Exhibits

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 week we feature a different artifact from our collection.

Permanent Exhibits

The History of 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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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.

Read more

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 …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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. …

Read more

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 …

Read more

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. …

Read more

Farming

Before the mills came to Westford, the town was mainly agricultural. A farm was home to many Westford residents. Apples were Westford’s major crop. Other profitable crops consisted of peaches, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, as well as many more small fruits. Common farming tools included the brush hook, buck saw, scythe, …

Read more


Temporary Exhibits

Ten District Schools

https://youtu.be/JrUsoRSYVLI Five school districts were established in 1787 with schoolhouses in each district.  New districts were added in 1806, 1822, and 1826.  Westford Academy was incorporated in 1792, and a two-story late Georgian style Academy Hall was built in 1794 to the west of the common. By approximately 1870 to 1908 …

Read more

Fire Companies of Westford MA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkAnfAG2Aus&feature=youtu.be Westford Historical Society’s 2005 Calendar researched and created by Marilyn Day, Wesyford Town Historian  (2005) Slideshow, Alina Jeng, Westford Historical Society Intern (2020) The Center Fire Station  This fire station is particularly special to Westford and to the Westford Museum. The Museum building served as the Center Fire Station’s …

Read more

Women’s Rights in Westford

Women’s Rights in Westford timeline 1780                   Massachusetts State Constitution restricts voting to males only but omits “male” as a qualification for holding public office. 1819                   Susan Prescott becomes the first woman assistant preceptor (assistant principal and teacher) at Westford Academy. c1833               Led by …

Read more

Stone Circle at Grassy Pond

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
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 …

Read more


Online Exhibits

Featured Artifact of the Week

Library Card 1878 library card for H. Dwinell, who was likely Hezekiah Dwinell (1804-1884). According to the Fletcher Library, the card was used while the library was in the Town Hall, in the room to the immediate right of the main entrance. The collection was just over 3,000 books at …

Read more

Featured Artifact of the Week

Prescott House Painting A 1947 depiction of the Prescott house still standing at 181A Main St, the intersection of Chamberlain Rd (Chamberlain’s Corner). The house was originally built in 1752 by Ebenezer Prescott (1723-?), and remained in the family until the deaths of siblings Ebenezer Clyde Prescott (1891-1977) and Lucinda …

Read more

Featured Artifact of the Week

Marie Aurea Marcotte’s Chemistry Folder The 1952 chemistry folder of Marie Aurea (Marcotte) Rondeau (1934-2015), while she attended Westford Academy. She went by Aurea Marcotte at the time. Her chemistry teacher was John Rennie (1921-2014), who taught at WA from 1946 to 1956. As well as notes, the folder contains …

Read more

Featured Artifact of the Week

Photo of 29 Main St. 1929 Black and white photo of 19 Main St, which was built in 1873. It was the home of Dr. Orion Vassar Wells (1880-1918) and his family. He attended Harvard Medical School in 1906, and was a popular doctor in town. The photo shows his …

Read more

Featured Artifact of the Week

Cord From Micronesia The cord was made from tree bark by indigenous peoples of Micronesia. For more information on the Micronesia islands and its active indigenous cultures, please visit this link. Native Americans in New England and most of the East Coast also utilized tree bark, when available, for practical …

Read more

Featured Artifact of the Week

Framed Photograph Photograph of Charles G. Sargent (1819-1878). He founded the C.G. Sargent & Sons Co, which existed from 1852 to 1990. The company primarily built machinery for processing textiles, particularly wool drying. Sargent also co-founded the Abbot Worsted Co in 1855 with John W.P. & John W. Abbot (father …

Read more

Featured Artifact of the Week

Nabnasset Camp Photographs of the YMCA summer camp at Nab Lake around 1915. The camp was located at the Southeastern corner of the lake, where Edwards Beach and adjacent Ronan McElligott Park (playground) is today. According to a 1978 Westford Eagle article by Richard O’Neil, the land was purchased by …

Read more

Featured Artifact of the Week

Cider Mill Photo of water powered mill off Lowell Road, near the Captain Pelatiah Fletcher house, and next to Cider Mill Pond (Tadmuck Brook). The original mill, to the left, was originally built in the late 1700s, and was used for grinding grains, among other purposes. The larger building, a …

Read more

Featured Artifact of the Week

State Guard Armband This Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Guard armband from around 1919 is made of black wool with gold embroidery, featuring the triangular crest of the Commonwealth. Armbands such as these were one of a kind items, and used by new Guardsmen recruits, who did not yet have uniforms. …

Read more

Featured Artifact of the Week

Graniteville Postcards The selected postcards are from a set of 15 for Westford’s village of Graniteville. They depict a man and a woman in metaphorical tongue-in-cheek situations, relating to such things as time and morality. According to the Center for Southeast Studies, the size, shiny surface, and color of the …

Read more


Past Exhibits

See highlights from past exhibits on our Past Exhibits page.