The Dedham Historical Society & Museum is temporily closed due to precautions against COVID-19. When DHSM reopens, the museum, gift shop and office are open on Tuesday – Friday from 11:00-6:00 p.m. The archives is open by appointment. Admission is $5 (free for members).
The museum houses a robust and varied collection of furnishings and artifacts ranging from Native American stone tools and the 1652 Metcalf great chair (oldest dated American-made chair) to an important collection of Dedham and Chelsea pottery. On exhibit are several rare clocks including one of only two known “astronomical shelf clocks” by Simon Willard.
The walls are filled with paintings by artists including John Constable, Gilbert Stuart, Amasa Hewins, Henry Hitchings, and Alvan Fisher. The Society also owns the largest collection of silver by Katharine Pratt.
Top row, left to right: Moses Gragg 1828 double-sided tavern sign. Pair of ca. 1740s wedding shoes, Fairbanks family; Paul Revere bell, Boston, 1798 and made for the first Dedham/Norfolk County court house; the bell is in Revere’s ledgers as the smallest he made. Chest attributed to John Thurston, ca 1640s-1650s; Thurston also made the oldest dated chair in the colonies (see below left), helped build the Fairbanks House, the oldest timber frame house in North America (1637), and built the first school house in the 1640s (Dedham had the country’s first tax-supported public school).
Middle row, left to right: Dedham Bicycle Club; one of hundreds of images in the archives. Silver jewelry box with Gothic design and lapis lazule inlay, made by silversmith, jeweler, and painter, Katharine Pratt. Painting of Brides Tavern; one of several taverns built by the Gay family; located where the present Knights of Columbus building stands in Dedham Square. Logo for Dedham Pottery; the DHSM has an important collection of Dedham Pottery and ceramics made by its precedent, Chelsea Keramic Art Pottery.
Bottom row, left to right: The Michael Metcalf chair; carved in the crest “M1652M”; the oldest dated chair made in the colonies (attributed to John Thurston, see top row, right) and made for Metcalf, a teacher at the school in 1657. Native American stone tools and arrowhead, among the Indigenous tools and musical instruments from Dedham and other areas. China Trade exquisite carved and tooled shell tea box with salmon-colored papered interior divided into three compartments. Unique Dedham Pottery vase with 3-D decoration of lillies and signed by Hugh Robertson. Extremely rare Simon Willard Astronomical shelf clock with engraved chart attributed to Paul Revere; one of only two known and the only one in original condition (the other is in Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library).