Off the beaten path
Little-known small museums in the region south of Boston:
Massachusetts Golf Museum
300 Arnold Palmer Boulevard, Norton
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This museum has been open since 2002 and features interactive kiosks, multimedia quizzes, and a video tribute to the game of golf in the Bay State. But the museum is not exactly a tourist destination. “We realize it’s a small museum,’’ said spokeswoman Becky Blaeser. “We got a call once from someone who wanted to drive here from New York. We were hesitant to tell them to make the four-hour trip here.’’ Instead, said Blaeser, “we encourage local groups.’’
Middleborough Historical Museum
18 Jackson St., Middleborough
Hours: Closed for the winter; will reopen July 2012
Admission: $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens, $2 for students, children under 6 are free.
The museum is located on the corner of Jackson and Lincoln streets. The property includes six historically significant buildings and a five-seat outhouse that dates back to the 1700s. The museum maintains an extensive collection, including vintage fire apparatus, antique furniture, and items that once belonged to General Tom Thumb and his wife, Lavinia Warren.
Hull Lifesaving Museum
1117 Nantasket Ave., Hull
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Admission: Adults $5; seniors $3; 18 and under free
The museum, headquartered at the 1889 Point Allerton US Lifesaving Station, hosts events and programs throughout the year. A campaign is underway to raise $275,000 to restore the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Shea Field Naval Aviation Historical Museum
495 Shea Memorial Drive, Weymouth
Hours: 9 to 11 a.m. on the last Saturday of every month
Old military newsletters sit in plastic sleeves, like the January 1947 issue of the Squantum Witch. On one wall hangs a large wooden plane propeller - a spare part from an early training aircraft that was flown out of Squantum’s naval air station. On another wall is a huge blue-and-gold flag that was displayed at the Squantum base from 1923 until it closed in 1953.
There are black-and-white photographs of gigantic blimps parked in an enormous hangar during the 1940s, when South Weymouth was an active blimp base. Visitors can also see a helmet worn by pilots in the 1950s and ’60s and an actual “sonobuoy’’ that was used to track submarines.
Maritime and Irish Mossing Museum
301 Driftway, Scituate
Hours: Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. year-round; Saturdays and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. during July and August
Admission: Adults $4; seniors $3; under 18 free
See the tools used to harvest Irish moss (a red algae known as chondrus crispus) from the ocean, learn how this funny-sounding seaweed made many men rich, and find out why Lucien Rousseau is known as Scituate’s last “Irish moss king.’’ The museum is collaborating with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and features exhibits on local shipwrecks, like the Portland, a paddle wheel steamship that sank in 1898.
Robbins Museum of Archaeology
17 Jackson St., Middleborough
Hours: Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Admission: $5 for adults and $2 for children. Free for Middleborough students.
The museum was named after Maurice “Doc’’ Robbins, a founding member of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society. It has been in Middleborough since 1989, and features a collection of Native American dolls, a handcrafted mishoon (dugout canoe), projectile points, and artifacts from archeological sites.
Compiled by Emily Sweeney