Fruitlands Museum
Fruitlands Museum
4.5
Speciality Museums • Art Museums • History Museums
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12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
About
Fruitlands Museum is comprised of four separate museums, showcasing Transcendentalists, Shakers, Native Americans and American paintings on 210 acres of meadows and woods with 2.5 miles of trails and a breathtaking view of the Nashua River Valley. The Fruitlands Museum Store sells fine crafts by local artists and the Museum Café, which is open during the main season (April 15 through November 7), focuses on locally sourced, sustainable cuisine reflective of the heritage of New England.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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  • wordnerd66
    15 contributions
    Lovely spring day at Fruitlands
    I visited Fruitlands with family in April 2022, and also went to deCordova museum in Lincoln during the same week. I didn't know this ahead of time but they happened to be the two venues for the New England Triennial 2022, which featured many artists from the area. This is a lovely pastoral setting for a museum. There are some outdoor sculptures and also a few exhibition rooms. Very low key and enjoyable, and a great option for a family outing. There are a few hikes and walks right on the grounds - which are easy and totally doable with young kids or elderly parents.
    Visited April 2022
    Written May 3, 2022
  • Rooindie
    Sioux Falls, South Dakota930 contributions
    Must do a tour
    We did a tour, and without that, we agree we'd only give this a 2. The art and Native American Galleries were small and not especially interesting. What makes this place interesting is the "experiment in living" that happened here, and there isn't much information about it without doing the tour. The tour involves uphill walking and no shade. We also tried to see the nearby Shaker sites - don't bother. We probably spent about 90 minutes at the site.
    Visited September 2021
    Written October 3, 2021
  • bcnett
    Stoneham, Massachusetts469 contributions
    Would be a "2 stars or less " without the tour!
    It's a beautiful spot, but there is very little here to see or to do. The thing that made it a positive experience for us was the tour where we visited two houses. The tour is NOT included in the $12.00 admission fee. We had to pay $7.50 each for it. We had an excellent tour guide who told us about transcendentalism, Louisa May Alcott's family's stay here, and the filming of the 2018 version of 'Little Women that was done here. There is a steep hill to see the houses and no transportation is provided.
    Visited June 2022
    Written June 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
124 reviews
Excellent
77
Very good
33
Average
11
Poor
3
Terrible
0

Elizabeth T
2 contributions
Oct 2022
This is a pretty place with great views. On a clear day there would be opportunities for picnicking and roaming in the forest. I visited on a rainy day and went to the Shaker store, farmhouse, Native American gallery, art gallery, and store. And I felt like it wasn't worth the $17 I paid. There's some attempt at informative signage in each building but not enough. The tour with the guide was disappointing. She talked a lot. A lot. I think I'd rather just read the displays. She was knowledgeable but there was a lack of order and coherence to her storytelling--and a lack of historical context. She didn't address some foundational questions that I would've liked to have started with like, "What was going on in New England or the US to prompt such extreme utopic living experiments? Were these founders being influenced by events on the continent? Why was New England such a seeming hotbed of utopic activity? How did Alcott meet some of his supporters, espec those coming from Europe, i.e. was he publishing something that they were reading? Given that Alcott grew up as a farmer, why didn't he plant more diverse crops? Did he consult anyone? Were there European thinkers influencing his ideas about labor and vegetarianism? What exactly was he writing and saying? How has Alcott's experiment impacted the U.S. today?" It would've been nice to have some quotes or snippets from his writing on the wall to understand what he was thinking. But most importantly, Fruitlands Museum is missing an opportunity to connect visitors to our nation's history. These were 19th -century hippies trying to create their own cultural revolution. Making these people human, fleshing out their lives, and connecting them in some detail to our own lives today would've been very helpful.
Written October 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dmcnslt
Asheville, NC103 contributions
Jul 2021
Only two of the four museums were open when we visited. These two contained few items and these were pretty uninspired. Even the hiking trail we took was nothing special. On the plus side there are lovely views from the parking lot, staff are exceptionally nice and knowledgeable, and the gift shop and restaurant for lunch are both quite good. I would not go much out of your way to visit.
Written July 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

