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History On Display

National Heritage Museum showcases the American past


From toys to tech, Lexington’s National Heritage Museum brims with Americana. Photo courtesy of the National Heritage Museum

The Fourth of July may be over, but it’s never too late to explore Americana, and what better place to do so than Lexington, Mass.—the town in which the shot heard ’round the world was fired? The National Heritage Museum exhibits an array of historic and pop culture items.

Out of sheer parochialism, we’d suggest Made in Massachusetts, a collection of household items made in the Bay State over the past three centuries, including old clocks, a sewing machine made by the Florence Sewing Machine Company, board games and toys made by Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers, even computers manufactured locally. If you’re a Kerouac-wanderlust type, Night Road: Photographs of Diners showcases examples of the classic American eatery from Maine to New Jersey. Then again, why not go with an expert and peruse the Curator’s Choice, featuring almost 150 staff favorites from the various collections.

Opened in 1975, the museum also has Masonic and fraternal artifacts, befitting its sponsors, the Scottish Rite Masons of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.

The National Heritage Museum, 33 Marrett Rd., is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Its Van Gorden-Williams Library is open those days from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free. By public transit, take the MBTA Red Line to Alewife Station and then the #62 or #76 bus to the museum. For directions, click here.

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

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