A bounty of offbeat sites for the curious

Public Health Museum
365 East St., Tewksbury, 978-851-732,1 ext. 2606

Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, first Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and by appointment
Admission: $5

The museum opened in 1994 on the grounds of Tewksbury Hospital. Learn about the history of the state hospital from its beginnings as an 1850s alms house, and see how medicine evolved over the last century. You’ll see handwritten prescriptions from 1906, tools used for bloodletting, a bottle of “Beef Iron Wine” and other patent medicines, cuffs and ankle restraints that were once used to hold down patients, and an iron lung.

New England Pirate Museum
274 Derby St., Salem, 978-741-2800

Hours: Open weekends in April. Open every day 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., May through October
Admission: $9; $7 for children ages 4 to 13; $8 for seniors
This museum takes visitors back to a time when pirate captains William Kidd and Edward “Blackbeard” Teach roamed the seas. You can also buy a combination ticket that will admit you to the Witch History Museum (197-201 Essex St., Salem, 978-741-7770) and Witch Dungeon Museum (16 Lynde St., Salem, 978-741-3570)

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The Paper House
52 Pigeon Hill St., Rockport. 978-546-2629

Hours: Closed for the winter. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily spring through fall (2014 opening day is first Friday in April)
Admission: $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 6 to 14

One day in 1922, Elis F. Stenman, a mechanical engineer who designed machines that make paper clips, began building a summer cottage out of newspaper as a hobby. His paper house still stands today. Inside, you’ll find a piano, desk, and chair made out of newspapers.

New England Quilt Museum
18 Shattuck St., Lowell, 978-452-4207

Hours: November through April: Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; May through October: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
Admission: $8; free for children under 12

The museum is currently hosting an exhibition on Japanese quilts. If you’re looking for laughs, watch out for the upcoming exhibition called “Humorous Quilts: Keeping Us in Stitches.” It’s scheduled to open Oct. 9, 2014.


Peabody Leather Workers Museum
205 Washington St., Peabody, 978-531-0355
Winter hours: Saturday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., or by appointment
Admission: free

Once upon a time, Peabody was nicknamed the Leather Capital of the World. Check out leather-working machinery, tools, photographs, and other artifacts from the 300-year history of the city’s tanning industry.

Middlesex Canal Museum and Visitor Center
71 Faulkner St., North Billerica, 978-670-2740
Hours: Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.; weekdays by appointment

This museum at the Faulkner Mill was created by volunteers to preserve the history of the Middlesex Canal, a 27-mile waterway built between 1793 and 1803. According to the museum’s website, the canal’s success led to the construction of the Erie Canal.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.