The Best Museums in Connecticut to Visit Right Now (2023 Guide)

Despite being one of the smallest states in the country, Connecticut has a large and robust history captured by its many museums and related attractions. After all, it’s one of the original colonies, meaning its history parallels the start of the United States of America!

While every museum in Connecticut is worth visiting, we’ve selected some of the best and most popular CT museums to see. These attractions include options for history, science, nature, and art lovers.

So, whether you’re looking for fun things to do in Connecticut this weekend or you’re itching to discover your new favorite attraction, these museums might be just what you’re looking for.

Read on for our full guide to the best museums in Connecticut worth visiting ASAP.


Our Favorite Museums in Connecticut

While there are tons of great Connecticut museums all around the state, here are the ones we feel are the best of the best.


Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art


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Location: 600 Main St, Hartford, CT 06103

Hours: Thursday to Sunday, 12-5PM


Price: $

There’s no better CT museum for art lovers than the Wadsworth Atheneum. It’s the oldest public art museum in America, giving you reason enough to visit.

The real reason the Wadsworth makes our list of the best CT museums is its expansive collection. As you navigate the maze of exhibits, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how stuff is in this place!

There are art exhibits for baroque and classical pieces, cultural artwork from around the world, famous impressionists, modernists, examples of early American furniture— the Wadsworth has the works! Even the architecture of the building itself is a work of art!

Plus, the museum’s downtown Hartford location offers plenty of dining options and other attractions nearby!


Mystic Seaport Museum

Location: 75 Greenmanville Ave, Mystic, CT 06355

Hours: Every day, 10AM-4PM


Price: $$$

Also known as the Museum of America and the Sea, Mystic Seaport aims to capture the history and artistry of maritime life in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is actually the oldest maritime museum in the United States.

The museum is not a singular building but rather a collection of historic structures and sailing ships. The experience that the Mystic Seaport Museum aims to capture is to transport you back to a 19th-century seafaring village.

Some of the notable ships in the Mystic Seaport’s fleet include:

  • Charles W. Morgan — (113 feet) the only remaining US wooden whaling vessel.
  • A. Dunton — (123 feet) one of the last sail-driven fishing schooners left.
  • Joseph Conrad — (111 feet) a fully-rigged sailing vessel and training ship.
  • Australia — (71 feet) a coastal schooner used during the Civil War.

Plus, over 10 other boats that visitors can explore and learn about during their visit.

Mystic is full of other popular attractions to truly create a fun-filled day, such as the Mystic Aquarium or the nearby Stonington Lighthouse Museum.


Connecticut Science Center

Location: 250 Columbus Blvd, Hartford, CT 06103

Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10AM-4PM


Price: $$$

Opened in 2009, the Connecticut Science Center is one of the newest museums in Connecticut. It has 5 floors of science activities, exhibits, learning labs, and other fun stops to make during your visit.

Exhibits teach various concepts, principles, and scientific phenomena through a wonderful mix of audio and visual learning, hands-on activities, and live demonstrations. These diverse offerings make the CT Science Center highly engaging to children of all ages and capabilities.

There’s truly something for everyone, even adults! One of the Connecticut Science Center’s special events is an adults-only night, where you can network, have a drink, and explore the exhibits without any crowds of children.

The Connecticut Science Center is also home to a 200-seat stadium theater with an impressive display screen for IMAX-style movie experiences. Check the Connecticut Science Center website for information on what’s playing soon!


Mark Twain House Museum

Location: 351 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT 06105

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10AM-430PM; Friday to Sunday, 930AM-530PM


Price: $$

“Part steamboat, part medieval fortress, part cuckoo clock” were the words used to describe the Mark Twain House by biographer Justin Kaplan. The Mark Twain house has something for architecture lovers, writers, history buffs, and more.

It was the home of Samuel Clemens (better known as Mark Twain) from 1874 to 1891, meaning it was the place Clemens created several famous works, such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and more.

What’s there to do at the Mark Twain house? Learn about the life of one of America’s most treasured authors and experience what it was like in the Twain house in the late 1800s. Tours give an informative look at Clemens’ life and family.

There’s also a small cafe to enjoy on your tour of the house, providing coffee, tea, and small snacks. Oh, and don’t forget to snap a picture with the LEGO Mark Twain sculpture!


Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale

Location: 170 Whitney Ave, New Haven, CT 06511

Hours: Temporarily closed


Price: $

There is no shortage of things to see at the Peabody Museum at Yale University. The museum consists of items from 10 unique collections, giving you a variety of natural history specimens to view during your visit.

If you have a dinosaur or archaeology lover in the family, this CT museum is a must-visit! There are several complete dinosaur skeletons to view and learn about. There are also exhibits of insects, plants, rocks, and more.

Unfortunately, the Peabody Museum is currently under renovation and isn’t expected to open again until 2024. That said, it is still one of the world’s most well-known and prestigious natural history museums and deserves a spot on any list of the best Connecticut museums.

The renovations will only make the Peabody an even greater CT attraction! In the meantime, Jurassic lovers can visit Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT.


New Britain Museum of American Art


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Location: 56 Lexington St, New Britain, CT 06052

Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10AM-5PM; Thursdays open until 8PM


Price: $

As the first museum dedicated to American art and artists, this CT attraction is a must on our list. The New Britain Museum of American Art includes pieces from all points of the country’s history, from portraits from the colonial period, to works from several American impressionists and modern artists.

It’d be difficult to find a more complete collection of American art! Some of the artists you’ll find include:

  • Rockwell Kent
  • Georgia O’Keeffe
  • Andrew Wyeth
  • Sol LeWitt
  • Frederic Church
  • Alden Weir
  • And more!

One of the more moving artist exhibits focuses on Graydon Parrish’s The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy, a tributary piece regarding the terrorist attacks of September 11th. It is a must-see for everyone.


Danbury Railway Museum


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Location: 120 White St, Danbury, CT 06810

Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10AM-4PM


Price: $$

The Danbury Railway Museum is set in the old Union Station in downtown Danbury. This creates a unique atmosphere; you immediately feel like you’re visiting a historic rail station, about to board a train and head off on a grand adventure. In fact, this Union Station was the film setting for Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train.

If you visit in the summer, you can ride the “Rail Yard Local,” a half-hour ride that includes seeing the only working rail turntable in Connecticut. You’ll also see several locomotives in the trainyard, many of which are open to visitors to tour.

The museum itself has many photographs and railroad equipment, showcasing the unique history of trains in Connecticut and the US. A model train layout also shows how the station functioned during its heyday and is a phenomenal learning tool for younger audiences.


Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center


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Location: 110 Pequot Trail, Ledyard, CT 06338

Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 9AM-5PM


Price: $$

If you want to learn about Native American culture in Connecticut and other parts of the country, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center is the best facility in the state. It is owned and operated by the Pequot tribe and serves to preserve the pre-Colonial practices of the Pequot tribe, while also being a place to research other Native American tribes and cultures.

The museum features an authentically recreated Pequot village, including life-like statues of real Native Americans. You can walk through trees and between wigwams to see the various roles and activities of the villagers. Other exhibits showcase how tribes adapted to different climates and changing weather.

If you have a son or daughter learning about the Native Americans in school or want to better understand the tribes that used to thrive across the country, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center is a truly incredible experience.


More Great Connecticut Museums To Explore

As mentioned, the above list details some of the most well-known and popular Connecticut museums. However, it is only the tip of the iceberg! There are so many other incredible museum experiences worth exploring.

Here are a few more options to consider:

Are there any other great museums in Connecticut that didn’t make our list? Been to any of the ones mentioned above yet? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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