Most every school kid grows up learning about the Pilgrims. Fleeing religious persecution in England, they set sail for New World in search of a new life. 

The group left Europe in 1620 and landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts. They struggled to make it on the hard cold land but also celebrated what is now a uniquely American tradition, Thanksgiving dinner.

And that’s where you’ll find the Pilgrim Hall Museum.

In this post, we’ll highlight the museum and what you can learn about both the Pilgrims and this part of Massachusetts, which is still bustling nearly 400 years later.

History of the Pilgrim Hall Museum

This museum is dedicated to telling the history of the Pilgrims and the area where they lived, called Plymouth Colony. It’s run by a group called The Pilgrim Society. It was formed in 1820 with the specific purpose to establish grounds for a museum. 

In 1824, the museum first opened, making it the “oldest public museum in the United States.” While the structure has been significantly expanded and upgraded over the years, you can still see the original granite portico incorporated into the design. 

Today, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Art and History

There are a variety of art, artifacts, and archives at the museum that guests can check out. The museum has a consistent collection that features a piece of Plymouth Rock, contemporary art from the time, as well as some of the arms and armor the Pilgrims carried with them. 

The museum also goes beyond the early days of the Pilgrims. It has exhibits that highlight what life was like from the 1600s to the 1900s for the region, as well as Pilgrims and the Revolutionary War. There are some interactive exhibits where you can explore what life was like for the people who were some of the first settlers from Europe in the country. 

Throughout the year, there are also rotating exhibits that feature special interest items related to the Pilgrims. The museum also holds special events, including tours and lecture series, each month too.

Hours and Admission

The Pilgrim Hall Museum is open 7 days a week from February 1st through December 30th each year. It’s closed on December 24th, 25th, and 31st. Yes, it is open on Thanksgiving. In fact, many travelers come to this area to celebrate the holiday at nearby Plimouth Plantation so it’s a natural stop.

The costs of admission range from $8 to $12 with family packages available. There’s free admission for local residents, small children, and members of the New England Museum Association.

Getting There

Plymouth is just about an hour south of Boston, along Route 3. It’s a nice drive that takes you along a number of seaside towns on the South Shore of Massachusetts. If you’re coming from the south, it’s also an hour from Providence, RI, along Routes 95 and then 495.

If your road trip includes heading to Cape Cod, Plymouth makes for a nice stopping point. As it’s midway between Boston and the heart of the Cape.