oldtimeminuteman
Worcester, MA22 contributions
Aug 2022 • Couples
Very little to see for the admission price. They now charge extra to tour the farmhouse and shaker gallery. Also,they seem to be pushing a PC agenda instead of just a historical museum. We used to visit every few years but won't be anymore.
Written August 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Phyllis B
Woodstock, Connecticut, United States98 contributions
Feb 2020
It was one of those days that we headed out to explore! We had heard of Fruitlands Museum, but knew nothing about it. It was a wonderful experience full of interesting information. The staff were excellent and so happy to answer all of our questions! Our only negative was that we didn't realize that some buildings were closed because of the cold weather in New England. This makes sense now, but we wish it was made more obvious on their website. We will definitely return to see the additional buildings, but also to take advantage of the hiking trails.
Written February 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Warmsandslover
Saint Francois, Guadeloupe15 contributions
Sep 2015
This was a great time - lots of sculptures, good hiking trails, and the museums were fascinating! Good for all ages.
Written October 26, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Trainman334
Marlborough, MA529 contributions
Jul 2015 • Couples
First: There are a lot of steep hills. You should know this going in. In order to get from one building to another, you are walking up and down steep hills.

Beyond that there are problems with the ways in which the collections are presented. For some enclosed exhibits in the Native American Gallery, you have to almost put your face up to the glass to read the description cards posted on the wall in the back of the exhibit case. In other exhibit cases, a book is fixed to a podium like stand in front of the exhibit. You cannot life the book off the stand to read it. If you are tall, like me, you have to bend over and down quite a bit to get the info on what you are looking at. Other Museums (the Gardner and the Children's in Boston, to name two) use guide cards that you take from a nearby stand and keep with you while you view the exhibits. You return them when you are done. Low tech, but effective. Here we have no-tech...you have to bend over and take an eye test to determine what it is you are looking at. In some cases, the descriptions are insufficient. In the Native American Gallery, there was a saddle on display that was unlike anything my wife and I had seen before. We have both traveled extensively in the American Southwest and were curious as to what this saddle was made of, its history, etc. This was not forthcoming from the book.

The Art Museum is another building that was somewhat confounding. Fruitlands is well known regionally for its collection of Hudson River Landscapes. This is noted on their website. Unfortunately, when we were there, these famous landscapes were displaced by a collection of contemporary local artists...mildly interesting; but certainly not the drawing card. The Shaker collection was nice. But, overall, the place was a disappointment. The setting is spectacular. Sadly, the museum is not.

