About the Woods Hole Historical Museum

The Woods Hole Historical Museum is a lively small museum with changing exhibits and diverse programs appealing to people with wide interests.

Founded as an adjunct to the Woods Hole Library “to establish and preserve a collection of objects and materials of cultural, historical, and artistic value, it has grown to a campus of several buildings housing exhibit, workshop, and archival space, as well as becoming an active publisher of works of local and historical interest.

The Museum galleries and buildings are open to the public from mid June to mid October, Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Admission is free.

Museum offices and archives are open year-round Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM and by appointment.

A New Display of Nature Drawings

Cedar waxwings by Nancy Copley

“Cedar Waxwings” by Nancy Copley is part of a new display of nature drawings by students of Julia S. Child in the museum’s front hallway. Drawings by Robin Ackroyd, Winnie Mackey, Ann Newbury and Valerie Butcher are also in the exhibit.

Ms. Child is a biological illustrator and her work has appeared in books, scientific journals and textbooks. She has taught at the Children’s School of Science for many years. She also teaches a nature drawing class for adults, whose works are shown in this exhibit. Her students’ drawings are in colored pencil.

This fall the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 3 PM and will close October 13.

Walking Tours

The Museum’s walking tours of the historic village will be continued September 11, 18 and 25 at 10 AM, starting at the museum at 579 Woods Hole Road.

The tours, led by Rob Blomberg, will go down Water Street and around Eel Pond, explaining various points of interest, including the area where whaling ships were launched, an overview of the history of the scientific institutions, as well as the settlement of the village. The tour will take about an hour.

Participants on the tour should plan to arrive at the museum about 10 minutes before the tour starts. For more information, call 508-548-7270 or whhmdirector@gmail.com

Atlantis Stories has been reprinted

Cooper on deck.

Bill Cooper sitting on deck.

Bill Cooper’s memoirs of his Atlantis years, from 1944-1948, began as verbal accounts in the boat shop or at the dinner table. At the urging of his son Douglas, Bill recorded the stories in handwritten notes beginning in 1980; his last memoir is dated a month before his death in 2011 at age 83. Atlantis Stories attempts to collate all of these tales for the first time. It has been out-of-print for several years, but has now been reprinted. For more information, click here.

The Galleries Are Open

In Gallery One: The History of Woods Hole. The stories of whaling, science, hurricanes, ferries, railroads, tourism, local industries and much more that created our interesting village. The core of this exhibit will be a timeline describing key people and significant events in the settlement and development of Woods Hole, covering the early 1600s to the present.

In Gallery Two: Man and Mollusk: A History of Shellfishing on Cape Cod continues this year. From the early uses of quahog shells by the Wampanoag Indians to present-day oyster farming by local fishermen, shellfishing is woven throughout the history of Cape Cod. In this exhibit you will see examples of many kinds of shellfish found in our waters and the vintage tools that were used to gather them. You’ll learn how the uses of shellfish, like clams, evolved from being food for pigs and bait for fishing to the delicacies that we enjoy today.

The Small Boat Museum

On your next visit to the museum be sure to visit the Small Boat Museum, formerly the Swift Barn, which was built in 1877 by E.W. Swift for $80.71, labor and materials. Displays include an 1890s Woods Hole Spritsail boat (SPY); a Herreshoff 12 1/2, a Cape Cod Knockabout, a Mirror dinghy, a 1922 Old Town canoe, a Woods Hole Chamberlain dory and many boat models and maritime artifacts.
Other small boats on the campus include two more Cape Cod Knockabouts, two Beetle cat boats and a half-scale model of the Sultana, a 27 1/2 foot half-scale model of a Revolutionary War era schooner all under renovation by our Boat Shop Volunteers.

“From the Archives” Article Tells the Story of Pie in the Sky

Since 2006 the Museum’s newsletter Mainsheet has included extended articles that look at interesting aspects of Woods Hole history or feature research that has been done in the Museum Archives. Articles include stories about Woods Hole’s first yachtsman, the hurricane of 1938, the history of the Fishmonger restaurant, and more. You can find the series here on the website under the Museum Archives tab, or, to see a list of articles rescued “From the Archives”, click here. To see the new article about Pie in the Sky, click here.

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