NEMA Museums New England

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Museum Profile

Dedham Historical Society

612 High Street, Dedham, MA 02026

The Dedham Historical Society was founded in 1859 and is a 501 c 3 charitable, educational institution. It is composed of three divisions, the museum, archives, and library, and is housed in a climate-controlled purpose-built building constructed for the organization in 1886. The Society is located in the heart of Dedham’s historic square.

The museum houses furnishings, fine and decorative arts, and unique artifacts such as a 1652 chair (the oldest dated chair made in America) and a large collection of Dedham pottery. Collections also include a rare astronomical shelf clock by Simon Willard, paintings by local artists Lillian and Philip Hale and Alvin Fisher; paintings by international artists John Constable and Gilbert Stuart; and silver pieces by local artist Katharine Pratt.

The library is renowned for over 10,000 genealogical and local history related items including vital records; Massachusetts town history books; town records and books by Dedham authors and individual family histories.

The archive contains materials which detail political, religious, economic and home life in today’s Dedham as well as all the towns that made up the original 1636 Dedham Grant. The newspaper archive dates from the 1792 edition of The Columbian Minerva to the current Dedham Times. The archive also includes significant collections of photographic images and maps.

The Dedham Historical Society & Museum is not a town department and receives no operational funds from local, state or federal government. It is supported entirely through membership and private donations.