Joseph Allen Skinner Museum
Joseph Allen Skinner, the museum that now carries his name displays the wide-ranging collection of curious that the man was able to accumulate in an effort to create some wonder through his oddities. Containing over 7,000 items accumulated by Skinner during his time in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Strict record keeping was not a priority at the museum so the origin of many of the items is nearly unknown, however, this actually works to give the collection an even greater air of mystery. Among the collection are such varied items as antique rifles, Native American artifacts, a rare coco-de-mare, ship models, lighting devices, early American kitchen implements, stuffed birds, and more and more. The Skinner Museum is a cacophony of curiosity unlike any other.
The collection is held in a church that used to be located in a nearby town, but Skinner had the 1800’s chapel moved to South Hadley just to contain his stuff. After Skinner passed away, the museum came under the care of Mount Holyoke College who maintains the collection to this day. Skinner may be gone, but his sense of wonder is alive and well. On route 116 just north of mount Holyoke college, located in a 19th-century church building relocated from the town of Prescott, MA, one of the Lost Towns dismantled to make way for the Quabbin Reservoir. for information call 413-538-2245. The museum is only open Wednesday and Sunday 2-5 p.m. or by appointment in May through October. Tour the museum, and see a bevy of wonderfully odd items, like the Teddy Roosevelt nutcracker and mummified wedding cake. Don’t forget to check out this place in Holyoke too.
Founded in 1932, this museum features the curiosities and knick-knacks collected by the late Joseph Allen Skinner. While it rests in South Hadley, this museum still deserves a spot on our list of the best things to do in Holyoke, MA. After all, this museum is just a 12-minute drrive from Holyoke via MA-116 S. And more importantly, this museum showcases an array of 20th-century oddities and curiosities. The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum is a cabinet of curiosities collected by silk magnate Joseph Skinner throughout his life. The collection is housed in the former First Congregational Church of Prescott, Massachusetts, which was built in 1846 and moved to South Hadley by Skinner in 1930 during the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir. If you are ever in need of a cabinet maker, click here.