://www.museumofscience.org

 

It could be the class act of science museums.  It certainly ranks among the best in the nation, with hands-on displays, courses for children and an on-site staffed library.  When you visit, be sure to see the demonstration of the huge static electric generator.  It is easy to get lost in the exhibits: the big dig or the optical illusions.  More than a museum, it is a bastion of accessible science in the midst of the city.

 

August 2004

Freedom Trail

Boston National Historical Park

Charlestown Navy Yard
Boston, MA 02129

617-242-5642

BOST_Email@nps.gov

http://www.nps.gov/bost/

 

The Freedom Trail is something of a concoction of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau, though it is successful because there is plenty of value in connecting a number of unique historical sites.  The walk is rather easy, with plenty of places to stop.  The subway is always close by, too.  Tours are offered by the Freedom Trail Foundation (617-357-8300).

 

 

August 2004

The trail passes numerous places enshrined in US history: Boston Common; the Massachusetts State House; Park Street Church, location of the first performance of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”; Old State House, now a museum; the site of the Boston Massacre, marked on a traffic island;

Faneuil Hall; Paul Revere House; Old North Church; Bunker Hill, where you, too, can charge if your constitution is strong; USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides”..

 

Paul Revere House

The Paul Revere Memorial Association

19 North Square

Boston, MA 02113

617-523-2338

http://www.paulreverehouse.org

 

August 2004

This house went through several owners and Paul Revere may never have even lived in it, but it has been restored to model a 17th century home.  The conveniences, or lack thereof, are an eye-opener to modern children.

 

Old North Church

193 Salem Street

Boston, MA 02113

 

http://www.oldnorth.com

 

 

August 2004

This is the church immortalized in Longfellow’s Paul Revere’s Ride.  Properly called Christ Church, it is currently an Episcopal church, so mind your manners when you visit.  (There were two lights in the tower that night – the Redcoats came by sea.)

 

Bunker Hill National Historical Park

Boston, MA

http://www.nps.gov/bost/Bunker_Hill.htm

 

 

August 2004

The story of the battle of Bunker Hill makes fascinating history.  The machines of war, on display in the memorial building, dictated the tactics, which led to the very high casualty rates, particularly on the side of the British regulars.

 

USS Constitution

Commanding Officer
Bldg 5 Charlestown Navy Yard
Charlestown, MA 02129

(617) 242 - 7511

Constitution.pao@navy.mil

http://www.ussconstitution.navy.mil/

 

USS Constitution Museum
P.O. Box 1812
Boston, Massachusetts 02129
617-426-1812

http://www.ussconstitutionmuseum.org/

 

The USS Constitution is still a commissioned Navy vessel.  Impressive how low-tech everything was then.  Actually, the most impressive part is how small those old sailing vessels were.

 

August 2004

 

Near Boston, MA

Mayflower II

Plimoth Plantation
137
Warren Avenue
Plymouth, MA 02360

508-746-1622

http://www.plimoth.org/

 

The Mayflower II is a replica of the original Mayflower.  It is something of a historical curiosity.  Yet it was the Boeing 747 of its day.

 

August 2004

Plymouth Rock

Plymouth, MA

 

August 2004

The Mayflower passengers and crew do not mention a specific rock in their diaries, but the legend persists that this is the place where they disembarked.  It is good for tourism.

 

Minute Man National Historical Park

174 Liberty Street
Concord, MA 01742
978-369-6993

http://www.nps.gov/mima/

 

This park encompasses the long trail followed by the British regulars out from Boston Harbor to Concord Bridge and Lexington, where the first battles of the Revolutionary War were fought.  Sites include important stops on Paul Revere’s ride as well as the legendary site at Concord Bridge.  The most popular demonstration by the docents is the firing of the musket.

 

August 2004

Salem Witch Museum

Washington Square   

 Salem, MA 01970

978-744-1692

http://www.salemwitchmuseum.com/

 

As easy as it would have been to produce a silly supernatural-slanted spookfest, the Witch Museum provides a broader, more mature presentation, including a history of the Salem witch trials, with particular attention to the social science behind the success of the baseless accusations.  Of particular note is the thought-provoking section challenging modern-day “witch hunts”.

 

August 2004

New England Pirate Museum
274 Derby Street
Salem, MA 01970

978-741-2800
http://www.piratemuseum.com

 

In the early, lawless days of the European exploration of North America, pirates operated with surprising freedom in the New England waters.  This museum highlights the more colorful characters from early New England history.

 

August 2004

 

New England

Seacoast Science Center

570 Ocean Blvd Rye, NH 03870

603-436-8043

http://www.seacentr.org/

 

This small science center located near Portsmouth is hidden out-of-the-way on the New Hampshire coast. The center is geared toward younger children.  It is located inside the state park, so expect to pay twice: once for the Odiorne Point State Park, once for the Seacoast Science Center.

 

August 2004

Portland Observatory

138 Congress St.

Portland, ME

http://www.portlandlandmarks.org

 

This is not an astronomical observatory, but rather a tower for watching for approaching trading ships from colonial days.  The merchant watching from the tower could know what goods were arriving and arrange quick unloading.  There was significant renovation going on at the time of our visit.

 

August 2004

White Mountain National Forest

PO Box 638
Laconia, NH 3247
603-528-8722

http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/white/

 

Crawford Notch

http://www.nhstateparks.org/ParksPages/
CrawfordNotch/CrawfordNotch.html

 

http://www.VisitWhiteMountains.com

 

August 2004

This national forest is near huge Eastern population centers and provides recreation and getaways for large numbers of visitors every year.  The forest is rather well-developed by the standards of those who are familiar with national forests in the Western part of the US.

