March 29, 2023

Cape Ann Museums

Cape Ann is known for its coastal beauty and selection of beaches, art galleries, restaurants, antiques, and shopping. But did you know it’s also home to many historic museums? If you’re visiting these seaside towns, make sure stop by these noteworthy destinations.

Essex Shipbuilding Museum

Founded in 1976, is dedicated to the preservation of the industry and continued construction of these fine wooden vessels where they still play an integral part in our culture.  We are nestled in the heart of Essex between an acre of land set aside in 1668 “for a yard to build vessels and employing workmen for this end” and an active working shipyard whose projects are interpreted through and incorporated into our programs.  At the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum one can explore the rare and extensive archives of the local shipbuilding industry through antique shipwright tools, photographs, film and displays.

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An exterior view of a museum
Essex Shipbuilding Museum. Image courtesy of Elinor Teele

Hammond Castle Museum

Opens April 1st for the season

Hammond Castle was built in the late 1920s by scientist, inventor, and art connoisseur, John Hays Hammond, Jr. (1888-1965).  Sitting high on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the castle brings together a unique combination of art, architectural elements and culture, backstopped by many innovative technological applications.

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An exterior view of a museum
Hammond Castle Museum. Image courtesy of

Beauport, Sleeper McCann House

Opens May 24th for the season

Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House, a National Historic Landmark, was the summer home of one of America’s first professional interior designers, Henry Davis Sleeper. Perched on a rock ledge overlooking Gloucester Harbor, Beauport was Sleeper’s retreat, backdrop for entertaining, and professional showcase, and an inspiration to all who visited.

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An interior view of a museum
Sleeper McCann House, Beauport. Image courtesy of

Maritime Gloucester

Restored industrial harbor buildings with a waterfront campus, maritime museum, Maritime Science Education Center including indoor touchtanks and seasonal schooner sails on historic Gloucester harbor.

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An aerial view of Maritime Gloucester
Maritime Gloucester. Image courtesy of Trip Advisor

The Paper House

The Paper House was constructed between 1922 and 1924 by Swedish engineer Elis F. Stenman as a summer house. He decided to leave the walls unclad and formed only from their varnished newspaper insulation. Eventually, not only was the house made of paper, but furniture as well, including some intricate and beautiful pieces.

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The Paper House Museum
The Paper House. Image courtesy of Roadtrippers, Alexandra Charitan

If you’re visiting, plan a stay at Briar Brian Inn while you explore everything the North Shore has to offer.

Featured Photo: Lovely Valentine Photography/Harvard Magazine