Exhibits & Collections

Welcome to the Exhibits and Collections section. The Society owns thousands of artifacts, including clothing and textiles, works of art and tools. Additionally there are manuscripts, documentary artifacts, periodicals, photographs, a research library, and other resources available to the public.

The Society displays its collection through permanent as well as changing exhibits.

 Exhibits for 2022

A Tale of Two Artists

Harwich residents Charles D. Cahoon (1861-1951) and Anthony Elmer Crowell (1862-1952) are celebrated around the world, yet the stories of these two local artists and contemporaries provide a glimpse into Harwich’s rich history and culture.

Inside Brooks Academy Museum, the Society is showcasing pieces from its collection of Cahoon paintings and sketches alongside several of Crowell’s decoys. Learn more about the Art of C.D. Cahoon.

Be sure to visit the Crowell Barn on the grounds of Brooks Academy to see the original woodshop of this world-renowned decoy artist and learn about the history of decoy making. More about the Crowell Barn. Weekly decoy carving demonstrations will take place in the Crowell Barn throughout the season.

Harwich Goes to School

Built in 1844, the Brooks Academy Museum started out as a schoolhouse. Explore the history of Harwich schools in this journey through time. You may even recognize some familiar faces and classmates in this exhibit!

Scenes of Old Harwich   

Harwich through time as seen by Milton Welt (1914-2011) and Lawrence B. Robbins (c. 1930). See familiar landscapes and landmarks painted by Milton Welt, and Robbins’ sketches of Harwich done as a project under the WPA during the Great Depression. Some of Robbins’ reproductions are available for purchase in the Gift Shop.

Our Permanent Exhibit  

Cranberry Culture

The Harwich Historical Society at Brooks Academy Museum features Cape Cod’s largest exhibit dedicated to growing the first commercial crop of cranberries in the nation, and still today produces the finest cranberries on earth in its bogs.

The history of cranberry farming is documented here with photos, artifacts and hands-on activities.

Included is a diorama of a cranberry bog showing the history of harvesting techniques and built by students at the Cape Cod Regional Technical High School.



Photo Collection

A fishing party, c. late 19th century, enjoys an excursion to Bang’s Pond near Pleasant Lake.

The photo archive includes over four thousand photographs, chronicling Harwich people, places, industries, and events.

This collection can be researched year-round by appointment.

Please call or email the Society for information.