HSB 41 Home
Inventing Harvard
Old-Time Farm-House
Tea Museum
Washington Elm
Changing Course

Course resources
WWW Links
Slide Carousel
Selected Slides
Video Clips
1771 Tax List

Course info
Study Questions
Teaching Staff
Doing More
Seeing More

Doing More: Outings and Field Trips

The area around Harvard is packed with historic sites and museums that present different versions of New England's past. Below you will find a list of ideas for field trips and outings around Cambridge, Boston, and further afield. Any of these exhibits could provide starting points for your final project.

Many of these attractions are not open year round and some many only be open by appointment. Be sure to call ahead before visiting.


Hooper-Lee-Nichols House (1685)
159 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA. Tel. (617) 547-4252
This is a great house for students who are interested in architecture. The historical society has built swinging panels which allow guides to literally strip away the walls and reveal architectural elements from different periods. Watch nineteenth-century wallpaper become seventeenth-century lathe and plaster! The objects in the house are rather eclectic, but the architecture is a real treat. Ask for a map of the historic houses of Brattle St (also known as “Tory Row”). The Historical Society runs Saturday architectural tours of the neighborhood.

Cooper-Frost-Austin House (c. 1690)
21 Linnaean St, Cambridge, MA. Tel. (781) 891-4882 ext. 237
“The Cooper-Frost-Austin House is clearly documented as the oldest dwelling still standing in the City of Cambridge. Built by Samuel Cooper c. 1690, the house was one of the earliest examples of a integral lean-to "half house," comprising a "low room," "little room," "kitchin," "Chamber," "kitchin Chamber," "Garret," and "Cellar." Other original features include a pilaster chimney and a facade gable.”

Fogg Art Museum
32 Qunicy St., Cambridge, MA. Tel. (617) 496-8576
Curators have arranged a special display for HSB41 students. It consist s two objects: a Savonarola Chair and a Washington Elm Book. Students should also pay special attention to the Endicott chair on the second floor. Students may want to compare it with chairs of the same period at the MFA or Plimoth Plantation. The first floor offers American paintings and English silver.

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
11 Divinity Ave, Cambridge, MA. Tel. (617) 496-1027
The Peabody provides an excellent antidote to the commonly held misconception that all Indians were alike and that their culture(s) remained unchanging over time. The exhibits in the museum cover various groups from all portions of what is now the United States and allows students to compare the cultures of different Indian groups with one another (and presumably with Anglo-American cultures of the period). Many of the exhibits are geared toward illustrating the ways in which different Indian groups adapted their material cultures to incorporate good received from Europeans.

Longfellow House
105 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA. Tel. (617) 876-4491
“Longfellow National Historic Site is an outstanding example of a historic site representing the themes of arts and literature. For almost half a century (1837-1882) this was the home of one of the world's foremost poets, scholars and educators, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Longfellow House is also significant in America's colonial history. General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the newly-formed Continental Army, headquartered and planned the Siege of Boston here between July, 1775 and April, 1776… Longfellow House was a favorite gathering place for many prominent philosophers and artists including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Julia Ward Howe, and Charles Sumner.”


John Adams Birthplace
135 Adams Street, Quincy, MA. Tel. (617) 770-1175
“Adams National Historical Park is located in the City of Quincy, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, approximately ten miles south of Boston. The Park comprises 11 historic structures and a cultural landscape totaling almost 14 acres. The story encompasses five generations of the Adams family (from 1720 to 1927) including two Presidents and First Ladies, three United States Ministers, historians, writers and family members who supported and contributed to the success of these public figures. The site's main historic features include: John Adams Birthplace, where second United States President John Adams was born on October 30, 1735, and less than 75 yards away the John Quincy Adams Birthplace, where his son, John Quincy Adams, 6th United States President was born on July 11, 1767; the "Old House," home to four generations of the Adams family; the United First Parish Church, where both Presidents and the First Ladies are entombed in the Adams family crypt. There is an off-site visitor center located within one mile of the historic structures.”

Boston Harbor Walk Get out and explore the waterfront along the Boston HarborWalk! From the promenades in East Boston and the boardwalks of Charlestown, through the busy wharves of the North End and Downtown, and from the bustling Fort Point Channel through the South Boston working port to the beaches of South Boston and Dorchester, there are so many exciting places to go!

