Navigating the Seas in the Age of Sail

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.

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



General Collection — Woods Hole History

Church of the Messiah (Episcopal)
Congregational Church
Methodist Church
St. Joseph Church (Roman Catholic)

Scientific Institutions:
Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL)
MBL Nobel Prize Exhibit Collection
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (W.H.O.I.)
N.O.A.A. – National Marine Fisheries

Maritime Organizations:
U.S. Coast Guard (including Nobska Light House)
Steamship Authority (see Woods Hole History: Subjects)

Woods Hole History:
General History

Woods Hole Child Center
Woods Hole Community Association
Woods Hole Cooperative Association
Woods Hole Golf Club
Woods Hole Library
Woods Hole School
Woods Hole Woman’s Club
Woods Hole Women’s Equal Suffrage League
Woods Hole Yacht Club

Bike Path (Shining Sea Bike Path)
Boats: Woods Hole Spritsail Collection
Breakwater Hotel
Candle Factory (Candle House)
Elizabeth Islands: Nonamessett, Naushon, Pasque, Nashawena, Cuttyhunk, Penikese
Elizabeth Islands: Tarpaulin Cove Lighthouse (Naushon)
Fire Department Records
Hungarian Student Committee
Hurricanes and Storms
Leeside-McDonald’s Controversy
Music in Woods Hole
Nobska Lighthouse
Nuclear Park
Pacific Guano Company
Parking Task Force
Railroads (Woods Hole area: Old Colony, NY, NH& H, Cape Cod)
Taft’s Playground
Woods Hole Garage & Market
World War II

Theater in Woods Hole:
Calico Players
Penzance Players
University Players
Woods Hole Theater Company

Quissett Yacht Club

Lawrence High School
Falmouth Music Association
Falmouth Nursing Association
Falmouth and Falmouth Other Parts

Woods Hole Houses:
Wheelwright House Collection
WHOI Historical House Survey and Properties
10 boxes of house information kept by area
Kay Hiam Collection of Quissett Avenue Property Histories

Woods Hole Maps and Plans:
Griffin Property Surveys Woods Hole
Fay Family Properties Plans Surveys
Various Maps and Plans — Five Boxes
Various Rolled Plans, Charts and Maps
Nautical Charts

Ephemera, Photographs and Postcards:

Model Boat Show Registration Form

Exhibitors: If you’d like to exhibit at the Model Boat Show, fill out and return the Exhibitor’s Registration form.

To download the form as a Word docx that you can fill out on your computer, and then return as an email attachment, click here.

To download the form as a PDF that you can print out, fill out with a good old pen, and then mail in, click here.

To return the form as an attachment, email Jennifer Gaines at

To mail the form on paper, send it to Jennifer Gaines, WHHM, P.O. Box 185, Woods Hole, MA 02543.

If you have questions, contact Jennifer at


The Membership Year is from July 1 to June 30.

Benefactor Membership: $1,000 or more
Patron Membership: $500
Donor Membership: $100
Family Membership: $50
Individual Membership: $30

All memberships include a subscription to Spritsail, which contains articles on Woods Hole and Falmouth history and is published twice yearly; plus other mailings that include our semi-annual newsletter, The Mainsheet, and notices about the monthly Conversation programs, lectures, workshops and special events.

To become a member you can send a check (made out to Woods Hole Historical Museum) to:

Woods Hole Historical Museum
P.O. Box 185
Woods Hole, MA 02543
Please include your contact information with both winter and summer addresses if appropriate and an email address if you have one.

Or, you can renew or sign up for a membership using your credit card or our PayPal service here.

Email inquiries about membership to:

Donate to the Museum

You can donate to the Museum safely and securely by credit card or through PayPal. Just click on the button below. (But please indicate if you are renewing your membership or making a donation in the “special instructions to the seller” field in the PayPal form.) Thank you!

About Julie Child and Her Students

Show poster with drawing by Thomas Hodgson

Show poster with drawing by Thomas Hodgson

Each fall over the last several years an exhibit of Drawings from Nature have appeared at the Museum. The artists are all students of Julia S. Child of Woods Hole and are all adult year-round residents of Woods Hole and Falmouth. Most of these students are over age fifty and have come to Julie’s classes from varying backgrounds and abilities. One, Tom Hodgson, says he had never picked up a colored pencil nor done a nature drawing till he came to Julie’s class. Now his drawings are among the most accomplished and beautiful. Most of the work has been done in colored pencil, though there are also illustrations in pen and ink and watercolor.

The students quickly point out that the detail and precision of the drawings does not come quickly or easily. The students draw from nature, usually from Julie’s collection of specimens of insects or shells or from live samples. They can spend hours working on one butterfly’s wing. All the students agree that Julie has the ability to make them really look carefully at their subject, to really see what is before them, to look at the “negative space” even before they pick up a pencil. As Jeanette Fullerton, who has taken the Nature Drawing classes for two years says “I have done watercolor and sketching for many years, but on taking Julie’s class, I really learned to look, and look again…. and also to use colored pencils. I am so impressed with the other students’ work.”

Julie has been teaching nature drawing and biological illustration since 1976, primarily at Sarah Lawrence College and the Children’s School of Science in Woods Hole, inspiring and guiding students through all these years. She began teaching a series of Nature Drawing classes for adults to this “Woods Hole Group” in her “retirement” and her students won’t let her stop. The classes have taken place for ten years.

As Jennifer Gaines, former director of the Museum and also a student of Julie’s says “She seems to pull this ability out of us, to make us better observers and artists. When you look at us as a bunch, we look pretty ordinary; but out of us, thanks to Julie, come these extraordinarily beautiful drawings.” The end result is closer to the skills of “biological illustration” than to “artistic interpretation”, yet these artists see the beauty within the object and bring it onto the paper for the viewer to enjoy.

To continue to the exhibit, click here.