170 Years of History
The Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer House Museum
Step into the lives of two sea captains, their families, and ancestors when you pass through the grand front entrance of the Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer House. There, you will want to rush to the top floor and observe Stonington Harbor from our magnificent cupola. But, there is much to discover within the lower floors of the museum. You can take a close look at the model of Palmer’s sloop Hero, and imagine him discovering the Antarctic Peninsula at age 21 on his modest 47-foot sailboat. Numerous other model ships are on display, as well as dollhouses, and period textiles. Throughout the house you will find evidence of the Palmer family’s involvement in shipbuilding, international trade, and family life in the mid 19th century and beyond. Plus, new exhibits on topics of local historic interest are featured at both the Palmer House and the Woolworth Research Library next door.
The grounds and gardens are the perfect place to relax and enjoy a picnic lunch during your visit. The natural beauty of this place is enriched by the stories shared in the house.
About the house: this 14-room Victorian mansion was built in 1852 by two brothers, captains Nathaniel Brown Palmer and Alexander Smith Palmer. Majestically sited, overlooking the upper end of Stonington harbor, “Pine Point” offers sweeping water views in all directions. From its octagonal cupola, the family could identify ships arriving from distant ports.
Once threatened by demolition, this magnificent home was purchased by the Stonington Historical Society in 1994 and is now preserved as a National Historic Landmark. Memorabilia pertaining to Nathaniel’s discovery of Antarctica and the Palmer brothers’ adventurous lives is on display, as are family portraits, furnishings, and artifacts.
Schedule and Directions
Closed for the winter. Please check back for open hours in the Spring of 2022.
Admission: $10 for Adults; $5 for Children 5-17; Members, residents of Stonington, and children under the age of 5 are free.
Admission grants access to the Lighthouse Museum as well.
Out of an abundance of caution, face coverings will be required when inside the Capt. Palmer House.
The Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer House
40 Palmer Street
Stonington, CT 06378
The Captain Palmer House is located at 40 Palmer Street in Stonington, CT. Take Exit 91 on I-95 from either direction. Turn south on Route 234 (Pequot Trail) 0.4 miles to left turn at North Main Street and proceed 1.5 miles to traffic light at intersection with Route 1. Turn right on Route 1. Turn left at next traffic light onto North Water Street (Route 1A). Immediately across Lambert’s Cove and after the Pine Point Bridge, the Captain Palmer House will be on your left. Park in the Woolworth Library parking area next door to house.