Along the riverbank in the last steamboat dock in Essex, Connecticut, the Connecticut River Museum reveals cultural and environmental stories.

“Visitors love the museum’s waterfront campus and the beautiful views of the lower river valley,” said Jennifer White Dobbs, education director and marketing coordinator for the museum. “The lower Connecticut River Valley has been deemed one of America’s Last Great Places by the Nature Conservancy and is an environment of international ecological significance. The tidal marsh habitats are well preserved, and it is one of the few large rivers that does not have a city at its mouth.”

Groups have the option of learning about the Connecticut River and its heritage at the museum via a self-guided or a guided tour.

Exhibits and programs vary by the time of year, with the third-floor gallery switching exhibits several times during the year. There is an option for evening programs, including a sunset cruise on the Onrust.

One of the museum’s most popular exhibits is on the Turtle submarine, thanks to the story it tells. The Turtle was the first operational submersible vessel, and it was tested in the Connecticut River in 1776 during the Revolutionary War. The exhibit features two replicas. People can actually climb aboard one of the replicas.

The vertical gallery is another popular exhibit for visitors. The mural takes them along a “walk” of the Connecticut River.

The museum is willing to make arrangements for groups to have a catered lunch while visiting.

Operators are asked to schedule a group visit two weeks in advance. The museum is open to the public six days a week in the winter season but will open on Monday for a group visit if it is scheduled in advance. Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more people with advance registration.

For more information on the Connecticut River Museum, call 860-767-8269 or visit

Article by Steph Lulofs