7 Places to Get Inspired by Arts and Culture in the Monadnock Region

The Monadnock Region teems with places to delve into local art, history, and culture. Whether you are an avid historian, artisan, visitor, or local, you’ll find the region’s cultural offerings to be hands-on, soul fulfilling, and relevant to everyday living.

From diverse musical performances, including blues, contra, and classical to globally recognized art exhibits that travel right to this unique region, there is plenty to soak in. Here, finding ways to expand your horizons is simple, fun, and right down the road. So come get inspired!

Mariposa Museum, Peterborough, NH

Experience vibrant world cultures in a family-friendly, hands-on setting at Peterborough’s beloved Mariposa Museum. In the center of this historic town, the Mariposa Museum is a gathering center for the community to celebrate world cultures as members of the human family. Below are samples of what you will find at the Mariposa Museum.

Wooden Rocking Horse with cactus plants in the background at the Mariposa Museum

With visitors from all over, the museum hosts special live events through music, dance, and art. The museum truly offers a passport through time and space. Recent shows have transformed the exhibit area into Frida Kahlo’s courtyard and a portrait gallery of activists who have courageously worked for social, environmental, and economic fairness. If you’re looking to light up your imagination, this is the place to do it.

Horatio Colony Museum and Nature Preserve, Keene, NH

Embodying the American Era in which Thomas Jefferson was President, the Horatio Colony Museum is a living portrait of a home and family who lived among Keene’s population of just 1,600 souls and far more sheep.

The house is beautifully preserved with original family furnishings dating from 1847. A guide escorts visitors through the Library, Dining Room, Music Room, Parlor, four bedrooms and the Exhibit Room while sharing family and regional history.

A nature preserve, east of downtown Keene on Daniels Hill Road, is 645 acres with five miles of trails though reclaimed New England forest land. Step back in time for a moment and feel what it was like to live in the early American days.

Along the beautiful trail at the Horatio Colony Preserve.

Horatio Colony Preserve

Note: The Horatio Colony Museum is closed until May 1, 2022. The museum grounds and five miles of hiking trails at the Horatio Colony Nature Preserve are open to the public dawn to dusk. Connect with the Museum on social media or through weekly emails. To get on their mailing list, email horatio.colony@gmail.com.

The Fort at No. 4, Charlestown, NH

The Fort at No. 4 was constructed in 1746 and played an important role for English Settlers throughout King George’s War with France, and thus French colonies, as well as during the French and Indian War starting in 1754.  Later, it became another safe haven for American Colonists during the American Revolution in 1777.

Today, you can tour the grounds, guided or not, and experience a time before America was a United States. This living history museum strives to share how New Hampshire’s residents lived, worked, and survived at the dawning of a country. With the chance to experience hand-on workshops, re-enactments, storytelling, and live action events, it’s not hard to immerse yourself in time travel at The Fort at No. 4.

Note: Most of the events and offerings at the Fort at #4 are seasonal. The Fort will reopen in May 2022.

Monadnock Center For History and Culture, Peterborough, NH

Connect to the rich history and culture of the dynamic Monadnock Region at the Monadnock Center. This venue’s events and exhibits traverse time and community life with a vibrant range of programs.

Find online exhibits, talks with local artists, live music events in Bass Hall, and tours of the historic downtown and Village Cemetery. Whichever event you engage in, you’re sure to build upon your knowledge of the region and maybe learn something new about yourself, as well.

Cathedral of the Pines, Peter J. Booras Museum, Rindge, NH

Uniforms displayed - women's on left and men's on right

Uniforms on display in the Museum

This breathtaking, hilltop sanctuary is dedicated as a historic monument honoring the service of American men and women, military and civilian. Here visitors can breathe in the stillness of meditation on the 236-acre property, which includes the Peter J. Booras Museum, highlighting artifacts from both World Wars.

Outside, a series of outdoor chapels and quiet nature areas rest in front of the striking Mount Monadnock. The Cathedral is known for its exceptional gardens, offering a place to reflect and be inspired by the lives of so many people who have served humanity.

Outdoor chapel at Cathedral of the Pines with Mt. Monadnock in the background

Outdoor chapel at Cathedral of the Pines

Historical Society of Cheshire County, Keene, NH

Representing 23 towns in Cheshire County, Keene’s Historical Society of Cheshire County works to collect, preserve, and share the region’s rich history. Indeed, the Historical Society has collected over 300,000 historical items for educational and historical purposes. From photographs, newspapers, and maps to furniture, art, and toys, this extensive collection represents an accurate retelling of Cheshire County’s businesses, goals, events, and history.

The Historical Society encompasses an 1870 Italianate structure headquarters, which includes a research library, exhibit, museum story, and the Jonathan Daniels Center for Social Responsibility. Wyman Tavern, which is a period house, and the Bruder House, a welcome and education center, are also part of the organization. If you are a lover of stories from the past, this exceptional resource is a must.

Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, Keene, NH

Housed at Keene State College, the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery presents a conclave of local, national, and international artists’ works. Artists, students, instructors, and scholars enjoy the diverse range of exhibits.

With a focus on education, the art gallery is home for everyone across a variety of disciplines, cultures, and generations and all programs are free to the public. Most recently, the art gallery hosted an exhibit titled “Letters from Greenland, Exploring the Scoresby Sund Fjord.” It’s impressive cultural opportunities like this that give locals and travelers access to the whole world from this small but remarkable pocket of New Hampshire.

Note: To find current calendars of events, activities, programs, musical performances, and hours of the seven places covered in this blog, check the respective website.

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