The best way to learn about history is to see it for yourself. Since we don’t (yet) have time machines that can transport us back to different moments in history, that doesn’t mean we can’t experience what life was like long ago.

Living history museums offer an interactive, fun, and vibrant way of learning about our rich past. Step back in time with a visit to one or more of these 23 living history museums, events, festivals, historic sites, and reenactments held around the country for an educational experience you won’t soon forget.

1. Plimoth Plantation – Plymouth, Massachusetts

It has been more than 400 years since the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. Since then, Plymouth, Massachusetts has enjoyed a vibrant and diverse history. Today, visitors to Plimoth Plantation can get a taste of what life was like four centuries ago.

Source: Instagram/plimothpatuxet

In addition to a replica of the Mayflower, visitors can enjoy the Patuxet Homesite, the Plimoth Grist Mill, and a 17th century English Village. The living history attraction merges the history and lifestyle of the Native American people with the newly arrived English pilgrims.

2. Maritime Museum of San Diego – San Diego, California

The Maritime Museum of San Diego preserves the maritime history of Southern California. Among the museum’s collection of historic vessels are the Star of India and the HMS Surprise, a replica of the frigate in the film Master and Commander.

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The museum, which was founded in 1948, offers visitors a living history experience that is both educational and engaging. Tickets are available for guests interested in sailing on a replica tall sailing ship from the Gold Rush era or a PCF-816 swift boat.

3. Greenfield Village – Dearborn, Michigan

Industrialist Henry Ford’s workshop outside Detroit, Michigan, was expanded by Ford himself in 1929 into Greenfield Village. The 80-acre living history facility has more than 80 buildings – houses, shops, businesses, and workshops – dating from the 17th century to the early 20th century – that have been moved to the village.

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Costumed tour guides and interpreters provide visitors with historical information about many of the attractions. Not only will you learn about Henry Ford and America’s industrial age, but you can gain a clearer understanding of how people of the past lived and worked.

4. Colonial Williamsburg – Williamsburg, Virginia

Encompassing an area of more than 300-acres, Colonial Williamsburg is a living history museum that employs a staff of costumed characters who dress and speak like they just stepped out of the 17th century.

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Stroll along the three main streets of Williamsburg’s historic district to see homes and businesses that date back to the time when the city was the capital of the Colony of Virginia. You will also see architecture from the 17th through 19th centuries.

5. Historic Square at Stone Mountain Park – Stone Mountain, Georgia

The buildings at Historic Square at Stone Mountain are all original structures that were built between 1793 and 1875 and moved from their original locations to Historic Square. Guests can enjoy the living museum at their leisure.

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Historic Square is more than just a collection of buildings. There are gardens, a working cookhouse, and an old steam railroad that will paint a bigger picture of antebellum life in Georgia.

6. Castillo de San Marcos – St. Augustine, Florida

The oldest fort in the United States is, of course, located in St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the U.S. This Spanish-built fort dates back to the 1500s when Florida was part of Spain’s New World Empire. At the Castillo de San Marcos, visitors can literally experience the sights and sounds of the past.

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Every weekend, historical reenactors at Castillo de San Marcos dress in period costumes to give a demonstration on historic weapons. Yes, they fire cannons and shoot muskets!

7. Camlann Medieval Village – Carnation, Washington

If medieval history is more your thing, you’ll love Camlann Medieval Village in Carnation, Washington. This living history attraction is a recreated English village from 1376. It is more historically accurate than Game of Thrones, but there is a battlefield where knights joust!

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The shops, blacksmith forge, cider mill, and pub are all reminiscent of rural England during the Middle Ages. Performers present minstrel shows. Camlann Medieval Village even hosts medieval festivals and traditional Old English feasts.

8. Fort Ticonderoga – Ticonderoga, New York

A true living history experience, Fort Ticonderoga presents daily demonstrations on the life of a typical soldier in the mid-1700s. Guests can watch the musket and cannon firings, walk through the kitchen garden, and see how shoes were made during the pre-Revolutionary War Era.

Source: Fort Ticonderoga

A few times throughout the year, Fort Ticonderoga plays host to large-scale period reenactments with hundreds of participants in full period costumes. Spectators can truly get the experience of a colonial battle by attending one of these reenactments.

9. Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is a town that simply oozes history but for a truly immersive experience, the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is where it’s at. Visitors can learn about Boston’s role in the days leading up to the Revolutionary War

Source: Trip Advisor

Visitors can even interact with historic interpreters in colonial costumes at the museum and aboard the ships. They can even dump some faux tea into the Boston Harbor like a real patriot rebel.

10. Fort Mackinac – Mackinac Island, Michigan

A visit to Michigan’s Mackinac Island is like a journey back in time. There are no cars allowed on the island, so the only forms of transportation are horse-drawn carriages and bicycles. The island is home to the oldest building in the state, Fort Mackinac, which is now a living history museum.

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In the 1700s, Fort Mackinac stood guard over the Straits of Mackinac, an important sailing route along the Great Lakes. Visitors to the fort today can participate in several hands-on activities and demonstrations that will make them feel like they’ve stepped back in time. Want to fire a cannon yourself? This is the place to do it!

11. Mystic Seaport – Mystic, Connecticut

Roughly two hundred years ago, Mystic, Connecticut, was the center for America’s whaling industry. Today, Mystic Seaport helps guests feel transported back to the great seafaring days of New England.

