Adult Group Programs

Fruitlands Museum believes that we all continue to learn even long after finishing a formal education. That’s why we have developed a variety of informative and entertaining experiences designed to especially for adult and senior audiences.

Group Tours

During a group visit to Fruitlands, participants receive customized tours led by trained historic interpreters who tailor programs to respond to the interests of the group. Visitors may choose from a menu of three tour options:

History and Highlights Tour

After building her summer home overlooking the Nashua River Valley at the crest of Prospect Hill in Harvard, Clara Endicott Sears learned that a dilapidated farmhouse on her 400+ acre property was home to Bronson Alcott's Fruitlands utopian experiment. This discovery led her onto the path which would become her life's work: creation of a museum that would tell the story of the landscape and its inspirational and spiritual connections to those who came in contact with it. The result is Fruitlands Museum. On this two-hour guided tour, Museum Interpreters will lead your group through the Museum’s collections. Starting at the Alcott’s Fruitlands Farmhouse, this private, personalized tour brings visitors to the Shaker Museum, the Native American Museum, the Art Gallery and even into the Fruitlands landscape. Along the way, visitors will view highlights of each collection while learning about the history of the Fruitlands Museum as designed by its forward-thinking founder.

Special Exhibition Tour

This 60-minute guided tour introduces visitors to the changing exhibitions in the Fruitlands Museum Art Gallery. Trained Museum Interpreters will lead your group through our exhibition in a private, facilitated discussion focusing on the key themes and concepts presented in the display. Open-ended questions and conversational prompts will open up discussion and inspire close looking to learn more. See our Exhibitions page to find out what is currently on view.

Self-Guided Exploration

Do you prefer to visit at your own pace? Groups may arrange appointments for self-guided exploration of the Museum buildings and grounds and move about the collections at a speed that works best for their individual schedules. Our friendly Museum Interpreters will be on site to greet you with a warm smile, provide introductions to each gallery, and help you find your way as you explore the Museum based on your own interests and time.

Outreach Programs

Fruitlands Museum also offers lecture style presentations to regional assisted living facilities, libraries, and community organizations. Drawing on the rich history and diverse collections of Fruitlands, these Outreach Programs bring the museum right into community living rooms, making access to the museum that much easier for seniors and adults. Choose one of our presentations or select all of them and build a Fruitlands Museum lecture series at your facility!

Pastoral Landscapes

Discover the story of America’s first recognized art movement in this slide presentation featuring Fruitlands Museum’s renowned collection of Hudson River School landscape paintings. The 60-minute program includes a discussion of the cultural history of the 19th century, information about key painters who developed the unique genre of painting, and insight into the underlying messages contained within the stunning landscapes captured in canvas and oil paint.

Lasting Legacy: Clara Endicott Sears and the History of Fruitlands Museum

Born into prominence and privilege in nineteenth century Boston, Clara Endicott Sears strived for a place in history rather than in the parlor. Cosmopolitan, cultivated and independent, Sears preferred artistic and intellectual pursuits to the conventional roles expected of a lady of her social class.  She chose instead to pursue a career as a preservationist, writer, historian and curator.  After building her summer home overlooking the Nashua River Valley at the crest of Prospect Hill in Harvard, she learned that a dilapidated farmhouse on her 400+ acre property was home to Bronson Alcott's Fruitlands utopian experiment. This discovery led her onto the path which would become her life's work: creation of a museum that would tell the story of the landscape and its inspirational and spiritual connections to those who came in contact with it.

Climate, Resources, and Lifeways of Native Peoples

The material culture of populations – objects handled daily, such as tools, clothes, and the implements of housing – reveal what people value and how they construct their lives. This program looks at the northeast, plains, south- and northwest regions of the United States and reveals the impact regional climates had on choices made by native people regarding shelter, dress and ceremony, as well as the procurement, preparation, and storage of food. Join us on our journey across the country to delve into the resources that formed the cultures of the nation’s first people.

Bronson Alcott and the Divine Spark: Radical, Reformer, or Revolutionary?

This illustrated lecture chronicles the life of the New England educator and philosopher, Bronson Alcott. Often introduced as Louisa May Alcott’s father, Alcott would be known by his contemporaries as the embodiment of transcendentalism and ”one of the most thoughtful men of America; more nearly resembling Confucius or Socrates in his devotion to wisdom than any of his contemporaries.” Discover how his cutting-edge educational methods made him the most radical educator in 19th century Boston. Learn about Alcott’s “con-Sociate family” at his experimental community in Harvard, MA. Find out about Transcendentalism and Alcott’s friends Thoreau, Fuller and Emerson, too.

Outreach Program Requirements

  • A room that can be darkened for a slide presentation
  • Screen and digital projector
  • Small table for Fruitlands Museum laptop

Did you know? Outreach Programs are an ideal way to preview the Museum before coming to Harvard for a tour of our collections. Ask about special rates when you book an Outreach Program as a precursor to a group visit!

Planning Your Visit

Reservations

Adult Group Tours and Outreach Programs require reservations.

  • Reservations must be made at least three weeks in advance.
  • If you are planning to visit in October, please select three possible dates for your visit.
  • To make reservations, contact the Education Department at (978) 456-3924, ext. 239 or email education@fruitlands.org.
  • Please note that some programs may not be available between November and April due to weather conditions.

Admission Rates

  • Guided Tours:
    Adult Groups: $12.00 per person. Group leader and bus drivers are free of charge.
    College and Senior Groups: $11.00 per person. Group leader and bus drivers are free of charge.
  • Self-Guided Groups:
    Adult Groups: $10 per person. Group leader and bus drivers are free of charge.
    College and Senior Groups: $9.00 per person. Group leader and bus drivers are free of charge.
  • Outreach Programs: $125.00 per presentation per group of up to 30 people, plus mileage.

Accessibility

The Museum Art Gallery and Wayside Visitor Center are fully accessible to wheelchairs. The Native American Gallery, Shaker Gallery, Fruitlands Farmhouse and the walking trails are not fully accessible. Please call ahead with any concerns regarding accessibility for your group.

Add a Group Lunch at the Fruitlands Café

Would you like to arrange a luncheon at the Fruitlands Café? We can help you arrange for a box lunch, a buffet lunch, or a private room rental for a group of ten or more people. Simply inquire when you make arrangements for your group visit!

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Fruitlands Museum
102 Prospect Hill Road
Harvard, Massachusetts 01451
(978) 456.3924
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