Also: I know this is beyond the museum's control these days, but to have a small gallery further clogged by the presence of three strollers, each the approximate size of a Volkswagen Beetle (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating here; but you get the picture...which is more than we could do in the gallery) is a little disconcerting. I doubt the kiddos (looked like ages two and under) could appreciate what they were seeing. Maybe the museum can schedule moms' hours?
Written July 24, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Thank you for visiting Fruitlands Museum and for taking the time to write a review. Our small staff takes great pride in our museum and is always interested in hearing visitor's thoughts so we can continue to improve their experience. Our beautiful hillside, which the Alcott’s chose as the site for their transcendental community, Fruitlands, is definitely a blessing and a curse. It affords us the amazing panoramic views of the Nashua River Valley, but can be challenging for guests to navigate. We do have a John Deere Gator that we use to drive guests up and down, but if you were here on Free Fun Friday you may have missed it chugging up and down the hill - we had over 1400 visitors that day! I've brought your concerns with the labels in the Native American Museum to the attention of the curator so he can address them. And I do hope you'll come back in the fall to see "Hidden Husdon," a large exhibit of our beloved Hudson River School landscapes. Along with showcasing our permanent collections, we are committed to supporting living artists whose work fits with our mission. This explains our current pottery exhibit by an artist who uses traditional Native American techniques, and the exhibit of pastel landscapes by our Artists-in-Residence. The third gallery in the Art Museum is dedicated to a selection of our permanent collection of portraits and landscape paintings, which currently showcases the work of Victor DeGrailly, a French artist who produced Hudson River School landscapes with great success. Thank you again for your thoughtful review. I do hope that you'll come back in the fall when the foliage is putting on its glorious show and perhaps the Museum is not as crowded as it was on Free Fun Friday.
Written August 7, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Dorothy040205
Turners Falls, MA372 contributions
May 2014 • Couples
Thought there would be more to this museum. We took a guided tour but felt rushed by the tour guide, she know her stuff but being it was the last tour of the day guess was in a hurry to get home.Scenery is spectacular and you can almost see the Alcotts and other writers of their time walking the fields and woods. I would guess by the other reviews I read it is better to go when you have more time and NOT at the end of the day.
Written May 8, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AmyAJ
8 contributions
Sep 2021
I was inspired to write this review because I noticed that the Trustees of Reservations (property owner) lists Fruitlands as one of its guests' favorite places for a picnic. I visited the grounds on Labor Day weekend 2021 for an outdoor play, and my thoughts re: picnicing are: yes, if you want to eat at the nice on-site cafe which has good food, cute tables, a patio and a gorgeous view, but no, if you were thinking of sitting on the ground, with or without a blanket. I say this because after seeing the play for which my friend and I brought a blanket, but had to walk between different spots for different scenes, I came away with a nasty case of poison ivy. The same thing happened to me at World's End, another beautiful Trustees property in SE MA, two years ago. The views at both properties are beautiful but BE CAREFUL of where/how you sit on the ground!
Written October 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wickystick99
Hadley, MA19 contributions
Jun 2021
First off, let me preface this by saying that my trip to Fruitlands was in June 2021, so some covid restrictions were still in place and operations were impacted. At present, just the art gallery and the Native American Gallery are open--the Shaker Gallery and (main attraction for me) Fruitlands Farmhouse remain closed. I thoroughly explored the open spaces, but had trouble occupying myself for much more than an hour, as it was, and left not knowing much about the Alcotts' connection to the land or the history of the museum.

I didn't pre-book a tour, but a staff member told me that she could get me on the 11:30 tour and to check back. I ran by the gift shop about twenty minutes prior, but was informed that two others wanted to join and they left to get lunch, so they'd pushed back to noon. It seems like unless you book in advance, online (cost of $5 on top of admission), tours are ad hoc? I wound up skipping out, since I didn't want to sit around for 45 minutes with nothing else left to see or explore in the meantime.

In hindsight, it would be best to save a visit for when the museum has fully re-opened. Not really enough to see and do at present to warrant a three hour rt drive. If you go, book any and all optional tours.
Written June 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sully234
Ayer, MA249 contributions
Oct 2018
This property is owned and operated by The Trustees - a really great organization that has acquired properties all over the state and keep them in restored, nearly original condition. (from the time they were donated to them or acquired) The own Naumkeag in Stockbridge, Gore Place, Crane Estate and Beach and numerous other places great and small. They also have activities on many of the properties year round. I am a member and am so glad that I joined years ago. Membership allows free or discounted entrance or participation and since joining I am always doing something on one of their properties. The Fruitlands is the site of a former commune started by Amos Alcott, father of Louisa May was a founder and it failed miserably. A rich family bought the property and the house that the Alcotts lived in still stands, along with a shaker house and a native American museum, a museuem that houses American art, and at one time when I was there, they had an exhibit of all the leisure activity things that were found in donated properties (snow shoes, skis, photos of beach and boating activity, polo, gardening, etc. a really interesting collection of things very well displayed. We have been to visit the museums, hiked around the many trails that snake through the fields and forests, and have attended one of their weekly outdoor concerts You will not be disappointed, great place to spend the day exploring.
Written May 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Fruitlands Museum is open:
  • Sat - Sun 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM




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