American Heritage Museum
Other Ideas: Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House - Home of the Alcotts; Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum (for kids and adults); Old Sturbridge Village; Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
The American Heritage Museum showcases operational old-time tanks, automobiles, aircraft, and other machinery, with interactive exhibits, and docents who can answer questions.
About an hour’s drive west of Boston in Hudson, The American Heritage Museum is part of the Collings Foundation, which has one of the largest collections of operational old-time aircraft and tanks in the world. (The Collings Foundation also runs the Wings of Freedom tour, a nationwide tour of 110 cities, the longest functioning historic aircraft tour in the world).
Among the staggering variety of rare relics, the American Heritage Museum features over fifteen tanks and artifacts that are the only ones on public display in North America.
These include: M1A1 Abrams Tank, T-34 Tank, Kommandogerrat 38 German Rangefinder, Leichter Panzerspähwagen SdKfz 222 Armored Vehicle, Matilda MK.II Tank, Jumbo Sherman Tank, IS-2 Tank, Panzer 1 Tank, SCUD Missile and Launcher, Ho-Ro Tank and many more.
The thoughtfully curated exhibits help visitors learn about human cost of warfare, including slavery and the Holocaust, and bring nuance to Nazi Germany and other opponents.
You’ll also see German, Russian, and even Japanese vehicles, in exhibits that cover the American Revolutionary War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Middle East.
The museum begins with the immersive WWI Trench Experience. It’s a room-sized diorama where you walk down stairs into a trench that runs across the room. From there you can look up, as though in Europe, to barbed wire and the war front all around you, while a video and spotlight presentation plays.
Next, you walk into a giant, aircraft-hangar sized building space whose entire second floor is just a balcony. You’ll find some of the museum’s 80 tanks on display. During special events, you can even see them move. A separate building exhibits aircraft and cars.
Throughout the museum you’ll have the opportunity to talk with volunteers, some of whom are veterans or had veterans in their family.
The exhibits are spaced out so that there’s plenty of room to wander with the completely open interior. You’ll learn how America’s automobile factories were retooled for warfare in the 1940s. One exhibit dramatizes a Russian and German tank encounter with video, lighting, and smoke.
Several of the exhibits feature a tank or airplane that is the “only one in the world” or “only working model in North America”, all refurbished as if new. The second-floor balcony, which runs along the sides and through the center of the room, allows for great views, along with a raised platform that lets you peek down directly into one of the tanks.
You can also view some random pierces of history, including a twisted piece of the World Trade Center from 9-11, a Nazi High Command car, and bomb disposal robots. You can also see live tanks, military encampments, and a mock World War II battle at their annual Battle for the Airfield.
Friday – Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Closed Monday through Thursday except for school groups and special tours made by appointment.
Closed on the following holidays: Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day
Children (12 and Under) $10.00
Seniors (62 plus) $18.00
Active Duty Military (With ID) $18.00
Children 2 and Under FREE
Collings Foundation Members FREE
World War II Veterans FREE
568 Main Street, Hudson, MA, 01749 map
Phone: (978) 562-9182
568 Main Street
Hudson, MA 01749
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