The boats and trolleys are stashed away for the winter. But there's still plenty to do this month at Lowell National Historical Park and the Tsongas Industrial History Center. All events are free.

On Sunday, Dec. 9, at 2 p.m., at Boott Cotton Mills Museum, 115 John St., learn what makes for a good medicine at "Lowell Talks: Snake Oil and Sarsaparilla." The program explores Lowell's history as a patent-medicine mecca at the turn of the century, when popular elixirs like Hood's Sarsaparilla, Ayer's Cherry Pectoral and Father John's were manufactured here. Today's pharmaceutical industry works differently, but herbologists are still in business here and making medicines that are connected to Lowell's past.

Bring the kids to Spindle City Storytime!, a story hour and craft time, on Monday, Dec. 10, at 10 a.m., at the Visitor Center, 246 Market St. It's Ada Lovelace's birthday, so the activities will honor the pioneering 19th-century scientist with a story about computers and women in science. The program is geared to kids ages 5 and up, but all are welcome to attend. No reservations needed.

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, enjoy an hourlong session of meditative manual weaving, using looms at the Tsongas Industrial History Center, housed at Boott Museum. Two separate sessions, 6-7 p.m. and 7-8 p.m., will be held. No prior experience required, but reservations are needed. Call 978-970-5000 to sign up.


The Visitor Center is open daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Boott Museum is open Monday-Thursday, noon-4 p.m., and Friday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m. The Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit is open Wednesday-Sunday, 1:30-4 p.m. The park and all facilities close Dec. 24 and 31 at 4 p.m., and will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Visit or call 978-970-5000 for info.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is

Art picks

LOWELL OFFERINGS: "We Are the Night: Urban Night Photography Series" by Henry Marte is on view through December at the LTC Gallery at Lowell Telecommunications Corporation, 246 Market St. For information on booking the gallery to exhibit your artwork, call Gloria Polites at 978-364-5154 or email her at ... Ayer Lofts Gallery, 172 Middle St., presents "The Allure of Obsolescence and Recalling Place," an exhibit of transparent watercolors and acrylic skin collages by Ann Brady, on view through Dec. 30. Visit ... New England Quilt Museum members enjoy 25 percent off all purchases in the museum store during December.

The museum is at 18 Shattuck St. ... The Whistler House Museum of Art's annual Holiday Party and Art Auction are Friday, Dec. 7, at 6:30 p.m., at the Whistler House, 243 Worthen St. Call 978-452-7641 or visit

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS: Concord Museum hosts several fun-filled holiday events this weekend. Santa stops by Saturday, Dec. 8, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., for a special morning of photos, crafts, treasure hunts and more. On Sunday, Dec. 9, it's Authors and Illustrators Day in the museum's new Rasmussen Education Center. At noon, a special interactive performance with world-renowned author Louisa May Alcott takes place. Jan Turnquist, executive director of the Alcott Orchard House, portrays Alcott. From 1-4 p.m., meet nine popular children's book authors, also in the Rasmussen Center. On both days, see 31 whimsical trees and wreaths on view as part of the 23rd annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children's Literature. Visit or call 978-369-9763, ext. 216.

MUSEUM MUSIC MAKING: Worcester Art Museum offers two weekends of holiday music-making in its Renaissance Court. On Sunday, Dec. 10, the Salisbury Singers, a mixed chorus directed by Michelle Graveline, perform holiday favorite. On Sunday, Dec. 17, the Merrimack Valley Ringers, a hand-bell ensemble, delight audiences with their infectious playing. Both performances are at 2 p.m. Visit for info.