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

Captain Peletiah Fletcher Doll House

The Doll House is no ordinary playhouse. After moving into the Captains Fletcher House (54 Lowell Rd), Mary “Marmi” D. Agnew decided to create a replica of the house. The Fletcher House has many aspects typical of a Westford House, but also many other unique details  Some features are, a …

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Home Life

Not so long ago, the average home was a very different place. Candles lit the rooms instead of light bulbs, fires were used to cook things instead of ovens and stoves, and people spent much more time at home with their families. This all changed with industrialization and electrification, when …

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photo of Franklin Trask

What happened to the Lake Shore Theatre?

Mural-sized painting of Nabnasset Country Club, ca. 1930 W.2017.24.1Photo by Rich McLaughlin We’ve been hearing lots about the Lake Shore Theatre in Nabnasset. It was run by Franklin Trask for 3 summers from 1934 to 1936. Trask had originally come to Westford as the principal at the Frost School around …

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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 …

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Set in Stone~ History of the Quarry Industry

  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 …

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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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Image of the Westford Knight

The Westford Knight

Map to 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 …

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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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The American Revolution

Westford men served in various Colonial wars, and over 280 Westford men served in the Revolutionary War. They fought from the Battle of Lexington and Concord to the defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown. Lt. Col. John Robinson was one of the first officers at the North Bridge in Concord on …

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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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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

Alice Hildreth

Featured Artifact of the Week

Framed Photograph From the Collection Framed photograph of Alice Ann Battersby Hildreth (1905-1974). She married Charles Lewis Hildreth (1879-1968) in 1930, his second wife. Charles was a local lawyer, and served as Town Clerk from 1915 to 1966. Alice directly succeed him, becoming the first woman elected to the position …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Almanack From the collection An Astronomical Diary or Almanac from 1792. It was printed and sold by T. & J. Fleet in Boston, the only proprietor of Dr. Law’s Copy Right. Included are the expected descriptions of eclipses, weather patterns, and expected high tide, as well as court schedules and …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Decorative Holder From the Collection A decorative container from the mid-twentieth century. Containers such as these may be used for a variety of purposes, such as tooth sticks, paper clips, or just decoration. It was made in China, according to the stamp on the bottom. Likely carved in marble, it …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Diary From the Collection Abbie J. Cutter’s 1881 leather-bound diary, with flap enclosure. There is also a sleeve for a pencil. In addition to its use as a diary, it was also used as an almanac and ledger. All entries are in pencil. A lifelong Westford resident, Abbie was born …

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Slippers

Featured Artifact of the Week

Slippers From the Collection Two needlepoint slippers, needlepoint. There is a floral motif. The slippers were never removed from the canvas. The note that came with the pattern reads, “Worked by and a last gift to the church she loved so well. From Rebecca E. Luce. Price $2.00. These were …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Train Wreck Photos From the Collection Photographs of the train derailment in Forge Village the occurred on July 9, 1921. The Stony Brook Railroad was completed in 1848, and became part of the Boston and Maine Railroad Corporation in 1887. The 1921 incident occurred as a result of the doubleheaded …

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Forge Village Horse Nail co

Featured Artifact of the Week

Forge Village Horse Nail Co. From the Industry Exhibit Forge Village in Westford had mills as far back at 1795. The site of the Horse Nail Co. was the Westford Forge Company, an iron forge, in 1853, with Jonas Prescott (1810-1870) the largest shareholder. The company was reorganized into the …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Painting Panel The chips were taken from the original clapboards and show the paints used from 1794 through 2009. Two paint chips from the east side of the 1793 Westford Museum building, which was the original building of Westford Academy. The were taken by Dan Lacroix to determine the 2009 …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Placemat The table mat has a depiction of the Westford Town Common. Drawn by the late Phyllis Hughes then of Carlisle, MA, originally for the Friends of the J.V. Fletcher Library, the image is presumably contemporary to when it was dawn in 1973. The Westford Museum may be seen to …

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Featured Artifact of The Week

Autograph Book From the Westford Academy Exhibit Westford Academy autograph book of Abbie J. Cutter (1861-1923) from her time at WA from 1875 to 1879. The book contains signatures of mostly her classmates from her years at WA. Pictured signatures are from Hattie A. Bailey and Clara W. Blodgett (1862-1945). …

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Past Exhibits

See highlights from past exhibits on our Past Exhibits page.