The Various Collections

The Museum Archives include general collections, family collections, photograph collections, an artifact collection, an oral history collection and a library.

For more information about any of the collections contact the Museum Archivist, Colleen Hurter, at

The General Collection

The General Collection contains papers of Woods Hole organizations, churches, business records, a few Cape Cod ship and maritime logs, genealogies and house histories, and numerous maps, charts, and plans. The links and material below delineate the content of our collections in more detail.

The History of Woods Hole Exhibit

The Photograph Collection

The Photograph Collection contains over 5000 photos of Woods Hole and Quissett going back to the 1850s, including family albums and photos, village scenes, boats, yachts, steamships, pictures of the early days of the scientific community starting in the 1880s with the U.S. Fish Commission and the Marine Biological Laboratory, as well as albums showing MBL activities in the 1920s and 1930s.

You can browse through over 3000 photos from our collection.

The Photograph Collection

At Quissett Beach.
A photo from the Marshall Family Collection

The Painting and Artifacts Collection

The Painting Collection includes artwork by William H. Littlefield, Peggy Clark Kelly, R. Swain Gifford, Dr. Leroy M. Yale, Jr., Franklin Lewis Gifford, artwork by and of members of the Fay family, and paintings and artwork by many local artists. The archives houses an extensive clothing collection dating from the 1840s to the 1930s; in addition there are a few quilts and paisley shawls. Other artifacts include ephemera, china, tools, crafts, maritime objects and boat models pertaining to the village of Woods Hole and environs.

Woods Hole Walking Guide Companion

Painting by Franklin L. Gifford

The Oral History Collection

The Oral History Collection contains over 600 recordings of interviews and “conversations” (public talks) with local residents and visiting scientists, collected since 1974. About 200 of these have been transcribed. The collection is constantly added to by digital recordings made from the monthly Conversation program. Most recordings are available in digital form.

Oral History Collection

Al Lunn, who was interviewed in September 2019 by P.K. Simonds, alongside the model of the US Coast Guard ship that he built.

The Reading Room at Bradley House

The library is shelved in the research Reading Room at Bradley House and contains over 300 reference books on maritime history, boat building, Woods Hole, Cape and Islands history, Massachusetts history and some genealogy. Books are for reference only and may not be withdrawn. 

Reading Room at Bradley House

Archives Info

The Museum Archives are open for research year round on Tuesdays and Thursday from 9:00am to 1:00pm and by appointment. Appointments are encouraged.

To reach the archivist, Colleen Hurter, email

Become a Member

The Woods Hole Historical Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation and celebration of the area’s unique and colorful past and present. Your support helps the Museum to continue this work and to further our mission.