Perhaps two of our most important local acquisitions are the Paine papers and the Brooks papers which are being digitalized and made available for research. These papers include much important local information, including rare Indian deeds, including this one shown from the late 1600s.
More recently the historical society has been gifted with paintings and wood carvings created by local artists.
The first photo below shows Milton Welt presenting one of his paintings to our former director.
The second photograph is of sisters Emily Lindberg and Jeannette Louth donating a painting of ice fishing on Long Pond at our annual meeting.
With the addition of the Crowell barn on the grounds of the museum there has been an increased interest in the work of Elmer Crowell and people have generously donated to add to this collection.
Over the years photographs of Harwich people, places, and activities have been donated by hundreds of generous people. The Collections Committee is grateful for all of these donations.
Now, thanks to technology, when a donor wants to keep a photograph we have the capacity to scan the photograph into the computer and return the original in the condition in which it was received. As a result, the historical society has thousands of photographs of Harwich which we can offer to the public for a fee.
The Harwich Historical Society is not a house museum; in fact it is a museum that is located in a school.
For this reason, it is difficult for us to accept large pieces of furniture as we would have no natural way to display these pieces. A few exceptions to this rule have been made because the pieces belonged to individuals or families who were integral to Harwich, such as Mildred Paine’s highboy.
In the past, the museum has accepted clothing in good condition from various eras, local school books, Bibles from prominent local families, books related to the history of Harwich and environs, quilts, as well as personal artifacts belonging to individuals from Harwich.
The Collections Committee of the Harwich Historical Society functions as a gateway for artifacts entering and leaving the museum.
The museum was founded in 1953 and in the early years the emphasis was placed on collecting historic items. Over the years, a greater emphasis was placed on provenance and whether the museum had the space to house the various donations. As time goes by and more items become historic, the committee has had to become more vigilant about items that can and will be accepted into the collection.
Each of us on the Collection Committee considers it a privilege and honor to be able to handle the artifacts which are a part of this very special town. We hope you will enjoy the fruits of our labors.