The Scoop: If you want to capture your date’s interest, a trip to the Museum of Russian Icons could be just the ticket. The independent Massachusetts museum boasts having one of the largest collections of Russian icons and artifacts in North America. Couples visiting the museum can enjoy an affordable and thought-provoking date activity. The Museum of Russian Icons is full of conversation starters and offers private tours, special events, and temporary exhibitions to bring history alive for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.

Many couples bond by going on adventures, learning new things, and exploring the world together. That spirit of adventure has brought one Arizona couple to Massachusetts year after year. TripAdvisor user NYU62 and her husband visit the Bay State for two weeks every year and lose themselves in country roads and quaint sights.

In July 2014, the couple went out of their way to visit the Museum of Russian Icons, thanks to the recommendation of a friend, and they said they were utterly impressed by the experience.

“We loved the building as soon as we saw it,” according to NYU62. “It is amazing what they have done to it to retain its character and integrity. My husband is a retired architect, and he especially noticed all the quality detailing. No shortcuts taken here. It is just beautiful!”

Photo of the Museum of Russian Icons

The Museum of Russian Icons is a peaceful place to take a date.

Once the couple went inside the Museum of Russian Icons, they continued to be blown away by the largest domestic collection of Russian icons and artifacts. They marveled over the artful displays and took a docent-led tour to learn more about Soviet propaganda and Russian history. All in all, the couple’s visit took about four hours, and they said they loved every second of it.

“The staff there is so very nice and helpful. Before we left, we also met the owner, who is delighted when patrons are delighted with his collection,” the couple said. “Already looking forward to coming back next year, and, from now on, this museum will be a must for us.”

NYU62 and her husband aren’t the only ones to fall in love with the Museum of Russian Icons. The beloved museum has hosted many romantic excursions and date nights and has become a go-to attraction for singles, couples, and families throughout Clinton, Massachusetts.

The museum opens promptly at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and you can make an appointment for a group tour to learn even more during your visit.

Mary Delaney, who’s the Marketing Director at the Museum of Russian Icons, told us the museum is ideally situated for couples going on a casual date. “The museum is located in Clinton, a quintessential New England small town, which has great restaurants and a beautiful park right across from the museum,” she said.

Over 1,000 Icons & Artifacts Can Get Visitors Talking

From old pennies to WWII posters, Gordon B. Lankton has spent his life collecting pieces of history. Gordon bought his first Russian icon at a flea market in 1989 and has been an avid collector of Russian artifacts ever since. Eventually, his collection got so large that it became too much for his house to display properly, so he decided to start a museum where he could share it with the world.

In 2006, he restored a 150-year-old mill building and turned it into a museum dedicated to Russian art, history, and culture.

Photo of the Museum of Russian Icons

The Museum of Russian Icons can spark interesting conversations among visitors.

“I figure since I’m 81, I won’t be around too long,” he told the Boston Globe in 2012. “I don’t want [the collections] to end up somewhere else. I love Clinton.”

As the owner of the Museum of Russian Icons, Gordon takes immense pride in his collection. He has personally hung some of the artwork in the galleries and used to lead museum tours to share his passion for Russian history. Now at 88, he has entrusted the care of his precious icons to a knowledgeable team of docents and curators.

Since opening its doors, the Museum of Russian Icons has enamored visitors with room after room of beautiful displays. The curators endeavor to make the icons accessible to everyone, so people don’t need a degree in art history to enjoy viewing greeting cards, decorative boxes, portraits, and other artifacts from Eastern Europe.

“It has the largest collection of Russian icons — Orthodox sacred art — outside of Russia,” Mary told us. “The icons date from 1425 to the present. We also have a tea room with Russian tea and treats available and a lovely Museum Shop.”

Exhibitions Give Daters Something New to Discover

The Museum of Russian Icons has an extensive permanent collection, but it also features temporary exhibitions to catch people’s interest. Its seasonal displays highlight different aspects of Slavic traditions and cultures. For instance, in the winter of 2019, the museum plans to unveil photographs from the Ballets Russes by renowned photographer Emil Otto Hoppé.

