The Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont is an interactive experience in natural and physical science and technology with 140 exhibits and a 110-acre outdoor environment near the Connecticut River.


© Montshire Museum of Science

The Montshire Museum of Science was founded by Dr. Robert Chaffee of Dartmouth College Museum, in 1974 in Hanover, New Hampshire. The name Montshire comes from the combination of the last letters in Vermont and New Hampshire since those are the primary communities that the museum would serve. The museum was open to the public in 1976 with 60,000 specimens received from Dartmouth College Museum.

New facilities were opened in 1989 in Norwich, Vermont and the museum has since expanded twice. The first time in 2002 when the outdoor exhibits were added to the David Goudy Science Park and the second time, when the Hughes Pavilion was constructed in 2010.

Today, Montshire Museum attracts more than 150,000 visitors and hosts school programs for over 13,000 public school children in the New England area every year. Recently, Montshire has been able to partner with Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and created the Dartmouth-Montshire Institute for Science Education.

The Montshire if open daily from 10am-5pm and closed on thanksgiving and Christmas.

Fun day trip ideas close to me, best weekend getaways: Getaways in California, East Coast beaches, NC quick trip, Romantic weekend getaways


© Montshire Museum of Science

The 140 exhibits at the Montshire are all hands on and interactive with a focus on science, ecology, and technology. The museum has both permanent and rotating exhibits, as well as an outdoor David Goudy Science Park and Woodland Garden. Not all permanent exhibits will be on display always, so each trip may be a new experience. There are also nature trails on the 110-acre property that border the Connecticut River. Only service animals are allowed on the trails and in the museum and outdoor exhibit spaces.

Air and Weather- This section of the museum focuses on air, how it moves, and weather, how it works. Visitors can see how dry ice works, feel the lowest temperature recorded in the US, see an Aeolian landscape, play with air cannons, make vortexes, float balls, learn about fog, clouds, and planetary change.

Creatures- Explore creature from the past and present in this part of Montshire that features an aquarium, honeybee colonies, life processes, bird’s nests, a viewing platform, fossils, education and exhibits on reptiles, amphibians, insects, ecology, habitats, monarchs and migration, hibernation, and much more.

Light and Sight- This set of exhibits explore how people see and how colors work. There are anti-gravity mirrors, bubbles, optical illusion exhibits, light and color experiments, heat cameras, geochrons, a human sundial and other fun attractions here.

Native Plants and the Environment- Native plants to New England and botanical investigations are explored along the watershed. Visitors to this part of Montshire can learn about Ecology landscaping, walk the meadow trails, and explore the outdoor exhibits of the North Woods. The Observation Tower with the telescopic viewer is also part of this exhibit.

Puzzles, Shapes and Things that Move- Visitors discover how various objects move, work together, and come apart through brain challenging puzzles and processes. Exhibits here encourage team work, problem solving, social interaction, building, and tinkering. Several of the exhibits explore physical and kinetic energy, gears, technology, and physics.

Sounds and Hearing- The world of hearing and how sound travels is demonstrated through these exhibits. Visitors can learn about the sounds of Vermont meadows, create music, listen to a humming stone, and experiment with whisper dishes and tubes.

The Earth and Astronomy- Learn about our solar system in exhibits that explore images from NASA, the Hubble Space Telescope, and hands on education about Earth, the planets, the sun, and stars. Visitors will learn about volcanoes, weather, orbits, gravity, and clouds, among other topics.

Water and How It Moves- With indoor and outdoor exhibits to be enjoyed, the water exhibits at Montshire include trails along the lagoon, Cascade, build a dam, play in the pressure fountain or ripple effect, make bubbles, learn how clouds are formed, and participate in a water dance. Many of these exhibits are outdoors and seasonal. It is best to call the museum ahead of your visit to ensure that the water exhibits are open.

Educational Opportunities

The Montshire offers several different programs and activities to further educate the New England communities in science, ecology, and technology. There are daily activities offered at the museum in addition to the hands-on exhibits, special events held throughout the year that are open to the public, as well as special ticketed events. Summer camps and overnight camps are available seasonally and do require preregistration. More information for educators interested in field trips or children or adults interested in workshops or classes is available on the Montshire website.

Back to: Norwich, Best Things to Do in Vermont

One Montshire Road, Norwhich, Vermont, 05055, Phone: 802-649-2200

Things to do near me, beaches, parks, places to visit: Weekend Getaways from Seattle, NC day trips, FL, Near Atlanta, AL

Things to Do in Vermont: Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich

  • History, Photo: Montshire Museum of Science
  • Exhibits, Photo: Montshire Museum of Science
  • Cover Photo: Montshire Museum of Science