American Precision Museum

196 Main Street, Windsor, Vermont 05089
Phone (802) 674-5781

http://www.americanprecision.org/

 

The building is packed with historic machine tools.  You even get to watch some of them work. Though somewhat off the beaten track, this is a really fun place.  You could spend hours playing with the toys or just seeing the link from hand-tooling to modern assembly-line precision machining took place.  This museum has it all. The museum is carrying on a building renovation program.  Hopefully the smell of fine machine oil will remain.

 

August 2004

 

Old Sturbridge Village
1
Old Sturbridge Village Road
Sturbridge, Massachusetts 01566
508-347-3362

http://www.osv.org

 

This is a reenactment, re-creation of an 18th century village.  Actors/docents remain in character as they describe their homes and places of business. The most interesting places for us were the working waterwheel-driven sawmill and the blacksmith shop.  These were clearly not try-it-yourself stops, but how great would that be to give it it a try.

 

August 2004

Project Oceanology

University of Connecticut

Avery Point

Groton, CT 06340

800-364-8472

http://www.oceanology.org

 

Project Oceanology provides a hands-on introduction to – what else – oceanology on a half-day trip on Long Island Sound.  Participants take on responsibility for specific measurements, such as water temperature, color or salinity; run the drag nets and study the animals collected from the bottom.  A couple hours of hands-on experience is worth more than months in a classroom!  Ideal for families and scout troops.

 

August 2004

Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration
55 Coogan Blvd.
Mystic, CT 06355-1997

860.572.5955

http://www.mysticaquarium.org/

 

The belugas behind their huge windows are probably the highlight of the aquarium.  The exploration part of the house works with Robert Ballard – of Titanic exploration fame, so exhibits include his recent activity: PT109 and ancient Black Sea ships.

 

August 2004

Peabody Museum of Natural History

170 Whitney Avenue

New Haven, CT

 

Peabody Museum of Natural History
Yale University
P.O. Box 208118
New Haven, CT 06520-8118

203-432-5426

203-432-5050 recording

http://www.peabody.yale.edu/

 

This is a very accessible museum with an impressive crystal collection.  The enormous murals on the age of mammals and the age of reptiles are not to be missed (how could you miss them?).  The timeline of human evolution shows skull changes through time, and the computer-assisted comparative paleontology exhibit really ought to be a required web site for all middle-schoolers.

 

August 2004

 

New York, NY

Empire State Building

350 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street

New York, NY

http://www.esbnyc.com/

 

Before the age of International Style glass-sided skyscrapers, the Empire State Building was built solid and massive with imposing limestone siding.  The construction story is riveting (sorry, I just had to say it!).  This building is just too hard to be a terrorist target.

 

August 2004

 

World Trade Center

West-Church-Vesey-Liberty Streets

New York, NY 10048

 

This is currently a construction site.  The destruction of 9/11/2001 is gone.  The reminders are around, though.  There is the wall of photos, left by people missing their loved ones, and also a memorial in Battery Park.

August 2004

Association for Computing Machinery

One Astor Plaza

1515 Broadway 17th Floor

New York, NY 10036

212-869-7440

http://www.acm.org

 

August 2004

The ACM sponsors education in electronics and computer science.  Their work is primarily in professional training: conferences, journals and magazines.  We met with Donna Baglio regarding projects of mutual interest.

Statue of Liberty National Monument

http://www.nps.gov/stli/

Ellis Island National Monument

http://www.nps.gov/elis/

New York, NY

 

The Statue of Liberty has all the glamour, but Ellis Island has a thought-provoking museum, showing artifacts from immigrants to the US.  Find your ancestors. Be sure to see the display of the sources of all immigration to the US from 1500 to 2000.  Of particular interest is the large number of indentured servants brought to the colonies.

 

August 2004

United Nations Secretariat Building

1st Ave. and E. 46th St. New York, NY, USA
212-963-7713

 

August 2004

http://www.un.int

 

Central Park

Manhattan, NY

 

Engineers are remembered at engineer’s gate on the east side of Central Park.

 

August 2004

 

Philadelphia, PA

Independence National Historical Park

143 South Third Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-965-2305

Philadelphia, PA

http://www.nps.gov/inde/

 

The park includes Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written; the Liberty Bell Center, where the Liberty Bell resides; and the Independence Hall Museum.

 

August 2004

Betsy Ross House

Philadelphia, PA

American Flag House & Betsy Ross Memorial
239
Arch Street, Philadelphia Pennsylvania 19106

215-686-1252

http://www.betsyrosshouse.org/

 

This was the house of one of legendary women of the revolution.  The tour shows a typical house of the period.  More interesting were the demonstrations and re-enactments outdoors in the courtyard.

 

August 2004

Ben Franklin Court

Market Street between 3rd and 4th Street

Philadelphia, PA

http://www.nps.gov/inde/franklin-court.html

 

Franklin Court is part of Independence National Historical Park, but is easy to miss because it is located several blocks from Independence Hall at the side of Franklin’s house in Philadelphia.  This underground museum pays tribute to a stellar mind of the 18th century.  Franklin was a statesman and a scientist.  On display are notes from his transatlantic journeys as well as inventions. Don’t miss this stop.

 

August 2004