Photo of a Russian dymka toy

The museum’s exhibitions highlight several unique Russian icons that have endured for generations.

In March 2020, the museum will present an exhibition called Atomic Alert! to educate people about the Cold War and its impact on Eastern Europe.

These exhibitions ensure that there is always something new to explore and discover at the Museum of Russian Icons. Many locals continue to return to the museum to see what it has in store for them.

On the first Sunday of every month, the Museum of Russian Icons offers free admission all day. Admission is also free every day to local school teachers, active-duty military members and families, New England Museum Association (NEMA) members, American Alliance of Museums (AAM) members, and North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM) members.

Visitors can look on the calendar to find out about special events, including educational lectures, book club meetings, film screenings, and interactive tours. Any of these activities would make for a fun date excursion, but the upcoming after-dark tour is particularly popular among couples because it includes specialty drinks and light refreshments. Tickets for this event have already sold out.

Whenever you visit the Museum of Russian Icons, you’re sure to have a unique experience and come away with a renewed appreciation for Russian culture.

Couples & Families Enjoy an Enriching Cultural Experience

The Museum of Russian Icons has become a point of interest for people of all ages. The museum has an impressive five-star rating on TripAdvisor and 4.5 stars on Yelp, and many couples have said they enjoyed dates here.

In 2012, a married couple from Rhode Island visited the Museum of Russian Icons and had the good fortune to take a tour led by Gordon B. Lankton himself. The museum owner weaved an engrossing story about the history of the collection and the museum, and the couple were so enamored that they became members of the museum and have since returned year after year.

Photo at the Museum of Russian Icons

Knowledgeable curators lead tours and explain the history of particular pieces.

“Although the museum is not consecrated space, it is always a very spiritual experience for us,” they said in a review. “If you are looking for a different and rewarding experience, I can heartily recommend the Museum of Russian Icons.”

Another couple went to the museum to see an exhibit called “From Corncobs to Cosmonauts” and said they were pleasantly surprised by how much beauty and history was packed into the galleries. In their opinion, the Russian of Museum Icons was the perfect place to spend a quiet afternoon.

“We had never been to the museum and were impressed by its layout, technology, design, and explanations,” the couple said on TripAdvisor. “The tour was informative and interesting. We will be back.”

A Gloucester resident made a special trip to the museum with his wife in 2014, and they couldn’t say enough nice things about their docent-led tour. “[Dennis] gave a complete history of Icons and their connection to religion. It was even interesting to we heathens,” the review said. “The color and design of the Icons is absolutely beautiful. The museum has a lovely architectural design.”

“I love this kind of art, and the galleries were spacious, well-lit, and very peaceful with authentic choir music playing softly in the background,” said Mary-Lou K. in a Yelp review. “The collection is extensive, and there was also a contemporary exhibit by a modern Russian artist who used ancient techniques to create evocative images of modern Russia.”

“All we can say is, wow,” said Jocelyn W., former Manager at Museum of Russian Icons, in response to a five-star review. “Our visitors are our true stars, and it’s beyond gratifying to hear how much you enjoyed your experience.”

The Museum Has Something for Everyone to Love

Dating adventures come in all shapes and sizes. Some couples may enjoy getting their adrenaline pumping in the outdoors, but others may appreciate a more low-key and thoughtful experience in a museum. The Museum of Russian Icons in Massachusetts can transport visitors to another place and time by surrounding them by historical Russian artifacts.

Whether you live in Clinton or are road-tripping through town, you can stop by the Museum of Russian of Icons to slow down for an hour or two with a loved one and see the world from a different perspective. The museum can offer a fun date activity to engage and enlighten people with a thirst for knowledge.

As Mary Delaney said, “If folks are interested in seeing a one-of-a-kind collection and learning about another culture and traditions, they can make a day of it at the Museum of Russian Icons.”