347 Stage Harbor Road
Chatham, Massachusetts 02633
Phone: (508) 945-2493

On a brisk Tuesday evening in November of 1923, six members of the Chatham Ladies' Reading Club gathered to discuss the need for an organization in town that would preserve the records and objects related to the history of Chatham . Alarmed by the rate at which antique dealers were buying up such items and aware that the seafaring way of life that had been so much a part of the culture of the town was slowly vanishing, they believed it was urgent to preserve all that they could of its history.

Within a few weeks the small founding group had almost tripled in number, and they met again to formalize the organization and approve the following resolution: The name of this organization shall be The Chatham Historical Society [and] the object of this society shall be to receive and hold articles and documents of historical interest of Chatham and vicinity; to provide and maintain a suitable place for their preservation and exhibition; and to arrange for lectures and publications on historic and kindred subjects.

Schedule varies per season. Open year round for special events and tours.

Current hours are always available here:

Did you know?

This once was the largest home in Chatham, distinguished by being the first with a second floor.



The museum exhibits and the home are open from May 25 -  through October 31.

Additional detail is about our exhibit schedule is available below or on our website at:

The rest of the year, the museum is open for special events, lectures, and private tours.

Administration is open during the week throughout the year by appointment or by chance.

Archives and research are open during the week throughout the year by appointment only.

In July and August, it is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. In June, September, and October, the museum is open Tuesday - Saturday from 1 P.M. to 4 P.M.

Admission fee is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and free to members and children under 5.

The Chatham Historical Society was organized in 1923. Three years later, the society acquired the Atwood House – a gambrel-roofed house built in 1752. Except for the addition of essential electricity, the old Atwood House is unchanged from when it was built and is furnished throughout as it was during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Over the years, museum galleries have been added to the original structure without affecting its integrity. As a result of the major expansion and renovation to the museum completed in 2005, there are now eleven galleries with permanent exhibits, plus a large special exhibit gallery that doubles as a meeting room seating up to 100 people.

On the grounds are the mid-20th century Nickerson North Beach Camp, the Chatham School Bells display, and the Chatham Light Display, featuring the lantern house from Chatham’s twin light with its original Fresnel lens, which flashes its beam whenever the museum is open.

The reception room of the museum houses a unique gift shop featuring tasteful gifts, books, and fashion accessories that relate to our collections. It is not necessary to pay admission to visit the shop.


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