Coming Events, Summer 2017

Date Event
July 20, 12:30 PM Conversation: 'Fundamentals of Navigation,' Captain Virginia Land, SEA. Woods Hole Library lower-level meeting room. For more information click here."
August 2, 7:30 PM Annual meeting, Fisher House. Following a brief business meeting, there will be a talk by Tom Chilton titled From Pit Houses to Ice Houses – 25 years of telling stories of people, places and events with exhibits
August 12 Woods Hole Science Stroll
August 25, 5-7 PM Sixth annual Oyster talk and tasting
September exhibit Nature drawings of Julie Child’s class: Hallway display board
September 15-17 and September 29-October 1 'Destination Science: Discover Woods Hole' – Two-weekend event hosted by Woods Hole Business Association. Talks and activities at WHHM and across the village
October 5 Thank-you reception for docents
October 28 Galleries close for the season

Walking Tours

History of Woods Hole Village: Tuesdays.
Enjoy a leisurely afternoon stroll down Water Street and around Eel Pond while learning about the colorful history of the village. Tour starts promptly at 3:30 every Tuesday beginning July 11 and last about 90 minutes. The tours are led by Susan Pennington.

Science in Woods Hole: Tuesday through Friday mornings
Science in Woods Hole takes place on Tuesday through Friday mornings starting at 10 a.m. The tour will inform visitors of the history and mission of the scientific institutions in the village, including brief overviews of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Marine Biological Laboratory, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The walking tour starts at the Museum, offers access to the touch tanks at the Buzzards Bay Coalition, views of the docks and research facilities, and ends at the Aquarium just in time for the seal feeding at 11 am.

Funding for this program is provided by the Woods Hole Business Association.
Arrive 15 minutes early. Participants on both tours should plan to arrive at the museum at least 15 minutes before the tour starts. Free and open to the public. Donations to the museum are appreciated.

For more information, call 508-548-7270.

Conversation: Fundamentals of Navigation. Thursday, July 20, 2017

Captain Virginia Land McGuire, Associate Professor of Nautical Science, Sea Education Association, will lead a talk about navigating using charts, compasses, quadrants, sextants, taffrail logs, lead lines and chip lines and other tools in the era of celestial navigation, dead reckoning and coastal piloting. The program will be held at the Woods Hole Public Library, lower level meeting room.

Thursday, July 20, 2017
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Docents’ Training, June 2017

Docents’ training was held June 13 at the museum with informative presentations by our exhibit curators. Tom Chilton has once again used his design expertise on our shellfishing exhibit. Our navigation exhibit had several guest curators, including Steve Wagner, former Fisheries captain; Virginia Land, associate professor and captain at SEA; and Jennifer and Arthur Gaines, with Bob Grosch using his skills to mount and hang charts and naviational tools.

2017 Model Boat Show

The 11th Biennial WHHM Model Boat Show (April 22 and 23) was a wonderful event!  Despite a very raw and rainy day Saturday there was a good turnout and Sunday was absolutely spectacular!  Exhibitors and attendees clearly enjoyed the wide variety of things to see and do. There was something for everyone! Judy Stetson reports that one of the exhibitors, who travels around the country to various model boat shows, rates the WHHM show as among the best!

The members of the Model Boat Show program committee worked hard over the past few months to bring this event together: Jay Burnett, Christie Chilton, Tom Chilton, Bob Grosch, Kathy Cooper, Laura Reckford, P.K. Simonds, and Debbie Scanlon. And, of course, the outstanding co-captains of the event, Jennifer and Arthur Gaines, who are committed to what has become a great Woods Hole tradition and community builder. Thanks to all!

In the Galleries, Summer 2017

Navigating the Seas in the Age of Sail

In Gallery One: Navigating the Seas in the Age of Sail, you will discover how Cape Cod fishermen travelled close to shore and far from land before the days of electronic devices.

The exhibit features reproductions and an original of large, century-old maritime charts from the archives of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Other artifacts include navigation tools such as sextants, compasses, sounding lines, chronometers and log lines. Thanks to Steve Wagner, retired captain of NOAA’s RV Albatross IV and Delaware and current member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Tom Chilton, Bob Grosch, Debbie Scanlon for curating this exhibit, and to WHOI for their assistance.

