Black and white photo of street in Chatham, Atwood Museum.

Research at the Atwood Museum

Quick Links

Policies and Fees regarding use of our materials, see below.

Permission Form for reproducing any of our materials, click here (PDF).

Contact our Archivist via Online Request: Please let us know of your interest in advance of your visit to do some research.

Contact our Archivist via email: [email protected]

Online Catalog: to search an online catalog of our collections, click here.

Online Resources: for a list of other research resources available on our website, click here.

Finding Aids for a few Chatham people of interest: click here.

The Library: see information on this page, below.

Genealogy: see information on this page, below.

Volunteers in the Archives at Atwood Museum

Research Facilities

The Society has an extensive library of books and pamphlets about Cape Cod in general and Chatham in particular. We have other records, such as real estate tax records from early in the 19th century to the present, Chatham newspapers from the middle 19th century through the first half of the 20th century, old letters, photographs, ships logs, ledgers, and similar archives.

With the completion of the recent expansion and renovation in 2005, the museum now has a separate Research Room that provides ample space and equipment for those who wish to make use of our archival material. One key feature is computer access in this room to all of our archival files.

The society also has several collections of papers belonging to members of the Chatham Community. These collections have been arranged and entered into our computer. Visitors are invited to come to the museum to use the collections in our research center.

Policies & Fees

Collection Use and Photocopy Policy and Fees

  1. All photographic prints and photocopied material are supplied for study purposes only, unless permission is obtained from The Chatham Historical Society (CHS).
  2. The CHS reserves the right to refuse to photograph or photocopy fragile or rare materials.
  3. Obtaining copies of CHS material does not imply the right to publish them or to permit them to be copied. The museum must receive a request in writing, which describes the nature and purpose of the proposed use, publication or exhibition and the exact material desired for use.
    (You may view and print the Chatham Historical Society request form by clicking this link.)
  4. When permission is granted, all materials to be reproduced are subject to a Reproduction Rights Fee over and above copying costs.
  5. All reproduction fees cover a one-time use, in one language, one edition and one country distribution.
  6. Materials and permission to reproduce may not be re-used, transferred, assigned or sold without written permission of the Chatham Historical Society.
  7. All matters of publication copyright rest entirely with the publisher.
  8. Any reproduction that is used as an illustration in any manner must bear the credit line: Courtesy of The Chatham Historical (MA) Society.
  9. The CHS may require one complimentary copy of the publication in which the image or artifact is reproduced. If a copy of the publication has been requested, it should be sent to the CHS within one month of the date of publication.
  10. All black and white or color negatives remain the property of the Chatham Historical Society. No negatives will be sold or loaned.
  11. Personal photography of museum collections material is prohibited. Arrangements must be made through the museum Curator.
  12. Use of The Chatham Historical Society images or collection material on CD-ROM or any Internet application is strictly prohibited.


  1. Library use fees:
    • Non-members: $5.00 per day
    • Members: no fees
  2. Telephone, written and email requests for information to be mailed will carry a $10 fee for the first hour (or any fraction thereof) of research plus any photocopying costs and postage. Beyond the first hour the charge for research done by museum and library staff will be $15 per hour.
  3. Photocopying is $.25 per page.
  4. Television, media, and commercial crews will be charged a flat fee of $100 for filming on museum property, plus additional fees for staff time subject to permission for specific use and payment in advance.
  5. Commercial organizations, business, and non-profit organizations desiring to purchase positive images, black and white or color prints owned by the Chatham Historical Society will pay processing cost of images, staff time (if necessary), use fee of $10 to $125 per image depending upon use, and postage. Unless credit has been established, purchases are to be paid in advance.
  6. Individuals desiring to purchase positive images for study purposes only, owned by The Chatham Historical Society will pay processing costs of images and use fee which is $10 for the first image, and $8 for each additional image. Processing costs, use fee and postage must be paid in advance unless credit has been established.
  7. Normal delivery time is ten days following an application and order. A surcharge will be added for rush orders, priority handling cannot be guaranteed.

Approved by the Executive Board of The Chatham Historical Society at its meeting on February 12, 2002. (Adapted from a form used by the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society)

Use of the Library

The Library is a Reference Library Collection, that is, books are not loaned out. Because the library room is occasionally used as a conference room, we request that you please call (508) 945-2493, if you wish to visit the Museum to use the Library resources.


The best source of genealogy of Chatham families is in The Eldredge Public Library, but the Society has the complete genealogy of the Nickerson, Eldredge, and Atwood families and additional information on many other families. These resources are available to interested persons by appointment.

Additionally, much of our genealogical information can be searched using the American Ancestors website, by clicking on the Search button in the upper left corner of the menu bar and searching in All Databases.

Become a Member

Location & Hours


Atwood Museum
347 Stage Harbor Road
Chatham, MA 02633