If you’ve ever been curious about what life was really like for the 17th-century English pilgrims and Wampanoag people, Plimoth Patuxet Museums, formerly known as Plimoth Plantation, can answer your questions. This living history museum, located about two miles from the site of the original colony, offers visitors a chance to step into 1627 Massachusetts.
Henry Hornblower II opened the museum in 1947. He grew up in Boston, but spent his summers in Plymouth, and was fascinated by its history. Hornblower carried out a number of archaeological excavations around the site of the original colony and wanted to share the story with a wider audience. The museum began with two English cottages and a fort on the historic Plymouth waterfront. Since then, the facility has grown to include a replica of the Mayflower, a colonial village, a water-powered mill, barns, and a replica of an early Wampanoag village.
In the museum’s English Village, visitors can walk through a recreation of Plymouth’s 17th-century farming and maritime community. The exhibit is complete with actors who portray real historical residents of the colony. The wooden houses are complete with kitchen gardens, and heritage livestock breeds, and objects that the colonists would have used in their daily life.
Part of the museum’s mission is to share the whole history of Plymouth, which includes the complex interactions of both English and Native cultures. The Wampanoag Homesite is representative of the Wampanoag tribe who inhabited the region at that time. Unlike other parts of the museum, the staff in the Wampanoag Homesite are not role players but Native people from Wampanoag and other nations. At the museum, they dress in clothing accurate to the time period but speak from a modern perspective about the history and culture of their tribes.
Know Before You Go
Plimoth Plantation is open every day from mid-March through the end of November (check the website for exact dates) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking is available. Visitors should be prepared for a bit of walking, often on uneven terrain.