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.

 

Permanent Exhibits

Have you seen the new exhibits?

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 …

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Graniteville

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 …

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Photo of the Westford Knight Exhibit

The Westford Knight

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 …

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Photo of Westford Doctors' Instruments

Westford Doctors

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 …

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Photo of the American Revolution Exhibit

The American Revolution

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.

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Westford Academy

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 …

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Photo of The Power of the Mills Exhibit

Power of the Mills

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 …

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Westford Women Dolls

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. …

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The Prescotts of Westford

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 …

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Country Store

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. …

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Temporary Exhibits

Storyteller Spirit Dancer

History in Stone Recap

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 …

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Photo of mural

Nabnasset

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 …

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Online Exhibits

These are online-only exhibits, usually consisting of photos.

Featured Artifact of the Week

School Bus Watercolor The watercolor was painted by William “Bill” Atwood Millett (1922-2007) prior to 1970. It features the northern tip of the Town Common. At least two features are of significance. The first is the town’s War Memorial. It was erected in 1924 to be representative of all wars …

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Prince Henry and the Westford Knight, story performed by Leeny Del Seamonds

Have you heard the story of the Westford Knight? 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 …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Lithograph of Commodore Joel Abbot Joel Abbot was born in Westford 1793. Though enrolled in Westford Academy in 1812, Joel opted for a career in the US Navy, and was appointed a midshipman on the frigate President at the outbreak of the War of 1812. He was under the command …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Invitation to Daniel Nutting From the collection Invitation to Daniel Nutting (1756-1836) to attend the laying of the cornerstone of Bunker Hill Monument on June 17, 1825. The Boston, MA, monument was completed in 1843. Daniel served as a private in Capt. Ebenezer Bancroft’s company, Colonel Bradford’s regiment, and saw …

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Westford Past is Our Present~ stories created and performed by Leeny Del Seamonds

For the 275th Anniversary of Westford Massachusetts. It was Leeny pleasure to celebrate and honor Westford’s 225th Anniversary (2004) by creating four stories about our town’s history, a sampling of its wonderful residents and places from a time gone by. All of these are interwoven in the rich fabric that …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Photo of Oliver Caswell and Laura Bridgman From the collection Laura Dewey Bridgman (1829-1889) lost her sight and hearing as a child due to illness. She was born in Hanover, NH. Bridgman entered the Perkins School for the Blind at the age of eight. Later, she occasionally taught others such …

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Let’s take a stroll through Westford Center with Kate Hamlin and Fred Fisher

Step back in time and start your audio tour of  Westford Center as it was prior to the Civil War.  Your tour guides are Kate Hamlin (1847-1937) and Fred Fisher (1855-1941). Enjoy their remembrances of the town they grew up in and your stroll through historic Westford Center.   https://museum.westford.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/WHs-Walking-Tour.m4a Start …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

May Balch Doors Exhibited in museum and from the collection The doors were pained by Mary “May” Gertrude Balch (1875-1961) in 1935. They hung in her home at 28 Boston Rd. One door features a rustic woodland scene, and the other features a deer woodland scene. The building was demolished in …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Town Scale Exhibited in the museum The scale originally lived in the Westford Town Hall, and is enclosed in a large wood cabinet, which was painted somewhat recently. A standardized means of accurately regulating weight in the nineteenth century and later, it includes sixteen graduated weights, three liquid measures, five …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Rainbow Hawk-Eye Camera From the collection Front (Closed) Top Front (lens extended) Opened (film still inside) Our Rainbow Hawk-Eye Camera is a No. 2A Folding Model B. It was made around 1930. Loosely comparable to today’s memory card or internal device storage, this camera loaded physical black and white film …

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Past Exhibits

 
See highlights from past exhibits on our Past Exhibits page.