Man and Mollusk: A History of Shellfishing on Cape Cod

In Gallery Two you’ll learn about all things shellfish! Man and Mollusk: A History of Shellfishing on Cape Cod takes you from the early uses of quahog shells by the Wampanoag Indians to present-day oyster farming by local fishermen.

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. Thanks to Tom Chilton and Bob Grosch for curating this exhibit.

From the Archives

Below is a list of articles that have been published in the Museum’s newsletter Mainsheet. The articles look at interesting aspects of Woods Hole history and feature research by Museum Archivist Susan F. Witzell and by several other guest writers. To see an article, click on a link.

Date Title and Author
2017 Spring The Pie in the Sky by Deborah Griffin Scanlon
2016 Fall Blacksmiths in Quissett and Woods Hole by Susan F. Witzell
2016 Spring Fishmonger Restaurant and Other Restaurants at the Bridge by Susan F. Witzell
2015 Fall The Old Stone House Rejoins The Old Candle House – or Why I Love Archivists by Mark Foster
2015 Spring Train Stations and Ferry Terminals in Woods Hole by Susan F. Witzell
2014 Fall The Younger Joseph Story Fay by Susan F. Witzell (new photos of Fay from the 1860s).
2014 Spring A History Mystery by Susan F. Witzell (Vedeler-Fish photo album).
2013 Fall Quissett Oral History and the Fay Farmhouse by Susan F. Witzell (Molly Willett oral history collection and results from The Moors research).
2013 Spring The Hurricane of 1938 by P.K. Simonds.
The story of some bicentennial cannon balls and a tale of cooperation by Susan F. Witzell.
2012 Fall New Accessions – Summer 2012 by Susan F. Witzell (Sarah Bryant Fay’s bread and milk mug; a sugar bowl from the City of Columbus; and the tale of the shipwreck).
2012 Spring The Loose Untailored Fabric of History – the Treasure Trove in the Archives by P.K. Simonds.
2011 Fall Prosperity from whaling created new-style houses in the 1840s by Susan F. Witzell (Captain Thomas Davis house and Eldridge house).
2010 Fall The Log Books of Captain Anthony Howes by Nancy Bundy.
2010 Spring A Town Called Nobska — a Cautionary Tale? by Les Garrick. (Secession of the Summer People).
2009 none
2008 Fall Part 2. Reminiscences of a Summer at the Breakwater Hotel 1960 by Allan W. Swank.
2008 Spring Part 1. Reminiscences of a Summer at the Breakwater Hotel 1960 by Allan W. Swank.
A Bill Eaton Sea Tale 1964 by John Howard McClellan
2007 Spring Woods Hole’s First Yachtsman by John Valois (Alfred Harrison).
2006 Eaton photos and new accessions by Susan F. Witzell

Online Exhibits


A two-pound cannonball fired by the British during an attack on Falmouth during the War of 1812.

In addition to the exhibits presented in our galleries and in our shops each year, the museum website presents several online exhibits. Some of these (like the exhibit about ice houses) are online versions of exhibits that were mounted in the museum galleries at some point in the past. Others (like the exhibit about the guano works) were never mounted and have existed only online.

At present there are 10  exhibits available for viewing online:

Businesses of Old Woods Hole
The Winter of 2015
Historic Ice Houses
Woods Hole Women of a Certain Age
Historical Photos from the Museum Archive
Walsh Roses on the Fay Estate
Historical Paintings of Woods Hole by Franklin Gifford
A History of the Guano Works on Great Harbor
An Audio Tour of the Village
The MBL at 125

To read more about these exhibits scroll down or click here.

Winter Storms, 2015

The long and brutal winter of 2015 resulted in many spectacular photographs and an exhibit at the museum. Below are some photos and two short movies all taken during the long and brutal winter of 2015. The photos were all taken by Bob Grosch and the movie of the blizzard is Bob’s as well. The video “Frozen Woods Hole from Above” is by Brian Switzer.

To see larger versions of Bob’s photos, click on “Show picture list”. His blizzard video is below. To see Brian’s video, click here