The Collection

The artifacts found at the Skinner Museum range from meteorites to musical instruments, from arrowheads to account books.  The varied collections represent the interests of Joseph Skinner who assembled the majority of the objects in the decades before the Museum opened in 1932.  His eclectic interests resulted in a museum that is part cabinet-of-curiosities and part idealized colonial re-creation.  The collections span several centuries and many continents.

The buildings themselves are a major part of the Skinner Museum collection.  In 1928, as part of an effort to provide more drinking water for eastern Massachusetts, the Boston Metropolitan water company decided to flood Swift River Valley and create the Quabbin Reservoir.  Before the towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott were flooded, Joseph Skinner dismantled two buildings from Prescott and moved them to South Hadley. The First Congregational Church was built in 1821, with some later additions, and is today the home of the Skinner Museum.  The District Schoolhouse now serves as storage for the Museum. 

The majority of the almost 7,000 objects in the collection are on view at the Museum.