Connecticut River Museum is nestled in the historic town of Essex, CT on the banks of the majestic Connecticut River. There are many sights and adventures to explore.


Connecticut River Museum offers several options for exploring and enjoying the Connecticut River. Choose the adventure that’s right for you!

  • OnRust:¬† Take an afternoon cruise on the¬†Onrust.¬†¬†Plan extra time before or after your on-water expedition to tour the galleries or visit the Museum Shop. Only $5 admission to the Museum with your cruise ticket!¬†Built over several years in upstate New York using traditional plans, the¬†Onrust¬†is a wholly unique ship that serves to educate and entertain visitors curious about the age of exploration, the fur trade, and our early colonial history.
  • Paddle Program: Connecticut River Museum‚Äôs Paddle Explorations Program is open for the season and runs through mid-October. Call to reserve your guided tour! Rent a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard and get out on the River! Paddlers are provided with a boat, paddles, and Personal Flotation Device.
  • Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruises:¬†¬†Each winter as the temperature dips below freezing, Bald Eagles from as far north as Canada make their way to the open waters of the Connecticut River for easy fishing and nesting. Climb aboard CT River Expedition‚Äôs 64 ft¬†RiverQuest,¬†a modern, environmentally friendly¬†vessel with heated cabin and ample deck space. An on-board naturalist provides narration while you get an up-close view of the River. Coffee and use of binoculars is included in ticket price as well as free admission to Connecticut River Museum galleries and the¬†Eagles of Essex¬†exhibit.¬†¬†

Exhibit Gallery – The River That Connects Us

Created over millions of years by nature’s greatest forces, the Connecticut Valley is rich in essential resources. The Central Valley is fertile: trees cover the hillsides, stone lay deep in the earth and along the fall line swift streams tumble over waterfalls. As people harvest these resources to make a life for their families, they use the Connecticut River to move products to markets around the globe. The River itself is a great resource, for transportation, for recreation and for inspiration. The River That Connects Us illustrates the River’s environmental impact and its importance to our heritage and to our future.

This exhibit was made possible in part by the Connecticut Humanities Council.


  • Weddings:¬† Connecticut River Museum staff look forward to working with you to make your special day all that you hoped it would be! The Museum‚Äôs dramatic river views make it a beautiful location for spring, summer, or fall weddings. The Museum has facilities to accommodate small intimate celebrations and grand parties of up to 150 guests.
  • Private Functions:¬† The Connecticut River Museum, with its landmark buildings and dramatic 1.5 acre campus overlooking Essex Harbor and the Connecticut River is the perfect location for your reception, corporate meeting, shower or memorial service.¬†


Winter Hours

(Columbus Day ‚Äď Memorial Day)
Closed Mondays
Tuesday ‚Äď Sunday 10AM ‚Äď 5PM

Summer Hours

(Memorial Day ‚Äď Columbus Day)
7 Days/Week: 10AM ‚Äď 5PM