When I visited the Mashantucket Pequot Museum in 2005 for the first time it made an impression. The building is massive and the architecture, which features more windows than you can count, is certainly eye catching. The exhibits on display are interesting as well as well curated. There are also many elements of interactive technology to make learning hands-on. While I may not be a casino girl, I certainly am a museum girl. And the Mashantucket Pequot Museum is a favorite. So as we planned our recent trip to Mystic, Connecticut, I was hesitant to visit the museum again. Would it still be as impressive? Or has it gone downhill in the intervening years? Luckily, I had nothing to worry about.
About the Mashantucket Pequot Museum
The Mashantucket Pequot Museum is a large museum dedicated to the history of Native Americans, their lifestyle and culture. In particular, the museum specializes in the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Connecticut/New England area. There are many life-size and life-like dioramas detailing many aspects of life, from hunting to agriculture. There are also many items on display from their collection. One of my favorites was a collection of baskets, including one made from bark and decorated with a detailed pattern. There’s also lots of art on the walls of the museum that I highly encourage visitors to seek out. They don’t draw a lot of attention to the art but it’s not to be missed.
Because the museum is owned and operated by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation itself, there’s extra attention put into almost everything. These exhibits aren’t just recounting history of nameless individuals but of ancestors. In one room of the museum, portraits of modern day tribe members hang on the wall. It’s an important reminder that this isn’t just history: this is life.
The museum also has special exhibits. During my visit in 2014 there was a special exhibition on the American bison. As I learned, the American bison is not what is commonly referred to as the buffalo. The buffalo, in fact, is actually a completely different animal that is not in North America. While not extremely large, the exhibit on the bison was full of details, examples and lots of information.
The exhibit is a great example of the rotating exhibitions that the museum offers.
Visiting the Mashantucket Pequot Museum
In many ways, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum hasn’t aged a day. OK, admittedly, some of the dioramas don’t look as modern or fresh just due to time ticking away. But everything has been maintained so well that it’s hard to find a criticism. It’s definitely worth a visit. Or two (or more)!
Getting to the museum is very easy and there’s ample free parking. There’s also a shuttle that runs from the Foxwoods Resort & Casino to the museum.
Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center
110 Pequot Trail
P.O. Box 3180
Mashantucket, CT 06338-3180