Museums and Galleries in Fairfield County Last Updated: October 2022
History, culture, technology, art – they’re all on display within the fabulous museums throughout Fairfield County. Experience all the fascinating things that embody our rich and diverse culture – for a few quiet hours, or over a peaceful weekend. Some are open to the public with restrictions on crowd size and some are offering virtual tours due to Covid-19. Check before you venture out on your journey of discovery.
Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwich
The Greenwich Historical Society features the circa 1730 National Historical Landmark Bush-Holley House, home of Connecticut’s first art colony from 1890 to 1920, which was run as a boarding house and gathering place for artists, writers, and editors. Hundreds of art students came to study with leading American Impressionists John Henry Twachtman, J. Alden Weir, Theodore Robinson, and Childe Hassam. Guided tours of Bush-Holley House feature historic interiors related to the Bush and Holley families and an American Impressionist art collection. The Storehouse Gallery presents historically and artistically significant exhibitions curated by foremost authorities on art and history. Exhibits focus on the art and artists of the Cos Cob art colony, museum collections and aspects of Greenwich history.
Bruce Museum, Greenwich
A jewel of a museum that is a destination for families and serious art and science devotees, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich lets you explore diverse art, cultural and natural science topics, showcasing more than a dozen changing exhibitions annually, live animal marine tank, lectures, educational workshops, and museum store. Permanent galleries offer world-class minerals and environmental displays. Groups of eight or more require reservations. Museum exhibition tours are held on Fridays at 12:30pm.
Stamford Museum & Nature Center, Stamford
Dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of art and popular culture, the natural and agricultural sciences, and history, the Stamford Museum & Nature Center is a place to explore, discover, experience, and enjoy. Seasonal fun awaits the whole family on the 118-acre site, home to Heckscher Farm, an 18-acre working New England farm with heritage breeds of animals; Heckscher WILD!, featuring exotic animals from across the globe; Overbrook Nature Center; the Bendel Mansion (once the summer home of famed New York retailer Henri Bendel, which now houses galleries with changing exhibitions and pieces from the Museum’s permanent collection); an otter pond; observatory, and more than 80 acres of hiking trails.
Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk
The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk was built in 1864 by renowned financier and railroad tycoon LeGrand Lockwood (and later purchased by prominent importer Charles D. Mathews). The 62-room mansion, with its unparalleled architecture and interiors, illustrates magnificently the beauty and splendor of the Victorian Era, and is considered America's first chateau, with its stenciled walls, inlaid woodwork and spectacular skylit rotunda. A National Historic Landmark since 1971, it is regarded as one of the earliest and most significant Second Empire Style country houses in the United States. Permanent, temporary, and seasonal exhibits ensure that the Mansion is a wonderful and fascinating place to visit time and time again.
Carriage Barn Arts Center, New Canaan
Founded by a group of artists and art-lovers in 1895, the Carriage Barn Arts Center is home to the New Canaan Society for the Arts, Inc. The Center is located in Waveny Park in a 19th century stone barn, refurbished as a gallery and performing arts venue. Their mission is to support the work of local and regional artists, and to maintain the Carriage Barn as a cultural arts center, open to all members of the surrounding community and everyone who is interested in the arts.
The Glass House, New Canaan
The iconic Glass House, built between 1949 and 1995 by architect Philip Johnson, is a National Trust Historic Site located in New Canaan. The pastoral 49-acre landscape comprises fourteen structures, including the Glass House (1949), and features a permanent collection of 20th-century painting and sculpture, along with temporary exhibitions and Design Store. Tours of the site are available in April through November and reservations are recommended.
Stepping Stones Museum of Children, Norwalk
At Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk, play is serious business. Their incredible, nurturing staff knows that children learn best by doing. The museum is dedicated to broadening and enriching the educational opportunities for kids 10 and under and enhancing their understanding of the world, seeking to create an environment that inspires lifelong learning and supports parents, caregivers, and educators as facilitators of children’s explorations. Additionally, toddler and preschool programs offer a variety of activities to get young minds learning.
