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Overview

Raising the Flag at Iwo JimaThe Wright Museum's mission is to preserve and share the stories of America's Greatest Generation for the benefit of generations to come. As a one-of-a-kind non-profit institution, the Wright Museum collects and displays artifacts that illustrate the Second World War's significant and lasting impact on American life.

During WWII, Americans from all walks of life pulled together to defend freedom against a global threat to our commonly-held values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of a better life. Hardened by the privations of the Great Depression, Americans were primed for the sacrifices necessary to thwart the forces assembled against them.

Sixty-five years after the end of World War II, we are losing 1,000 veterans each day. Now is the time for their children and grandchildren to come together - to celebrate their achievements and remember the sacrifices of those who helped defend our commonly-held values. 

Whether it was on the front lines of battle or through efforts on the home front to conserve fuel and rubber, Americans pulled together to realize a common goal as never before--or since. 

 

The Museum

The Wright Museum consists of three distinct sections: a home front gallery and theater, a two-story Visitor's Center, and the museum's military wing, which houses exhibits devoted to all branches of the armed services. Among the highlights of the museum's military exhibition is a large collection of fully-operational vintage military vehicles, including a 42-ton Pershing tank - the only known surviving example from the 1945 crossing at Remagen Bridge.

Every July the Museum holds its annual Family Day event.  During this event we make part of our vehicle collection available for rides. WWII Women at Work Poster

A Time Tunnel links the Home Front gallery to the military exhibits. Visitors walk through the years 1939-1945 with special displays of artifacts highlighting each of the seven years. Returning and first time visitors give this section of the museum high marks for the quality of the exhibits and its innovative approach in historical interpretation.

The entire museum is air-conditioned, wheelchair accessible, and the parking lot has ample space for tour buses. If you have any questions, we recommend that you contact us at 603/569-1212 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The museum is open May 1-Oct.31.   Visitors should allow between one to two hours to tour the museum and peruse the gift shop.

The Wright Museum is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational institution supported by public donations. To learn more about how you can support the museum's educational mission, please consider becoming a Wright Museum member today.

 

Origins and History of the Wright Museum

Museum Founder David Wright

Museum founder David Wright was the son of a WWI veteran who himself served in the U.S. Marines during the Korean War. Since he was too young to serve in WWII, his recollections of the event were of his home front experiences growing up near Worcester, Mass.

Wright was an avid collector of WWII vintage vehicles, which he collected and restored over many years. He continued until he had over 50 vehicles, all totally restored and fully operational. By 1983 the E. Stanley Wright Museum Foundation, Inc. was established in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.

Originally, the Museum was essentially a mobile exhibition, which Wright made available to communities around the Northeast for parades and military functions at venues such as the Roosevelt Museum and West Point.

While his collection was - and continues to be - impressive, Wright believed that it was imperative to tell the whole story of Americans' contribution to the war effort. As he began to develop plans for a permanent museum, Wright felt it necessary to document the great achievements of Americans on the home front, since it was their commitment to the war effort that played such a crucial role in the Allied victory.

Wright Museum's Soda FountainIn 1992 David Wright purchased an 8-acre parcel adjacent to Wolfeboro's Smith River, the former site of the Diamond National sawmill. On July 16, 1994 the doors opened to the museum's first visitors.

Since then, nearly 200,000 people have visited the Wright Museum. Some visit out of curiosity after having seen the M3A1 Stuart tank protruding from the building's facade. What they find inside conjures memories for visitors of a certain age. For families visiting the Wright Museum, its exhibits often spur conversations across the generations, allowing parents, grandparents, and children to contemplate the achievements of the Greatest Generation.

In short, the Wright Museum illustrates the extraordinary efforts made by ordinary people living at a time when the future of the free world lay in the balance. Americans of all ages and all strata of society pulled together and did their part.

 

Visitor Comments

Tim Gray, filmmaker and Founder of the World War II Foundation said: “The Wright Museum is a real gem.  I found the collection fascinating and the layout of the World War II items is exceptionally well done. I encourage everyone to visit and see the amazing collection they have honoring those who fought in WWII.”

 

New Hampshire State Senator Jeb Bradley said of the Wright Museum: “This unique museum reflects not only a critical time in our nation’s history, but is a living memorial to the steadfast courage of America’s “greatest generation”.

 

Former US Senator and WWII Veteran Bob Dole said that, “The Wright Museum tells a story that, more than ever, today’s generation of Americans – and especially our young people – need to understand and appreciate.”

 

Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns praised the Wright Museum for the “vitally-important work” of the Museum in making the past come alive.

 

In 2013, WMUR television program “New Hampshire Chronicle” visited the Wright Museum. In the resulting television program “Chronicle” said:  “The Museum is filled with treasurers that help us honor America’s greatest generation”, and “fulfills the veteran’s creed that we shall never forget.”

 

Our Mission

The Wright Museum educates present and future generations about the impact and continuing relevance of the contributions of the American people, perhaps our greatest generation, both on the home front and on the fields of battle during World War II.