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Visitors can watch costumed craftsmen demonstrate sailing techniques, ship building, and even repairing the old wooden vessels. The last surviving whaleship from America’s whaling era is at Mystic Seaport. Guests are welcome to climb aboard to experience the life of a whaler.

12. Taos Historic Museums – Taos, New Mexico

The Taos Historic Museums in New Mexico offer visitors two locations in which to immerse themselves in the rich history of the region. The E.L. Blumenschein Home and Museum pays homage to the art culture of Taos while the La Hacienda De Los Martinez is one of the few remaining “Great Houses” of the late Spanish Colonial era.

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At both locations, guests can absorb the culture and history of the American southwest while watching art, craft, farming, and cooking demonstrations. The costumed interpreters interact with the public and can answer questions.

13. Mission San Luis – Tallahassee, Florida

The local Apalachee Indian tribe and Spanish settlers lived together in harmony at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee in the early 1700s. The mission is now an open-air living history museum where visitors can learn about the culture of both groups.

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The attraction features a restored village where guests can watch demonstrations of crafts, cooking, and metalworking from the time period. The Franciscan church and the Apalachee Council House are highlights of the living history museum.

14. Texas Renaissance Festival – Todd Mission, Texas

Texas may seem like an unlikely place to see court jesters and pub keepers from Tudor England, but that is where the town of Todd Mission hosts the largest Renaissance Festival in the United States. The festival takes place every weekend in October and November at the 55-acre site.

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Guests can shop at roughly 400 stores and vendor booths, purchase giant turkey legs for lunch or selfie props, and enjoy the non-stop musical and theatrical performances.

15. Minuteman Missile National Historic Site – Philip, South Dakota

Cold War intrigue and military history combine at the Minuteman Missile site in South Dakota. The hands-on displays at this museum reinforce our understanding of recent (ish) history, from the 1950s to the 1990s.

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Ever want to gaze down into a nuclear missile silo? Here’s your chance! Do you want to feel like James Bond or Jason Bourne? At the Minuteman Missile site, you can tour an underground missile control compound.

16. Living History Farms – Urbandale, Iowa

Iowa’s fertile farmland and agricultural history is on display at the Living History Farms in Iowa. Here, guests can see farming practices from three different moments in history. The Ioway Indian farm demonstrates Native American farming techniques from 1700.

Source: Catch Des Moines

The pioneer farm shows guests how settlers to Iowa during the Westward Movement of the mid-1800s utilized the land. Lastly, the 1900 farm allows visitors to see advances in agricultural practices and how horse-powered equipment made the job of the farmer easier.

17. Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park – Lafayette, Louisiana

Louisiana’s history is unique, thanks to the different cultures that all influenced the area. At Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park, visitors can learn about the local Native American people, the Creole culture, and the Acadian influence.

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As part of the living history experience, visitors can tour the restored houses and shops and watch as artisans and historic interpreters demonstrate bygone tasks like churning butter, spinning cotton, and making horseshoes.

18. Pioneer Village at Spring Mill State Park – Mitchell, Indiana

At this restored pioneer village in southern Indiana, visitors can see what life was like for people living in the 1800s. The village has nearly two dozen historic buildings on its site that offer a glimpse into the past.

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One of the highlights of the Pioneer Village at Spring Mill State Park is the gristmill. This mill, which was built in 1817, is a three-story limestone structure that is still operational today. The historic interpreters, wearing period costumes, take visitors on a figurative trip back to the year 1863.

19. Old Sturbridge Village – Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Guests can witness rural New England life from the early 1800s at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. This is a working farm. The costumed interpreters tend the heritage-breed livestock animals, work the grist mill, grow heirloom vegetables, and demonstrate period crafts.

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Guests to the living history site can also take a riverboat ride and an historic stagecoach ride to help them understand how people of the past traveled.

20. El Rancho De Las Golondrinas – Sante Fe, New Mexico

The costumed staff of El Rancho De Las Golondrinas take visitors through the vibrant history of New Mexico, from the Native American people to Spanish colonists to pioneer days. The grounds cover more than 200-acres and feature several original colonial-era buildings.

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The living history attraction hosts several festivals throughout the year. In addition, artisans and craftspeople showcase colcha embroidery and traditional weaving techniques.

21. D-Day Conneaut – Conneaut, Ohio

If you want the opportunity to witness the Allied troops storming the beaches of Normandy without traveling to France, you are in luck. At the D-Day Conneaut in Ohio every August, you can watch as an astonishing 1,800 reenactors, all wearing World War II military uniforms, reenact the taking of Omaha Beach.

Source: Romania Journal

The large-scale reenactment included World War II planes, heavy artillery, and boats. The shores of Lake Erie take the place of the Normandy coast.

22. Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine – Beckley, West Virginia

West Virginia’s coal mining days are on display at Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine. There, guests can get a true taste of the mining life in rural Appalachia. With veteran and retired miners serving as tour guides, guests will enjoy an authentic experience.

Source: bdtonline/Josephine E. Moore

You can ride through a dark mine shaft, see an old-time coal camp, and learn about the days when coal power fueled the Industrial Revolution.

23. Boot Hill Museum – Dodge City, Kansas

American history buffs can experience the Old West at Boot Hill Museum in historic Dodge City. The museum’s collection includes more than 60,000 artifacts from gunslingers, outlaws, and sheriffs of the wild, wild west.

Source: Catherine Parker

In Dodge City, visitors can also visit Boot Hill Cemetery and the famous Long Branch Saloon. During the summer months, gunfighters reenact shootouts in the street two times a day.