New England Carousel Museum – Bristol, Connecticut - Atlas Obscura
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Bristol, Connecticut

New England Carousel Museum

A parade of antique steeds offers a quirky ride through history. 

A visit to this museum is basically a crash course in the history of a carnival staple: the carousel. You’ll find much more than the classic carousel horse here—don’t be surprised to come across a quirky zoo of creatures waiting to whisk riders around in circles.

Beginning with a single horse, nearly 30 years of work have made this non-profit attraction a fixture in Connecticut historical preservation. The large brick building, once a hosiery factory, now houses dozens of carousel horses and even has a working carousel of its own.

On the museum’s guided tours, you’ll learn the origins and development of carousels. You’ll also learn the process of making carousel horses and the big names that made them.

Samples of the different types of carousel craftsmanship, including those of the Philadelphia, Coney Island, and Country Fair styles, abound. Many of the pieces are still privately owned and are shown at the museum for housing and restoration purposes.

The museum also boasts its own restoration room, art gallery, and fire history museum.

Know Before You Go

The American Clock and Watch Museum is less than a mile away.