With the establishment of the MacDowell Colony in 1907, Peterborough has become a mecca for composers, authors and visual artists. Thornton Wilder wrote Our Town in 1933 while in residence at the MacDowell Colony. Peterborough Players is the oldest professional operating summer theater in the country. The nationally acclaimed Monadnock Music and Apple Hill Chamber Music offer some of the best classical music programs outside of Boston or New York. Downtown Peterborough is the home of the Monadnock Center for History & Culture featuring a wide variety of interesting talks and concerts.

Peterborough is also home of the country’s first tax-free public library.