Mission
Adopted by the DHSM Board February 16, 2021

DHSM’s mission is to preserve and share the Town’s history and the stories of its people and places, across Dedham and beyond, and connect the past with the present.

To achieve this mission we . . .

  • Collect art, objects, documents, photographs, oral histories, and other materials that document
    the history of Dedham over time.
  • Develop interpretive exhibitions, programs, and publications that share these stories at our
    museum, in the community, and beyond.
  • Offer varied opportunities to learn about Dedham’s history, for audiences of all ages.
  • Support researchers pursuing a wide range of questions and topics.
  • Advocate for preservation of important buildings and other features of the built environment.

History of the Dedham Historical Society & Museum

The Dedham Historical Society was founded in 1859 by a group of citizens concerned that the town’s history not be forgotten. The DHS was incorporated for the “purposes of collecting and preserving such . . . records . . . and traditions as may tend to . . . perpetuate the history of New England and especially the town of Dedham.” In 2013, the Board of Directors voted to change the public name of the organization to the Dedham Historical Society & Museum (DHSM). The new name reflects the importance of the museum and outstanding collection. The DHSM preserves, collects, and protects materials relating to present-day Dedham. While the DHSM also holds materials from some of the sixteen towns that were part of the original 200-mile 1636 land grant, from Bellingham and Plainville in the south to Natick and Wellesley in the northwest, because of space constraints at the DHSM many of the records of these other communities have been given to the individual towns through the years. When the DHSM began, Norwood and Westwood had not become separate towns, so the collections include many items from the “South Precinct” and the “Clapboardtrees Parish.”

The brick building at 612 High Street, Dedham, was built on the site of Dedham’s first post office, home of Jeremiah Shuttleworth. The property and a bequest for the construction were left to the Dedham Historical Society (as it was known at the time) by Hannah Shuttleworth, Jeremiah’s daughter and niece of Fisher and Nathaniel Ames. In 1888 the Shuttleworth house was moved to Bryant Street; it was razed in the 1970s due to becoming derelict. Architect Edwin J. Lewis designed the present two-story structure containing a lecture-display hall, basement storage area, and Society office. In 1965 a second exhibition room was added with more document storage space beneath, and the earlier basement was modernized to contain what is one of the most important archives in New England, and a historic and genealogical library.

About the Society

The Society works within the community to establish a greater sense of appreciation for its history and to connect the past with the present. The Dedham Historical Society & Museum is a charitable, educational institution, organized under Chapter 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is not a town department but is a private organization supported through membership and private donations. Though the current name was changed to Dedham Historical Society & Museum in 2013, for tax and registration purposes, the official name of the organization remains the Dedham Historical Society.

Please consider contributing to the DHSM. Thank you.

sThe Dedham Historical Society & Museum is a member of the following organizations:

  • North American Reciprocal Museums (NARM)
  • New England Museum Association
  • American Association of Museums
  • American Association for State and Local History

For more information about the Dedham Historical Society & Museum please call 781-326-1385 or email: society@dedhamhistorical.org

 

Board of Directors (click on names to access bios)

Officers
Joan Pagliuca, President

Stephen Brayton, Vice President
Rick Saul, Treasurer; Chair, Investment Committee
Andrea Gilmore, Clerk; Chair, Development & Nominating Committees

Directors
Kate Brannelly, Chair, Marketing Committee
Cecilia Emery Butler
, Chair, Programs Committee
Kate Cahill
, Co-Chair, Worthington Committee
Karen Durham, Co-Chair, Worthington Committee
Heidi Fieldston
, Chair, Website Committee
Dan Hart
, Chair, Building & Strategic Planning Committees
Carl Jay
James Kaufman
, Chair, Collections & Preservation Committees
Sandy Leith
Judy Neiswander
Terry Phinney
Kevin Preston

Staff

Johanna McBrien, Executive Director
society@dedhamhistorical.org
Janet Haugh, Membership Officer
info@dedhamhistorical.org

Kathryn Ostrofsky, Archivist
library@dedhamhistorical.org

Kevin Corey, Docent
Kathy Foster, Landscaping
Paul Grant, Maintenance
Sue Linahan, Bookkeeper
Steve Manning, Accountant

 

Staff Profile:
Johanna McBrien, Executive Director
Hear an interview for the September 2020 “I am Dedham” series with Ms. McBrien, who was interviewed by Margaret Matthews. 

Board Profile:
Jim Kaufman
Hear an conversation with Mr. Kaufman, who was interviewed by Joe Borsellino, Head of the Dedham Human Rights Commission.