A Talk about Cod and the Cape by John Cumbler

The Woods Hole Historical Museum is honored to present Professor John Cumbler who will speak on June 28, 2016, at 1 PM. Dr. Cumbler, a popular and awarded history professor at University of Louisville. His fields of specialization are United States environmental history and economic history. He has recently published his seventh book “Cape Cod: An Environmental History of a Fragile Ecosystem”. The book is an economic and environmental history of Cape Cod. The subject of his talk in Woods Hole will be “Cod and the Cape”, a subject which will tie into the Museum’s new exhibit about historic cod fishing.

Dr. Cumbler is on phased retirement and splits his time between Louisville and Wellfleet. He is a trained and certified rescuer of large marine mammals and sea turtles.

The talk is free and open to the public and will be held in the lower level meeting room of the Woods Hole Public Library, adjacent to the Museum at 581 Woods Hole Road. There is metered on-street parking as well as small lots at the Museum and Library. The Museum exhibits will be open before and after the talk. For more information, call the Museum at 508-548-7270.

Walsh Rose Walk

The Woods Hole Historical Museum will host a walk around the village looking at the rambler roses developed by Michael Walsh at the turn of the century. Rosarian Gretchen Ward Warren who specializes in the Walsh roses will lead the walk, which will last about an hour and a half.


The roses were developed in Woods Hole just behind the Museum and have been growing in gardens and on fences around the village for more than one hundred years, mostly unidentified and unheralded. The Museum has been bringing these beautiful flowers back into the public eye, with workshops and walks.

This next walk has been scheduled to coincide with the peak of the bloom, and will be held Thursday morning, June 30 at 10:30. People may call the Museum at 508-548-7270 to reserve a space. The numbers of participants will be limited to 20.

To learn more about Michael Walsh and his roses, click here.

A Conversation About Shellfishing

The next “Conversation” sponsored by the Woods Hole Historical Museum will be a historical look at shell-fishing in Falmouth. The Conversation is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24 at 1 PM in the meeting room in the lower level of the Woods Hole Public Library, 581 Woods Hole Road, adjacent to the Museum.

The speaker will be Matt Weeks, who comes to the subject with not only a lot of on-the-water knowledge, but also a deep curiosity and skill in searching historical documents. Matt was the fisheries technician for the Town of Falmouth for two years, and helped oversee the creation of oyster rafts in Little Pond, among other duties. Since then, he has moved on to become a self-employed shellfisherman, with an oyster grant just outside Waquoit Bay. He works that grant, and also participates in wild harvest.

He has found the time and energy to do serious research in the historical records in the Falmouth Historical Society archives and the Falmouth Public Library, gleaning information about shellfishing dating back to 1770s. He will talk about the results of that effort. Continue reading

Art from Nature by the Students of Julie Child

From September 8 to October 10, 2015, Gallery 2 hosted a show of Drawings from Nature by the students of Julie Child. Some of those drawings are shown in the slide show below. Mouse over the images to see the titles and artists. Or click “Show picture list” to see larger versions.

Oyster Talk and Tasting 2015

The Museum held its fourth annual Oyster Talk and Tasting in August. The event began with a talk by local oyster growers Eric Matzen and Pete Chase. Eric and Pete are founding members of the Falmouth Shellfishermen’s Co-operative and have pioneered oyster aquaculture on the Falmouth shore of Buzzards Bay. They described the benefits and challenges of growing oysters on the Cape and gave a demonstration of how to successfully and safely open oysters. After the talk, attendees got to taste oysters from several different locales. Below are some photos from the event.

Underwater Archeology: A Talk by Raymond Hayes

The Woods Hole Historical Museum marked Massachusetts Archeology Month (October, 2015) with an illustrated talk by Raymond L. Hayes, Ph.D. about his underwater archeological survey of Great Harbor, Woods Hole.

Dr. Hayes, who is a research associate at the Institute of Maritime History in the Smithsonian Institution, finds Great Harbor particularly interesting because it has several unusual features for Cape Cod: a very deep area in its south-east quadrant, providing a deep-water anchorage, historical docks on the south-east edge, as well as the Pacific Guano Company docks farther north into the harbor where ships would tie up when returning laden from the Pacific islands. He will share the results of his surveys both under-water and on the shores.

Old bottle found in Great Harbor (Raymond Hayes)

Old bottle found in Great Harbor (Raymond Hayes)

Ray Hayes is Professor Emeritus and former Assistant Dean for Medical Education, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC. He completed his college education at Amherst College and holds post-graduate degrees from The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). He has served on faculty at several medical schools, including Harvard, the University of Pittsburgh, Morehouse, Howard University and the University of the West Indies (Mona, Kingston, Jamaica).

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