Local youth Rufus Porter became a leading folk artist, painting landscape and harbor murals on the walls of New England homes in the early 1800s, including those in the museum's red Cape Cod–style house. Also an inventor, Porter founded Scientific American magazine. Early issues are showcased, as are some of his inventions and miniature portraits. Changing exhibits feature 19th-century folk and decorative arts. By 2014, the museum will also include an 1840s house
at 121 Main Street.