Explore a bygone Transcendentalist community whose pastoral landscape houses wide-ranging collections of art and artifacts.
In 1843, Amos Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane turned a swath of Harvard farmland into a Transcendentalist experiment in subsistence farming and Emersonian self-reliance, named “Fruitlands,” which ultimately disbanded after only seven months. In 1914, Clara Endicott Sears opened the grounds to the public, establishing a museum in the property’s 1820s farmhouse.
The 210-acre landscape encompasses five collections first established by Sears: the original Fruitlands Farmhouse; the Shaker Museum, the first such museum in the country; the Native American Museum, celebrating the history of indigenous peoples; the Art Museum, with a variety of rotating exhibits, contemporary art, and showcasing a combined collection of more than 300 Hudson River School landscape paintings and 19th-century vernacular portraits; and the Wayside Visitor Center, a classroom, education, and exhibition space. Enjoy the exhibits, hike the grounds, or attend events like the summer concert series or the annual craft festival in fall.
Please visit the Fruitlands Museum website for more information about the museum and to plan your visit. fruitlands.org
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102 Prospect Hill Road
Harvard, Massachusetts 01451
Get directions on Google Maps.
Fruitlands Museum is located in eastern Massachusetts about 45 minutes west of Boston off of Route 2. The Museum has a spectacular view to the west of Mount Wachusett and, on a clear day, to Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. The view west overlooks the Oxbow Wildlife Refuge and the Nashua River Valley.
Explore our museum collections and historic buildings as well as 210 acres of woodlands and meadows. Our site offers a great location for weddings, corporate events and family outings.
FROM THE EAST
Take Route 2 west to exit 38A. Head south on Route 110 and take your first right onto Old Shirley Road. The Museum is about two miles ahead on the right.
FROM THE WEST
Take Route 2 east to exit 38A. Head south on Route 110 and take your first right onto Old Shirley Road. The Museum is about two miles ahead on the right.
FROM THE NORTH
Take 495 South to Route 2 west to exit 38A. Head south on Route 110 and take your first right onto Old Shirley Road. The Museum is about two miles ahead on the right.
FROM THE SOUTH
Take 495 north to Route 2 west to exit 38A. Head south on Route 110 and take your first right onto Old Shirley Road. The Museum is about two miles on the right.
November 15, 2017 – March 24, 2019
During winter open hours visit the Art Gallery, Wayside Gallery, Museum Store, and museum grounds. All other museum buildings and the Café are closed and will re-open during the main season.
Fruitlands Museum will be closed from March 25, 2019 until Main Season opening on April 13, 2019.
April 13, 2019-November 3, 2019
Regular admission is always FREE for Trustees members!
Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more individuals.
Please contact the education department to make arrangements for your visit.
Adults - $12/person
Seniors and College Students - $10/person
Student Groups - $8/each
Please note that group rates cannot be combined with any other discount offers (library passes, free member admission, etc.)
Teachers are always FREE!
Fruitlands Museum, founded in 1914 by Clara Endicott Sears, takes its name from an experimental utopian community led by Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane which took place on this site in 1843.
Fruitlands Museum joined The Trustees family in 2016.
Please visit the Fruitlands Museum website for more information and to plan your visit >>
Archival material related to Fruitlands Museum is available to researchers at the Archives & Research Center in Sharon, Massachusetts.
Clara Endicott Sears Collection, 1729-1977 (20.5 linear feet)
The Clara Endicott Sears Collection relates to the life and career of Clara Endicott Sears (1863-1960), author, early preservationist, and founder of the Fruitlands Museum. In 1910, she purchased land to build her summer estate called the Pergolas in Harvard, Massachusetts. Three years later, Sears bought the parcel adjacent to her new mansion, and discovered that the rundown house there was once part of the Transcendentalist community called Fruitlands -- founded by Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane. Sears restored the farm house, and began to assemble a personal collection of buildings and artifacts to share with the public a year later. Over the years, Sears added Shaker, Native American, and Hudson River materials to her museum collection. A noted author, Sears wrote many books about the Fruitlands collections, as well as inspirational books and fiction.
Clara Endicott Sears was actively involved in the management of the museum until her death in 1960.
Collection materials include: correspondence, family papers, printed materials, publications, photographs, diaries and scrapbooks. The bulk of the collection spans 1918-1950.
Fruitlands Museum is home to five collections on 210 majestic acres of meadows and woods. When you visit Fruitlands Museum you can go on a hike and commune with nature, learn about the lives of the Transcendentalists and Shakers, sit in the Art Museum among Native American or Hudson River School treasures, or be inspired by contemporary exhibits and outdoor sculpture. Fruitlands is a unique gathering place that builds connections between nature, people and culture by offering engaging programs and exhibits.
The Museum Café, Museum Store/Admissions, Wayside Visitor Center and Art Museum are fully handicap accessible. The Shaker Museum, Native American Museum and Fruitlands Farmhouse are antique buildings and therefore are not handicap accessible.
A staff member is available to drive patrons with lower mobility around the property in our John Deere Gator.
Fruitlands Museum is an outdoor site. You may want to wear comfortable shoes and bring a hat. The Art Museum, Wayside Visitor Center, Fruitlands Museum Café and Museum Store are air-conditioned. LATE SEASON ADVICE: The historic buildings do not have climate control, therefore, visitors are advised to dress appropriately.
Great gift idea! Share the wonder: give a Trustees Gift Membership!
Please visit the Fruitlands Museum's website for more information and to plan your visit.