The 1736 Josiah Dennis Manse Museum is hidden away, only a few zig-zagging blocks off of busy Route 6A in the heart of Dennis Village.
But, what a gem.
Owned by the town of Dennis, this museum comes alive for a short time during the summer with authentically garbed doyens hosting you as you walk from room to room in the studiously renovated home of Josiah Dennis, who inspired the name of the town.
Behind the actual home of Dennis, with its most historic furnishings is an actual museum with diverse exhibits, including a maritime display. In all, there are more than 1,000 historical items to see and study.
The entire museum was lovingly renovated to the tune of $2.2 million three years ago, and the investment shows. You can easily spend a morning or afternoon captivated by the experience of traveling back in time, shepherded by all the volunteers who share their historical knowledge in a way that makes you feel they could be related to the Rev. Dennis and his family.
A restored brick sidewalk leads from the lower parking area to the Manse’s front. The buildings wavy glass panes would appear to be original, but they were replaced during the renovation. The renovation took nearly five years including building assessment, engineering and architectural design and funding.
The beauty of the renovation is that a new visitor would not even realize $2.2 million was put into a renovation because everything looks so original. The museum displays authentic colors, plaster walls were carefully repaired, plywood floors in the upstairs hallway and spinning room were replaced with wide-plank pine. The kitchen, other than a new stove, has seen no apparent changes.
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