After Dartmouth College's natural history museum closed in the early 1970s, a group of area educators persuaded the college to donate specimens and other resources in support of a new community science center. The organization was incorporated in 1974, taking its name from the last syllables of the two states whose communities it would serve: VerMONT and New HampSHIRE.
The Montshire Museum's first home was a former bowling alley. The "new" Montshire opened 15 years later, and has continued to add to its facilities, including the outdoor and water exhibits in Science Park in 2002, and the Hughes Pavilion in 2010.
The Montshire is now one of the busiest museums in northern New England, typically attracting more than 150,000 visitors annually. The Museum's school programs also reach more than 20,000 schoolchildren in New Hampshire and Vermont.