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

Ernest Born Lithographs From the Westford Granite exhibit and collection No 4 Cutting Shed at Fletcher Quarry Rock Crusher at Fletcher Quarry Fletcher Quarry Floor Federal Building in Boston Faced with Chelmsford Gray In 1930, architect and artist Ernest Born (1898-1992) made a series of 12 lithographs, including copies, for Westford’s …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Foot Warmer From the “Road to Westford” exhibit Foot warmers were staples in New England homes and churches during the winter until heating systems grew more effective in the twentieth century. They were filled with hot coals. Before more modern heating systems, they were one of many methods for staying …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Jan. 30, 2019 Brewerton Point From “The Road to Westford” exhibit Brewerton Side-Notched Point Biface projectile point (arrowhead) dated to the Late Archaic Period, approx. 6,000-3,700 years ago. It was found in 1960 near abandoned Red Line railroad near Flagg Rd. in Westford, and donated by past resident Huntington L. …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Jan. 23, 2019 Wedges and Shims From the granite quarrying exhibit Plugs & Feathers These wedges and shims (also known as plugs & feathers or wind blocks) were used in granite quarrying. Archaeologically, the marks left by plugs and feathers can aid in dating structures when other records are not available. …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Jan. 16, 2019 Peggy, Westford Women Doll From the “Westford Women” exhibits Peggy, Westford Women Doll Even though there are no birth and death records available, the First Parish Church record Peggy as baptized in 1732. She was the servant of Joseph Hildreth, Jr., who lived near Minot’s Corner (Cornerstone Square). …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Jan. 9, 2019 Tiki Lau Drink Stirrer From the “Past Westford Eateries” exhibit Amesbury Location Westford Location The Tiki Lau restaurant on rt. 110 operated from 1974 to 2008. They offered Cantonese, Polynesian, Mandarin, Szechuan, and some American. In the last year of its operation it was rebranded as the “New …

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Featured Artifact of the Week

Jan 2, 2019 H. Arnold Wilder’s Class Ring From the Collection Class Ring (bottom) Class Ring (top) Photo of WA Trustees with Arnold Wilder The Wilder family moved to Westford in 1923 from New Hampshire, with Henry Arnold Wilder (1909-2009) graduating from Westford Academy in 1927. Arnold was a mechanical …

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Photos of Oaken Bucket Menus

Treasured Artifacts of Olden Days

Treasured Artifacts of Olden Days A revolving exhibit featuring object(s) from the collection   Click to Featured Artifacts   Past Artifact of the Month (Selected from 2018 and prior): Rainbow Hawk-Eye Camera made around 1930  W.1998.28.6b Hooked Rug by Jeanne Fallier W.2004.68 Westford Firefighter Pins of Assistant Fire Chief Anthony …

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Timeline Posters

Over the years, the Westford Academy Museum Club created posters illustrating a snapshot of the world, the nation and the town in a particular year. They were often put on display for Westford Academy alumni visits, reminding them of what things were like the year they graduated. Here’s the full …

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4 Graniteville - atwood house photo

The Atwood-Carlton-Millett Family

4 Graniteville Rd – Atwood House The Atwood-Millett Family included a doctor, nurse, lawyer, and artist, and there are connections to other towns across the country. Lillian, Mary, and Sarah “Carrie” Atwood were lifelong Westford residents. Grace (Atwood) Millett was a nurse in Westford into the 1950s, and was featured in …

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Past Exhibits

 
See highlights from past exhibits on our Past Exhibits page.