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

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

Farm Life

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
Aerial view of Abbot Mills Buildings

The Abbot Mills

  Abbot Worsted Company in Forge Village Wool sorting room at Abbot Worsted in Forge Village My beautiful picture In 2006, prior to the conversion of the Abbot Mill buildings into residential units, Alan Chaffee received permission from the owners to complete a thorough photographic survey of the existing buildings. …

Read more


Temporary Exhibits

Hall and McLaughlin – History of North Westford (Part one)

Westford Town historians, Geoff Hall and Rich McLaughlin, bring their knowledge and research of North Westford for an extraordinary presentation They will share highlights of North Westford’s history from the earliest known inhabitants of the town to the present day population growth. North Westford is often mention in the Westford …

Read more

The Great New England Hurricane of 1938

Section headings were based on actual news headlines about the natural disaster. The captions were based on the text either written on or with the photos. Further text written as footnotes. Individual images may be clicked on for enlarged lightbox view. If you have any further info that could be …

Read more
On the Farm

Westford Then Now Tomorrow

Connect the past, present, and future of the town!​

Read more

The Many Colors of WA

The Many Colors of Westford Academy Originally Exhibited as The Other Colors of Westford Academy in mid to late 2019 Westford’s high school colors were not always maroon and grey (and sometimes gold) with a floating Grey Ghost. Into the 1950s, the school’s colors were less solid, as well as the …

Read more

Past Eateries of Westford

Originally Exhibited Fall 2019 – Spring 2020 Westford saw many restaurants come and go. These eateries came in all sizes, while they were sometimes frequented more for atmosphere than their food. The Old Oaken Bucket, The Tiki Lau (New Tiki), and Polly’s were only a few examples. Smaller, lesser known …

Read more

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

The Atwood-Carlton-Millett Family

The Westford Family lived in town starting in the 1880s. Having left their mark on local medicine and art, members of the family lived in town until 2007.

Read more


Online Exhibits

Notable of the Month – Joseph Bradley Varnum

Joseph Bradley Varnum; American Patriot, Speaker of the House, U.S. Senator, President pro tempore of the United States Senate, and Westford Academy Trustee. Joseph Bradley Varnum was born in Dracut, Massachusetts in 1750. Even though Varnum had little formal education, he became a self-taught scholar. At the age of 18, …

Read more
Hildreth Hills

Featured Artifact of the Week

Hildreth Hills Painting From the Collection Landscape watercolor of Hildreth Hills. According to the research of local journalist Gordon Seavey (1905-1996), it is in a so-called Primitive style, which tends to have a flatter appearance. It is a depiction of the Hildreth Homestead in the early 1700s, while the painting …

Read more
Grace Atwood

Featured Artifact of the Week

Portrait of Grace Atwood From the Collection This portrait is of Grace Atwood Millett later in life. It was painted by her son William Atwood “Bill” Millett (1922-2007), who was the last of the family to live in Westford. The carved wood frame has gold leaf, and its aged appearance …

Read more
Planter -- Corn Stabber

Featured Artifact of the Week

Seed Planter From the Farm Exhibit Seed planter used for beans, peas, and corn. It was also known as a “corn stabber.” The device was inserted into a tilled field, and would then release the seeds. This stabber was owned by Joel Alvin Blaisdell (1850-1921), and used on his farm off …

Read more
Decorative Plaque

Featured Artifact of the Week

Decorative Plaque From the Collection Wooden plaque with family pictures made by Nancy Hall Bissell of Westford as a Christmas gift in the late 1960s. The plaque has six photographs from the early to late 1940s. Clockwise: (1) Freda Johnson Brown (1899-1980), Marjorie (Aldrich) Pearson (1933-2011), and Bill Brown (1887-1957), …

Read more

December 2020 Museum Musings

A Short History of Christmas Lights on Westford Common The beginning is 1988.  Photo by Bill Peters (Christmas Lights on Westford Common, my 30th year Let us all shine some Hope and Goodwill, it’s been such a tough year Peace Everyone) Thanks to 13-year-old Mark Jarvis, the Westford Garden Club …

Read more
Howard Homestead Painting

Featured Artifact of the Week

Howard Homestead From the Collection Painting of the Howard Homestead that once stood on Howard Rd. It was painted by Amelle B. Hand of Littleton, MA. Calvin Howard (1792-1883), a veteran of the War of 1812, built the house before 1853, and it sat on 105 acres. His son, Calvin …

Read more
Ornaments Box

Featured Artifact of the Week

Ornaments From the Collection Christmas tree ornaments, nine of which likely made by Premier Christmas Tree Ornaments in 1942. They are made to look like golden pine cones, with each about 2″ long. Made in America, according to the box. This box of ornaments was donated by the estate of  …

Read more

Featured Artifact of the Week

Walking Automaton From the Industry Exhibit George Robert Moore (1817-1892) co-owned the Brookside Mill with is brother Seth (1820-1900). George also had multiple patents. One was for a Walking Automaton, patented 1891. It was made of wood and steel, and specifically made to work with a battery powered motor. It …

Read more
Fletcher Granite Quarry

Featured Artifact of the Week

Fletcher Granite Quarry From the Collection Two black and white photographs of the Fletcher Granite Quarry from May 1949. The quarry is located off 534 Groton Rd in historically the part of Westford called West Chelmsford, a part of Nabnasset today. The Fletcher Granite Co. was founded by Herbert E. …

Read more


Past Exhibits

See highlights from past exhibits on our Past Exhibits page.