Explore art and artifacts made and used in New England

At Our Sites, At Partner Venues, and Online

Historic New England exhibitions showcase the nation’s most extensive collection of New England objects and archival materials. We present these exhibitions at several of our historic properties and at museums and galleries in all six New England states.

You can also explore online exhibitions that showcase the breadth of the Historic New England collection and tell stories of four centuries of life in New England. If you would like to rent one of our exhibitions, there is additional information below.

Current Exhibitions

Make History: Community as Classroom

Through May 6 at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center, South Berwick, Maine


On View

At Historic New England sites and partner venues

Make History: Community as Classroom is a creative collaboration of shared teaching and learning experiences between Historic New England and Berwick Academy. Students become interpreters of Sarah Orne Jewett House and develop their own personal meanings of the story of the house through interpretations in writing, art, and music. On view first and third Saturdays through May 6, 2017, at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center in South Berwick, Maine.

Mementos: Jewelry of Life and Love from Historic New England showcases our vast collection of jewelry made and worn in New England from the eighteenth century to today. See authentic items New England’s residents wore and loved. Through original heirlooms and stories that connect with daily life, find out how New Englanders use jewelry to mark important moments. The premiere exhibition at the Eustis Estate in Milton, Massachusetts, opens May 17, 2017.

Historic New England appreciates the generous support of the following donors in presenting Mementos: Jewelry of Life and Love from Historic New England: Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation, Inc., Dr. Margaret Ruttenberg and Mr. John Ruttenberg and The Derald H. Ruttenberg Foundation, and Mr. and Mrs. Roger T. Servison. Additional support provided by Felicia Fund and Lee Oestreicher and Alejandra Miranda-Naon.

Brulé in Maine: An Artist’s Journey features works by accomplished commercial artist Al Brulé, who became an iconic illustrator in New York City and later moved to South Berwick, Maine, to focus on creating fine art. Drawn from private collections, this exhibition shows Brulé’s amazing range of work, including pieces on public display for the first time. On view from May 19 to August 27, 2017, at the Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center in South Berwick. Join us for a 1960s-themed champagne cocktail reception on Saturday, May 20, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

Sea to Shore: Sculpture Inspired by the New England Seacoast features work by members of the New England Sculptors Association (NESA) on view inside and on the grounds of Governor John Langdon House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Lindley Briggs’ Sirena & Consorts in a Sea of Shells is shown in the gallery above. On view from June 2 to October 15, 2017. Join us for an opening reception on Friday, June 2, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. as part of Portsmouth’s Art ‘Round Town gallery walk.

Rent Our Exhibitions

Camera's Coast ImageThe Camera’s Coast

The Camera’s Coast presents seventy images from the Historic New England collection depicting life along the New England coast in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These were years of great social and economic change. Many traditional occupations, from alongshore fishing to shipbuilding to deep-water voyaging, were in decline. As the number of people who could afford vacations grew and improved transportation made it easy for them to flee the city in the summertime, coastal recreation boomed. Boating and yachting blossomed.

Pioneering photographers represented in The Camera’s Coast include Nathaniel L. Stebbins, Henry G. Peabody, Baldwin Coolidge, Emma L. Coleman, and Fred Quimby. Subjects depicted include square-riggers, coasting schooners, fishing vessels and fishing ports, steamships and steamboats, tugs, small boats and large yachts, summer hotels and fishermen’s shacks, beach houses, mansion houses, rusticators, fishermen, seaweed gatherers, lifesavers, and saltmarsh haymakers.

  • 70 black-and-white high quality copy prints in black metal frames, various sizes
  • 4 banners
  • All printed section and object labels

Fee: $2,000 for a three-month period plus one-way shipping.

Please contact us to request this exhibition.

395_x_253_lost_gardensLost Gardens of New England

Lost Gardens of New England draws on the wealth of images – drawings, watercolors, and historic photographs – in Historic New England’s collection. The exhibition uses reproduction material to depict New England gardens, great and small, that no longer exist or only partially survive. Three sections explore major themes of American landscape history: the New Republic, House and Garden Beautiful, and Revival Gardens. Landscape drawings provide insight into how these gardens were conceived and visualized by their creators, either amateur or professional. Photographs capture the gardens and their features in their glory as well as the people who maintained and enjoyed them. The images selected illustrate New England’s rich garden design traditions and offer inspiration to gardeners today.