MoCA (Westport Museum of Contemporary Art), is a destination for contemporary visual arts exhibitions, music performances, and comprehensive arts education, whose mission is to build a deeper understanding of, and passion for, the arts by presenting thought-provoking and relevant arts experiences. Their diverse and innovative exhibitions feature the works of established, emerging and locally impactful artists and curators. MoCA’s popular concert series features acclaimed musicians performing various genres in an intimate setting with a state-of-the-art sound system. The [email protected] offers educational classes and instruction uniquely designed to bring people of all ages and talents an opportunity to develop new skills and experience the creative arts in meaningful ways. Additional programming includes lectures, artist talks and family art days that engage and inspire wide-reaching audiences throughout the year.
Fairfield Museum & History Center, Fairfield
The Fairfield Museum and History Center uses the power of history, art, and humanities to inspire the imagination with a wide range of activities, from the serious to the fun. Rotating exhibitions range from photography to regional history to fascinating shows about tavern life and colonial justice, immigration, climate change, and war. The Victorian Cottage is a children’s zone where young people can dress up, construct a town, and learn about local history. Families are invited to enjoy the museum's ongoing exhibition, Creating Community: Exploring 375 Years of Our Past and the annual Holiday Express Train Show. This dynamic cultural resource includes a permanent exhibition about local history, a research library, rental facilities, and the Museum Shop. Open daily from 10am-4pm.
Sacred Heart University's Discovery Science Center & Planetarium, Bridgeport
Sacred Heart University’s Discovery Science Center & Planetarium in Bridgeport is a hands-on science museum, serving as both a tourist destination and an educational resource for area families, schools, and other groups. Founded in 1958, the Center has offered interactive learning opportunities to generations of local residents, shifting its focus away from fine arts to become a regional science center. Discovery still prides itself on continuing to showcase local artists in gallery spaces, and on continuing to encourage creativity and individual expression through the science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) activities they offer.
Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield
Founded on Ridgefield's historic Main Street in 1964 by art collector and fashion designer Larry Aldrich, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum is one of the few non-collecting contemporary art museums in the United States and plays an important role in the exhibition of cutting-edge art by connecting today's artists with individuals and communities in unexpected and stimulating ways. Emphasis is placed on presenting solo exhibitions by emerging and mid-career artists, many of whom go on to achieve critical acclaim. The Museum also features a screening room, performance space, two-acre sculpture garden and a museum store filled with unique gifts by award-winning designers.
Keeler Tavern Museum, Ridgefield
Revolutionary War buffs and anyone interested in American history will be fascinated by a visit to the Keeler Tavern Museum in Ridgefield. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, this 18th-century building in the center of town played a significant role as a meeting place and staging ground for the Battle of Ridgefield against the British in 1777. (George Washington may not have slept here; but he did spend time at the tavern). A British cannonball remains lodged in a corner post of the building to be seen (and touched!) by visitors.
Danbury Railway Museum, Danbury
All aboard at the Danbury Railway Museum, located in a fully-restored train station in the heart of town, and housing a collection of historically significant artifacts and research library covering railroading’s rich heritage in New England and the northeast United States. Just behind the station is an extensive rail yard, featuring over 60 pieces of historic railroad equipment and rolling stock. Open year-round, offering family-friendly rides every weekend between April and December. Special event trains are operated for Easter, Autumn, and Christmas.
EverWonder Children's Museum, Newtown
The EverWonder Children's Museum in Newtown offers interactive exhibits, activities, and special programs for ages birth to 12, S.T.E.M.-based (science, technology, engineering, math), hands-on exhibits, science demonstrations, art and Tinker Labs, Imagination Playground, Young Explorer area and more. The museum cultivates a lifelong love of learning in children by encouraging them to think and wonder about the world around them. The museum offers special events, field trips, outreach programs and birthday parties.
Connecticut Air & Space Museum, Stratford
The Connecticut Air & Space Center in Stratford displays vintage aircraft, memorabilia, and artifacts, both inside and out, educating this generation and the next about the history, the founders, the workers, and the companies from Connecticut devoted to this industry. Founded by George Gunther in 1998, the Center occupies Buildings 6 and 53 at the former Stratford Army Engine Plant complex. The museum, whose motto is: Honor, Preserve, Educate, is one of only a handful throughout the country located in a portion of an original World War II aircraft factory. All ages welcome.