The Museum Galleries

The Atwood House & MuseumThe Atwood House & Museum

The galleries and permanent exhibits that reside at the Museum are listed below. Most of our galleries can now be previewed using the Pinterest website.

The Old House

The Old House



The Old House is the original Atwood house built in the 1750s by Captain Joseph Atwood.  The house remained in the Atwood family until the 1920s when the Chatham Historical Society was formed and purchased the building.

The Main Exhibit Gallery


The Main Exhibit Gallery is a rotating gallery highlighting the rich history of Chatham. This year's exhibit showcases "Windows into Time: Clothing & Artifacts," proudly sponsored by the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation. The exhibit offers snapshots of Chatham's history through several vignettes from the 17th century through the early 20th century.  

The Fisheries Gallery

Fishing Image


This gallery highlights the four kinds of commercial fishing most prominent in this area: line fishing, weir or trap fishing, shell fishing and lobstering.

The Joseph A. Nickerson Jr. Portrait Gallery


The Joseph Atkins Nickerson, Jr. Portrait Gallery is the gateway to the Atwood House & Museum. This year's exhibit in the Portrait Gallery is dedicated to "Chatham in the Military," sponsored by The Kemper Family Foundations. "Chatham in the Military" looks at the lives, traditions and artifacts of Cape Codders who fought for freedom since colonial times, through the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and World War I. 

The Tool Room


A variety of tools, trade signs, and other artifacts make up the tool collection. These objects date from early the 1800s thru the early 1900s. Highlighting the Tool Room Exhibit is the restored Atwood Store Sleigh discovered in the basement of the Eldredge Garage before the building was demolished in March. The sleigh is about 150 years old and emblazoned with “Atwood Store” and “Groceries” in gold lettering on its dark green paint. It has a long, open bed to accommodate large, unwieldy loads, and iron runners that curve up at the front. As with the other parts of the Collection, nearly all items were donated by individuals with Chatham connections.

The Lighthouse Turret

The Lighthouse Turret


From 1808 until 1923, ships in the Atlantic knew they were off Chatham MA when they saw the town’s famous twin lights. In 1857, the lights were equipped with Fresnel lenses so they would project the beam farther out to sea. Relocation to Atwood House & Museum was made possible by the daughters of Mrs. Fannie Lewis Shattuck. Restoration to the lantern room is a direct result of generous grants from Community Preservation Trust Fund & the Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank Charitable Foundation.

The Joseph C. Lincoln Gallery


Joseph Crosby Lincoln (February 13, 1870 – March 10, 1944) Although born in Brewster, Joseph Lincoln’s adopted home was Chatham, and many of his 50 books, including 38 novels and several collections of short stories, verse, and personal reminiscences of Cape Cod, were written in his home on Shore Road. Lincoln's works were bestsellers during the first half of the 20th century. Lincoln’s stories bring to life the people and the times of Chatham and Cape Cod during 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Durand Room

The Durand Room


The Durand Room at Atwood House & Museum. Chatham Historical Society, Chatham, MA. This gallery was given in 1974 by Mrs. Samuel Durand in memory of her husband. It houses their collections of Parian Ware, threaded Sandwich glass and sea shells from around the world. Later their son, John Durand, bequeathed his valuable collection of 32 miniature carved birds by Elmer A. Crowell, the noted Cape Cod artist and carver of decoys.

The Mural Barn: The Murals of Alice Stallknecht

The Mural Barn - The Murals of Alice Stallknech


Perhaps one of the most unique displays at the museum are these murals that provide a picture of a small town in the 1930s and 1940s. The murals were executed during that period by noted local artist Alice Stallknecht Wight. All of the people represented in the murals were residents of Chatham when Alice Stallknecht painted them. 

The Nickerson North Beach Camp

North Beach Camp


A is simple beach camp that was used by the Joshua Nickerson family as a summer cottage. It was located on the area in Chatham known as North Beach, a long point extending from Orleans to Chatham that was for many years a favorite place to get away from one's daily life and live more simply. When erosion threatened the camp, it was floated across the water in the spring of 1991, and given to the Museum by the son of Joshua Nickerson.

The Spencer Y. Grey Maritime Gallery


New for 2018 is “Double-Take: Historical & Current Panoramic Photographs of Chatham.” The exhibition features panoramic images of various locations and landscapes taken in the early 1900s and pairs them with photographs of the same places today. Visitors can view vistas like the iconic Twin Lights of the past next to the lighthouse today; Stage Harbor then and now; Mill Pond and more. The exhibit is curated and sponsored by the Atwood’s Archivist Jean Young and her husband, photographer Andrew Young.

The Atkins-Kent Gallery

Gallery Exhibits



The Atkins-Kent Gallery highlights the Pendleton Disaster and the Coast Guard Rescue by four brave men who saved a crew of thirty-two from the five hundred foot sinking tank vessel.