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 is a timeline describing key people and significant events in the settlement and development of Woods Hole, covering the early 1600s to the present.
Continuing in Gallery 2: This is an exhibit 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.
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.
Here are the exhibits available for viewing online:
Drawings from Nature by the Students of Julie Child
Science Connection: Woods Hole and Japan
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.
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.
For more information about Julie and her students, click here.
To see the exhibit, click here.
Ume Tsuda (far left) and Sutematsu Yamakawa (far right) both came to Woods Hole and the MBL to study in the late 1800’s.
For almost 150 years there has been a science connection between Japan and Woods Hole. Many of these connections have been on the very personal level, one-to-one. Many accomplished scientists have mentored younger students and assistants, challenging them to discover new facets of the scientific world.
Increasingly through the years there has been more formal cooperation at the institutional level. Yet the bonds of friendship and the ties between individual scientists have only grown and become stronger. These people work together, seeking and sharing knowledge of the ocean and its life.
There was an exhibit describing some of the connections between Woods Hole and Japan on display in the Museum galleries during the summer of 2016. To see an online version of that exhibit, click here.
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.
T.E. Howe’s Market on Eel Pond
Explore the history of Woods Hole through its businesses. Learn about carpenters and entrepreneurs, about tea rooms, restaurants and bars. This is the web version of an exhibit that was up in the Museum for the summers of 2015 and 2016. To visit the exhibit, click here.
Buzzards Bay Ice Breakup, March 8, 2015. Photo by Robert Grosch.
The winter of 2015 was long, hard and exceptionally snowy. It also resulted in spectacular photographs and an exhibit at the museum. A few of those photos and two short videos are here on the Museum website. To see them, click here.
Below is a list of exhibits at our Museum over the years. The first exhibit of the Woods Hole Historical Museum was held in 1974 in Endeavor House on School Street. The following year, in 1975, an exhibit was held at Fisher House on Church Street.
In 1976, the Museum moved into Bradley House, and since then, there have usually, but not always, been at least two exhibits each year, one in each gallery.
The Woods Hole Model, a permanent exhibit in the third gallery, was begun in the late 1970’s and completed ten years later.
The list was compiled after a search through the minutes of the Museum steering committee. Those minutes were not always completely clear, but we have done the best we can to interpret them. We have some wonderful exhibits coming up, so be sure to stop by the museum to see what’s new!
Electric home refrigerators didn’t begin to replace home ice boxes until the 1920s and to keep things in those ice boxes cold, one needed ice. Here in the northeast, much of that ice was cut from ponds that froze over in the winter. The ice was cut and then stacked in ice houses to be used throughout the year.
During summer of 2015 one of the exhibits at the Woods Hole Historical Museum told the story of the ice and the ice houses that were found around the shores of many of the ponds in Falmouth. Much of what was on display in that exhibit is now online and can be viewed by clicking here.