Welcome

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 late October, Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 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.

The Galleries Open for the Summer on June 16

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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