Harrison Gray Otis House
141 Cambridge St., Boston, MA. Tel. (617) 227-3956
“The Harrison Gray Otis House exemplifies the elegant life led by Boston's governing class after the American Revolution. Harrison Gray Otis made a fortune developing nearby Beacon Hill, served as a Representative in Congress, and later was Mayor of Boston. He and his wife Sally were noted for their frequent and lavish entertaining. This was the first of three houses designed for the Otises by their friend Charles Bulfinch, the architect of the Massachusetts State House. Its design reflects the proportions and delicate detail of the Federal style, which Bulfinch introduced to Boston. The interior provides insights into social, business and family life, as well as the role played by household servants. The restoration of the Otis House, with its brilliantly colored wallpapers and carpeting, and high-style furnishings, is based on meticulous historical and scientific research.”

Paul Revere/Pierce-Hitchborn House
19 North St., Boston, MA 02113. Tel. (617) 523-2338
The Revere House was built in about 1680. Some rooms depict an early eighteenth-century house and others are restored to the 1770s. The objects in the house were not owned by Revere or his family (with a few exceptions in the display cases) but illustrate the types of objects which might have been owned by a well-to-do craftsman like Revere. Students may wish to compare styles and amenities available in the earlier and later periods. Parts of the house are eighteenth-century additions so keep in mind that the house was smaller in the seventeenth century. The guides at this site are very knowledgable, and students may want to ask them questions about the size of the house in earlier periods, the ways in which room use changed, and more specific questions about the use of various objects in the rooms. The guides are, of course, also prepared to tell about anything related to Paul Revere. The Pierce-Hitchborn house is quite interesting architecturally but sparsely furnished inside. For students who are interested, however, it is well worth the $1.50 and extra 45 minutes.

Freedom Trail
Begin at the Visitor on Boston Common. Tel. (617) 242-5642
“The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile walking trail through downtown Boston, the North End, and Charlestown. The Trail itself is outside and is always open for walking. Individual sites have varying operating times (listed in this booklet). Wear sneakers and comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing. Plan to spend around 4 hours on the Trail, depending on your itinerary and local distractions along the way. Public restrooms are available at the Information Center on Boston Common, the State Street Visitor Center, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, the Navy Yard, and Bunker Hill. All are handicap accessible.”

Old State House
206 Washington Street, Boston, MA. Tel. (617) 720-1713
“Built in 1713, the Old State House was the headquarters of the British government in Boston. It served as merchants’ exchange, general meeting place, site of revolutionary fervor in the legislature and as the symbol of Royal authority in the colony. The site played a central role in the story of the rebellion, from the Boston Massacre in 1770 which sparked the fires of the revolution, to the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony in 1776. Today, the Old State House is a museum of the city’s history, operated by the Bostonian Society.”

Old North Church (Christ Church)
193 Salem St., Boston, MA 02113. Tel. (617) 523-6676
Christ Church (or “Old North”) is a particularly valuable historical document. It was built in 1723, and although its interior has changed over time, it has been restored to its 1723 appearance with most of its furnishings intact. This is a good place to look at box pews. Sit down and try to look at the pulpit. Period foot warmers in the window sills remind visitors that hard seats were not the only discomfort the faithful endured. Students who have visited Old South meeting-house may want to compare the architecture of the “meeting house” with that of the “church.” Just remember that Old South has many nineteenth-century elements.

Museum of Afro American History
Joy Street, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA. Tel. (617) 725-0022
“The Museum of Afro American History (MAAH) is a not-for-profit history institution dedicated to preserving, conserving and accurately interpreting the contributions of African Americans during the colonial period in New England. Through educational workshops, youth camps, special events and unique partnerships with professional organizations and educational institutions, the Museum places the African American experience in an accurate social, cultural and historical perspective.”

Further Afield

Plimoth Plantation
Plymouth, MA. (508) 746-1622

Minuteman National Historic Park
174 Liberty Street, Concord, MA 01742. (978) 369-6993

Rebecca Nurse Homestead
149 Pine St., Danvers, MA 01923. Tel. (978) 774-8799

Saugus Ironworks
224 Central St., Saugus, MA 01906. Tel. (781) 233-0050

Rocky Hill Meeting House
4 Elm St., Amesbury, MA 01913. Tel. (978) 462-2634

Whittier Family Homestead
305 Whittier Road, Haverhill, MA. Tel. (978) 373-3979

Essex Ship-building Museum
28 Main St, Essex, MA 01929. Tel. (978) 768-7541

Museum of American Textile History
491 Dutton St., Lowell, MA 01854-4221. Tel. (978) 441-0400

New England Quilt Museum
18 Shattuck Street, Lowell, MA 01852. Tel. (978) 452-4207

Lowell National Historic Park
67 Kirk Street, Lowell, MA 01852. Tel. (978) 970-5000

New Bedford Whaling Museum
18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA. Tel. (508) 997-0046


Copyright © The President and Fellows of Harvard College