Forbes House Museum

Long considered the Jewel of Milton, the Forbes House Museum chronicles the history of an entrepreneurial American family.


The Forbes House Museum is located atop Milton Hill, overlooking Boston’s skyline, the Neponset River marshes, and Boston Harbor in the distance. In the early 1600s, the Neponset Tribe settled at this site along the Neponset River, overlooking the Great Blue Hills. In the late 1700s, the last royal governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchinson (1711–1780), owned a 95-acre estate on Milton Hill and spent his leisure hours planting trees and cultivating his gardens.

Our China trade collection includes 19th-century export porcelain, paintings, furniture, and other unique items brought back from China by Captain Robert Bennet Forbes and his family. You can see examples of Canton blue-and-white china and three pairs of Chinese Foo Dogs. On view are portraits of the powerful Chinese foreign trade official, Houqua, and Thomas Tunno Forbes, the Captain’s older brother who perished in the waters of China in 1829. See peacock feathers, bronze Chinese cranes, and sculptures of Buddha and the goddess of mercy, Guan Yin.


Study the past if you would define the future.Confucius

The latest from RBF’s Letterbook

We Have a New Website!

Jun 22, 2015

As you can see, The Forbes House Museum has a new website! It has many new features, including a mobile-friendly layout, an all new design, social media integration, an online catalog, virtual exhibit, and much more. The China Trade Trail section of this website, which includes links to many other points of interest, has also […]

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Some fun facts

number of civilian captains who commanded a U.S. navy ship in American history (Captain Robert Bennet Forbes)

number of years that Mary Bowditch Forbes collected Civil War and President Lincoln memorabilia

number of months for carpenter Thomas Murdock to build a replica of President Lincoln’s birth cabin on the Forbes property

cost of labor and materials to build Forbes House in 1833

age of Captain Robert Bennet Forbes on his first voyage to Canton, China, in 1817

number of tons of food transported by Captain Forbes to Cork, Ireland, in 1847 during the Great Famine

number of Irish immigrants who worked at Forbes House from 1833-2000

number of nautical miles from Boston Harbor to Canton (now Guangzhou), China

Get in touch

Contact us today to schedule a visit or just to say hi!

Forbes House Museum

215 Adams Street
Milton, Massachusetts 02186
Tel: 617-696-1815\\Fax: 617-696-1907

Office Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10am–5pm

Summer 2015 Tour Schedule! All guided tours will begin at 3:15pm. 

Sunday, June 14

Sunday, July 12

Sunday, August 9

Smithsonian Museum Day, Saturday, September 26 (1–4pm)

For more information on the 2015 summer tour schedule, visit the What’s Happening page of this website.

General information on guided Tours at the Forbes House Museum


Guided tours of the Museum are offered year-round. Reservations are required and visitors should call the Museum at least 24 hours in advance to reserve their space. Tours are typically held Sundays at 1 p.m., unless otherwise noted.The Museum suspends its regular tour schedule during major holidays and the summer. The tour schedule is often suspended while hosting special events, lectures, and private tours and receptions as well.
Admission is $10 per person for adults and $8 for seniors (age 62 and over) and students; members and children under age 5 are free. The Museum grounds are open to the public free of charge daily from dawn to dusk.
To obtain more information about Museum tours and programs, contact our office at 617-696-1815 or browse this website.