View our narrated virtual tour of Lost Gardens of New England.

  • Twenty-eight framed images
  • Nine text panels

Fee: $2,000 for a three-month period plus one-way shipping.

Please contact us to request this exhibition.

"Love token" bracelet made for the Chace familyMementos: Jewelry from Historic New England

Through heirloom jewels and stories that connect with daily life, Mementos: Jewelry of Life and Love from Historic New England explores how we mark our important moments. See highlights from Historic New England’s extraordinary collection of jewelry made and worn in New England from the seventeenth century to today.

  • 90 pieces of jewelry
  • Two dresses and other textiles
  • Five to seven portraits with additional photographs and ephemera
  • Combination of floor pedestals with plexi bonnets, wall cases, and open pedestal mounts with wall text, graphics, and interactive(s).

Size: 1,000 square feet, est.

Crates: Six, est.

Shipping: Outgoing

Security: High

Display: Gallery only

Availability: Spring 2018 for twelve-week bookings

Please contact us to request this exhibition.

395_x_253_pres_movementThe Preservation Movement Then and Now

Discover the history of the preservation movement in New England. This engaging panel exhibition, developed by Historic New England, highlights the unsuccessful effort to save Boston’s Hancock House in 1863, which was the early catalyst for preservation in the region. Learn how the movement evolved to include saving buildings of architectural interest and those associated with historic people and events. The exhibition concludes with an overview of preservation today, which has expanded to include twentieth-century buildings, streetscapes, neighborhoods, and open spaces.

  • Thirteen panels with text and images
  • One state-appropriate panel
  • Optional preservation lecture by a Historic New England staff member

Fee: $2,000 for a three-month period plus one-way shipping.

Please contact us to request this exhibition.

395_x_253_-_white_on_whiteWhite on White: Churches of Rural New England

White on White: Churches of Rural New England presents forty images representing early churches of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries from photographer Steve Rosenthal. These remarkable small-town, white structures were erected by local builders, joiners, and occasionally by itinerant master carpenters. There were no trained architects or even schools of architecture in America at the time. Their inspiration came from traditional designs and from pattern books. In his photographs, Rosenthal traces the evolution of church styles from the early meetinghouse through the changing patterns of Greek and Gothic revivals.

Rosenthal, a well-known architectural photographer who trained as an architect, has traveled throughout the Northeast capturing what remains of these architectural gems. He began photographing New England Churches in the mid-1960s. The photographs, which appear in this exhibit, are a personal selection taken over the succeeding decades, including images of evocative survivors in the New England landscape.

This exhibit also conveys a preservation story. Several of these churches were restored by their congregations to their original appearance long before the preservation movement took hold in this country. Many others are now threatened by shrinking congregations and high maintenance costs. Some have been damaged by insensitive additions or inappropriate materials. Others have been decommissioned and converted to other uses.

  • 40 black and white archival inkjet photographs printed by the artist
  • Main text label
  • Printed I.D. labels

Fee: $3,500 for a three month-period plus one-way shipping.

Please contact us to request this exhibition.

Online Exhibitions

Explore Historic New England collection highlights and life in twentieth-century New England

Many of Historic New England's online exhibitions were created as part of our Everyone's History series, which preserves and shares stories of life in New England from the twentieth century and beyond.

Everyone's HistoryCollection Highlights
African American TourismBlue Printed Pottery
North Shore Fried ClamsLost Gardens of N.E.
Plum Island AviationNewbury Furniture
Verner Reed Photographs

Our Exhibition Venues

Eustis Estate, Milton, Mass., premiering Mementos in May 2017

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Governor John Langdon House, Portsmouth, N.H.

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Sarah Orne Jewett House Museum and Visitor Center, South Berwick, Maine

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