The epic story of the Fruitlands Museums starts in 1843, when a group of Massachusetts crazies decided to start a 90-acre utopian community in Harvard, inspired by Transcendentalists. The group (led by Bronson Alcott, father of Louisa May) decided to call their utopia "Fruitlands," even though there were only a few apple trees around. They planned to grow all of their own fruits and vegetables and live off of the land, but it would appear they didn't know WTF they were doing because, after less than a year, they gave up and bounced. In 1910, the failed utopian community was purchased and turned it into a cluster of museums and historic buildings: the Fruitlands Museums. Its permanent exhibitions depict the histories of Native Americans, Shakers, and Transcendentalists in New England, including the original Fruitlands farmhouse that the Alcotts created, and collections of Hudson River School landscapes, 19th-century vernacular portraits, and a preserved "Shaker office" originally constructed in the Harvard Shaker Village in 1796. Even if it's ultimately not as epic as it sounds, at least you'll probably leave with a shitload of untapped names for post–Animal Collective experimental pop bands. Win win!
Fruitlands Museums, 102 Prospect Hill Rd, Harvard | 978.456.3924 or fruitlands.org
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