The Westford Museum houses several permanent exhibits. Temporary exhibits highlight parts of our collections which cannot be displayed on a permanent basis. A large percentage of the collections are in storage and can be viewed by appointment if their condition allows.
Approximately 80% of the Westford historical Society's collections are in storage, not normally on display in the Museum. Each month we feature a different artifact from our collection.
Dear Friend of WHS, We need your support in helping us fulfill our part of the Mass Humanities grant we received to fund our new exhibits: Road to Westford and Westford Academy. For those that have seen the exhibit in person, please fill out this survey and email it back to us. For those who haven’t see …Read more
Westford has a long history in industry, with the earliest recorded granite quarrying beginning in 1826 on Oak Hill, near today’s Fletcher Granite company. Granite from here is known for its clean blue-gray appearance, “Chelmsford Gray.” The earliest operations occurred before the use of railroads, with the old horse and …Read more
Legend has it that a Scottish earl named Henry Sinclair took a crew of explorers and discovered America in 1398, a whole century before Christopher Columbus. According to the story, they explored regions of Nova Scotia and New England. Some even claim that the evidence of that is the grave …Read more
As in every town, disease and illness in Westford was inevitable. From 1850-1868 the #1 cause of death in Westford was consumption, the #2 cause was old age, and the #3 cause was Scarlet Fever. Life expectancy was approximately forty years of age. Fortunately Westford had a reliable doctor for …Read more
Notable items from the Revolutionary War period are: – Several items which belonged to Col. John Robinson. – Recently acquired drum sticks attributed to Jonathan Minot, Jr., Drummer in Capt. Minot’s company. – An epaulette attributed to David Goodhue, a Westford native and officer during the war.Read more
Westford Academy (WA) was founded in 1792 as a private secondary school for children “of any nation, age, or sex.” It was exceptional from its beginning, taking both boys and girls as students as long as they could read the Bible without sounding out words and pay 9 shillings per …Read more
The opening of the Stony Brook Railroad brought new industrial activity to all three Stony Brook villages: Brookside, Graniteville, and Forge Village. The granite quarries above Graniteville now had a convenient and economic means to transport their stone to Lowell and from there to the rest of New England and …Read more
Westford has an abundant history of outstanding and courageous women. Jean Downey (1925-2003), conducted the Westford Women Doll project in 1985 to highlight women’s history and civil rights within Westford, with 12 women originally highlighted. A prominent resident in town, Jean was a nurse, involved with charities, and an accomplished seamstress. …Read more
The Prescotts were early settlers of Westford and Chelmsford, and by the end of the 1700’s there were many Prescott families that were related in one way or another. Abram, Olive’s husband who was born in 1769 was among the fourth generation. Abram was the third son of twelve children …Read more
The General Store not only provided residents with their common household supplies and luxuries, but also was located in the center of town to make it easily accessible. Many could get to the store by walking or on horses. The post office was located in the General Store as well. …Read more
Many thanks go out to Cori Ryan and all the people involved in yesterday’s History in Stone program! Over 80 people visited the Museum to hear Cori’s talk on the Stone Circle at Grassy Pond, view the ancient artifacts found here in Westford, listen to Spirit Dancer’s stories and revel …Read more
Nabnasset is the 5th and final theme in our Villages of Westford series. It started as a farming community and added the mills at Brookside. In the late 19th century the recreational land around Nab Lake was known as “Nabnasset Grove.” A summer community built up in the 1930s and …Read more
These are online-only exhibits, usually consisting of photos.
Photo of Dr. Pamela Gay From the Westford Academy exhibit As a coed high school since its founding in 1793, the Westford Academy hosted several figures important to women’s history. Pamela Gay (1973 — ) was just one of them. She graduated from WA in 1992, received an Astrophysics BS …Read more
Abbot Worsted Keychain From the Industry Exhibit Security today may consist of electronic keycards or knowing the right password. Past security measures sometimes involved a chain of several unique keys to be carried by specific people. Our keychain has 14 keys attached. At least one of the keys was for …Read more
Slide Rule From the Westford Academy exhibit The 12″ polyphase slide rule made was by Keuffel & Esser Co., and was sometimes called a “slip stick.” It has a patent date of June 5, 1900. According to the International Slide Rule Museum, this was an analogue calculating device (“computer”), which was …Read more
Atwood Daguerreotypes From the online Atwood-Carlton-Millett exhibit This set of Daguerreotypes represents Westford’s Atwood-Carlton family around 1864. Within the wooden frame are twelve metal framed daguerreotypes surrounded by a velvet grid. At least four photographs were done by S. Shattuck of Lowell, MA. The Daguerreotype was invented in 1839 by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre. …Read more
Ernest Born Lithographs From the Westford Granite exhibit and collection No 4 Cutting Shed at Fletcher Quarry Rock Crusher at Fletcher Quarry Fletcher Quarry Floor Federal Building in Boston Faced with Chelmsford Gray In 1930, architect and artist Ernest Born (1898-1992) made a series of 12 lithographs, including copies, for Westford’s …Read more
Foot Warmer From the “Road to Westford” exhibit Foot warmers were staples in New England homes and churches during the winter until heating systems grew more effective in the twentieth century. They were filled with hot coals. Before more modern heating systems, they were one of many methods for staying …Read more
Jan. 30, 2019 Brewerton Point From “The Road to Westford” exhibit Brewerton Side-Notched Point Biface projectile point (arrowhead) dated to the Late Archaic Period, approx. 6,000-3,700 years ago. It was found in 1960 near abandoned Red Line railroad near Flagg Rd. in Westford, and donated by past resident Huntington L. …Read more
Jan. 23, 2019 Wedges and Shims From the granite quarrying exhibit Plugs & Feathers These wedges and shims (also known as plugs & feathers or wind blocks) were used in granite quarrying. Archaeologically, the marks left by plugs and feathers can aid in dating structures when other records are not available. …Read more
Jan. 16, 2019 Peggy, Westford Women Doll From the “Westford Women” exhibits Peggy, Westford Women Doll Even though there are no birth and death records available, the First Parish Church record Peggy as baptized in 1732. She was the servant of Joseph Hildreth, Jr., who lived near Minot’s Corner (Cornerstone Square). …Read more
Jan. 9, 2019 Tiki Lau Drink Stirrer From the “Past Westford Eateries” exhibit Amesbury Location Westford Location The Tiki Lau restaurant on rt. 110 operated from 1974 to 2008. They offered Cantonese, Polynesian, Mandarin, Szechuan, and some American. In the last year of its operation it was rebranded as the “New …Read more
See highlights from past exhibits on our Past Exhibits page.