The museum includes period rooms and gallery spaces that explore many different aspects of local history. Learn more about our exhibitions below!


Space, Light, and Ornament: Early Meetinghouses of Old Newbury

Old Newbury’s early meetinghouses were essential to the civic and spiritual lives of the local community. These cornerstones of the community served multiple uses including town meetings and elections, trials and executions, and political protests. With the growth of settlements, meetinghouses were constantly being built or expanded to meet the community’s needs.


A Call to Arms: Newburyport Defends the Nation

During the American Revolution, Newburyport both embraced and helped to establish the new identity of an independent America. In national conflicts since then, its people have staunchly defended this identity, both as soldiers and homefront citizens.

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From High Seas to Safe Harbors

The history and culture of Newburyport are inextricably linked to the sea. From the eighteenth century through most of the nineteenth century, Newburyport was home to shipbuilders, rope and sail makers, sailors, shipmasters, ship owners, and merchants. Vessels were launched from Newburyport to protect the coast, to ply the trade routes of China and the West Indies, and to journey west in search of gold.


Laura Coombs Hills

Laura Coombs Hills (1859-1952) was a prominent Newburyport artist known both for her delicate miniatures on ivory and her impressionistic and colorful pastels. The museum’s collection includes fine examples of both types of work, as well as watercolors, sketches, and illustrations.


Period Rooms

The museum is housed in the historic Cushing House, built in 1808 for a ship captain and his family. Three period rooms chronicle three generations of the family who lived at 98 High Street, as well as showcasing locally made furniture, textiles, and art.


Captains and Currency: A Chronicle of the Perkins and Brown Families of Newburyport

Captains and Currency weaves together the personal and professional stories of the Perkins and Brown families, creating a compelling picture of 19th century Newburyport and how it was shaped by their entrepreneurial spirit and maritime pursuits.