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 …

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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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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, …

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Aerial view of Abbot Mills Buildings

The Abbot Mills

Wool sorting room at Abbot Worsted in Forge Village Abbot Worsted Company in Forge Village   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. Alan generously made …

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Temporary Exhibits

On the Farm

Westford Then Now Tomorrow

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

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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 …

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Cover Page

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. Added caption text written in brackets. Individual pages may be clicked on for slideshow view.

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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.

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Online Exhibits

Front Face

Featured Artifact of the Week

Railroad Clock From the museum This Regulator Railroad Clock was made no earlier than 1860 by the Seth Thomas Clock Company, then of Plymouth Hollow, CT. According to ClockHistory.com, the Seth Thomas Clock Company has origins as far back as 1807, by being hired by clockmaker Eli Terry, and Thomas …

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Laptop Open

Featured Artifact of the Week

Westford Academy Laptop From the Westford Academy Exhibit Students once used slate tablets and slide-rules as part of their learning experience. As far back as the early 2000s, Westford Academy students had access to laptops for use within the school, with multiple computer labs established prior. In 2016, the One-to-World …

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Notable of the Month- True A. Bean

When True Bean died at the Westford Town Farm, people in town erected marble markers for True and his wife Mary. * The couple had no children and no money. Town people honored True even more when they paid funeral director J.A. Healy $ 27.90 for his burial when Healy …

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Snow Roller

Featured Artifact of the Week

Snow Roller From the Collection Painted wood model of a snow roller once used in Westford. Before snow plowing — and before the automobile became popular, it was common to use a snow roller to make roads accessible, particularly between 1890 to 1920. The rollers were essentially a form of …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Ice Cutting From the Collection Photo of Frederick Shugrue (1908-1972) harvesting ice at Long Sought For Pond in February 1950. Ice harvesting, as a viable business, was more common in Westford starting in the mind-nineteenth century, and large-scale operations existed on Forge and Burge’s Ponds. Ice was was stored in …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Organ From the museum The pump organ was originally from the Prescott family home at 26 Pine St, the 1780 Levi Prescott House, in Forge Village. It was made by the Smith American Organ Company in Boston around 1872, while organs were often purchased to show off wealth and talent. …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Victor Victrola From the museum This Victrola turntable was manufactured by the Victor Talking Machine Company in Camdon, NJ. The VV-210 model was made between 1922 and 1925, while a rare late revision of this model was electric (the VE-210) instead of utilizing a manual winding mechanism. Based on the …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Framed Photograph From the online Atwood-Carlton-Millett Exhibit Black and white photograph in a decorative convex frame. It contains the image of Daniel Elliot Atwood (1850 – 1931) and Eliza “Lizzie” (Davidson) Atwood (1855 – 1932) from around 1910. The picture was likely taken on the family farm on Hildreth Street. …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Apple Bowl Photograph From the Collection Ca. 1940 photograph of a bowl of apples at the Forest View Farm (Gould-Picking Farm) in Westford. The property was located at 5 & 7 Gould Rd. Today it is also known as the Meadowbrook Farm, with the burgeoning the Good Pickin’ community farm …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Glass Plate Negatives From the collection These glass plate negatives capture a play at Healy Hall from over one-hundred years ago. The building was a popular meeting place for Graniteville residents at the time. It was located just south of the intersection of Broadway St and Cross St, accessible from …

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Past Exhibits

See highlights from past exhibits on our Past Exhibits page.