Visit the Atwood House & Museum
Step Back to Cape Cod of centuries past. Your journey begins with a tour of the historical dwelling built circa 1752 by Chatham sea captain Joseph Atwood, and occupied by his descendants for some five generations. Since 1927, this Cape Cod style home has been carefully preserved as an historical house museum offering the rare opportunity to experience Cape Cod life, art, and culture of the 18th and 19th centuries. Captain Atwood’s antique dwelling never had running water or central heating. It is fully furnished, as it would have been in the course of its history, with colonial and early American antiques, artwork, accessories, housewares, clothing and toys.
Explore the Museum grounds and outbuildings of unique historical interest:
- 18th century Herb Garden, planted and maintained by The Chatham Garden Club.
- Meneely Bell Chimes.
- The Nickerson North Beach Camp on the museum grounds. A dune shack built in 1947 and moved here in 1991 because of the danger of erosion and washover, the camp was saved by bringing it to the mainland for an exhibit. It demonstrates the unique Chatham experience of camping out on the barrier beach. Learn about the current washover and learn more about the “breaks” that have occurred during the past 50 years.
- Rare working lantern house from one of the historic Chatham Twin Lights. The housing dates to 1877, and the Fresnel lens, manufactured in France, was installed in 1923. Both were donated to the Society in 1969 when the Coast Guard updated the lighthouse.
Discover Cape Cod’s captivating history, art, and culture at the Chatham Historical Society’s expanded and upgraded Atwood House & Museum. In addition to the 18th century Atwood House at its core, Museum highlights include:
- The Joseph A. Nickerson, Jr. Portrait Gallery, displaying Chatham-born local sea captains, painted by Frederick Wight.
- The Mural Barn, housing the nationally-renowned paintings of local residents by Alice Stallknecht Wight.
- The Fishing Gallery, dedicated to the history, personalities, and various techniques of Chatham’s commercial fishing industry – the first of its kind.
- Special and multi-media exhibits on regional history, art, and culture.
- The Historic Tools and Industry Room, including a scale model of Chatham salt works, once a thriving Cape Cod industry in the early 1800’s.
- The Durand Gallery, featuring the collections of the Durand family — Sandwich threaded glass; Parian Ware; a prized collection of carved birds by A.E. Crowell; and seashells from around the world.
- The Joseph C. Lincoln Gallery containing manuscripts, first editions, illustrations and ephemera related to the Cape Cod author. Lincoln’s plumed pen weathervane that graced his former home on Shore Road, Crosstrees, is a new addition to the gallery. Also featured is an exhibit of stills from the movie “Chatham”, based on his book “Cap’n Eri” and photographed on location here on Cape Cod.