This is, quite simply, the oldest continuously operating public museum in the United States, having opened its doors in 1824. The museum is run by the Pilgrim Society and tells the story of the Plymouth Colony of Massachusetts as well as the Pilgrims themselves. The top half of Plymouth Rock spent a portion of its time here during the period when it had been divided in two. The museum was upgraded in the 1880’s and once again given a renovation in 2008. The museum is home to various artifacts from the Pilgrim era including the only known remains of a 17th century trans-Atlantic ship.
This living museum features an outdoor, full-size reconstruction of the Pilgrims’ original settlement in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The museum has meticulously researched the era in an effort to portray the settlement as accurately as possible. From the homes, to the streets, to the everyday items, every detail is a faithful recreation. The settlement follows a timeline from March through November when it is open to the public. The museum was founded in 1947 and the village built in the 50’s. The actual, original settlement is believed to have been located 2.5 miles to the northwest along Burial Hill and today’s Leyden street. The Plimoth Plantation is also responsible for the upkeep of the Mayflower II docked nearby.
Since most of the sites on this list are located here, it’s only fair that the town itself be mentioned. Plymouth, Massachusetts is obviously one of the oldest municipalities in the United States, and it is here that the first Thanksgiving feast took place. The name “Plymouth” came from the British city of the same name, which in turn was named after the mouth of the River Plym, where the city is located. Today, Plymouth’s major industry is tourism.
Thanksgiving is often seen as a holiday of homecoming, yet there is no reason why one can’t take it as an opportunity for a family vacation to learn more about why we give thanks every November.
photo credit: Flickr/ Bob Palin