Fire and Thunder: Massachusetts Blacks in the Civil War is located in the downstairs gallery and explores the story of Massachusetts African-Americans who, despite unequal pay and treatment, played a large role during the Civil War, in the Army, Navy, and on the home-front. In various ways blacks in the Commonwealth stepped forward and helped change the course of history. This exhibit tells the story of their courage, strength, and sacrifice; a story of the quest for a nation free from slavery.
Le Grand Derangement: The Acadian Exile in Massachusetts, 1755-1766 is located in the upstairs gallery and tells the story of the French inhabitants of Nova Scotia, who were forcibly removed from their homes and relocated in the American colonies at the onset of the French and Indian War. This exhibit tells the story of those sent to Massachusetts.
The Commonwealth Museum, which traces the historical orgins and cultural development of Massachusetts, features two permanent exhibits.