Past Programs

Water in Dedham: Past, Present & Future
Saturday, May 4, 2019
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

In collaboration with the Dedham Sustainability Advisory Committee, Dedham Civic Price, Dedham Environmental Department, Dedham Land Trust, and L.L. Bean.

Have you ever wondered where Dedham’s water comes from, how the waterways have been used to our benefit, Mother Nature’s role, and what lies ahead? From the Charles and Neponset Rivers to Wigwam Pond, and the wetlands that make up 25% of Dedham’s land surface, water is an essential ingredient to life in our town. This conference will highlight how we have used water throughout the town’s history, how we are anticipating and meeting current needs, and what we can expect for water in a future affected by climate change.

Visit to learn details about speakers and topics, as well as a list of where related exhibits will be located throughout Dedham. 

2018-2019 Lecture Series: Concluded

The Ben Fisher Memorial Lecture & Annual Meeting
Thursday, April 18, 2019
7:00 pm, DHSM
Gail Coughlin, The Indigenous Peoples of Dedham

Before settlers arrived in Dedham, the land was home to Native Americans. Learn who stewarded and lived on the land before European contact, the relationships between English settlers of Dedham and their Indigenous neighbors during the 17th and 18th centuries, and the legacies of these histories today. Scholar Gail Coughlin, who is writing a book on the Indigenous histories of Dedham and surrounding communities, will speak on the topic.  

No video was made of this presenatation at the request of the speaker.

The Dedham Historical Society & Museum will concurrently display a portion of its collection of Native American stone tools, an early Quitclaim deed between Wampatuck and Dedham settlers, and other materials.


Thursday, March 21, 2019
7:00 p.m., DHSM
Kimberly Alexander
The Fashion and History of Shoes

 Shoes are storytellers—through their materials, style, function, use, and owners. Join Dr. Kimberly Alexander as she explores our history through footwear. DHSM will concurrently open a mini exhibit on shoes from the Society’s collection, which ranges from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Alexander is the author of Treasures Afoot: Shoe Stories from the Georgian Era (2018).

No video was made of this presenatation at the request of the speaker.


Thursday, February 28, 2019
7:00 p.m., DHSM, 612 High Street
William O’Donnell, Accessing Our History

Norfolk County Register of Deeds, William O’Donnell, will speak about ongoing and future projects at the Registry, including the recently completed project to transcribe handwritten documents dating from 1793-1900 and the next research project after the successful booklet celebrating the Registry’s 225th Anniversary (2018). Members of his staff will be available with computers and printers to provide guests with a copy of their deeds, information about the Homestead Act, and more.

To watch a video of this talk, follow this link: 


Sunday, November 18, 2018
2:00 pm, DHSM, 612 High Street
Honoring the Centennial of the End of WWI 

Program produced by Stuart Christie
Guests: Chief of Police Michael d’Entremont and Donna Russo

 To watch a video of this talk, follow this link:

The video is courtesy of


Tuesday, October 16, 2018, 7:00 pm
Barbara Berenson, Votes for Women: Massachusetts Leaders in
the Woman Suffrage Movement. 

Thursday, September 20, 7:00 pm
Nonie Gadsden, Boston Area Arts and Crafts Jewelers & Metalsmiths

To watch a video of Nonie Gadsden’s lecture, click here.
The video is courtesy of


 Read more details about each lecture.
Schedule has been adjusted with a new February presentation and May conference (see below).



Please note the starting time for lectures is now 7:00 pm (unless noted).
Some lectures will be at locations other than the DHSM.

DHSM members free; non-members $10
The 2018-2019 DHSM lecture series is generously sponsored by David G. Newsom in memory of his wife, Carol. L. Newsom.





Save the Date for the Annual Soiree!

Save the date for May 18th, 2019 for our annual member’s-only Soiree held at a spectacular private home. It will be a night to remember!  Join now to attend. Call 781.326.1385.

Already a member? Buy tickets online now! 

Number of tickets
Guest Name(s)


New, Concurrent Exhibits 

Water in Dedham: Dedham’s Boat Clubs and Canoe Houses
Through May 2019

This mini exhibit is one of six held at locations in Dedham. The exhibits were inspired by the Water in Dedham: Past, Present and Future symposium held at the Society on May 4, 2019 (see past events for more details). Each exhibit has a different theme related to water in Dedham. The HIstorical Society’s theme is boat houses and canoe houses. The Charles River is at Dedham Community House; the mills at Motherbrook Art & Community Center; floods at Endicott library; bridges at the library main branch; and recreation at the Dedham Commuminity Theater. 

Native American Stone Tools
Opened April 18, 2019
A display of tools that date from thousands of years ago to the 17th century that were found in Dedham and the surrounding area. The items on display were used in farming, hunting, and felling trees. Also on view are important land deeds between Native Americans and the English settlers. 

Cycling in Dedham
Ongoing; opened April 2019 

Spring is here and Summer is right around the corner. What better time than to take out your bike and go for a ride? Get into the zone by first visiting the DHSM to see materials relating to the Dedham Cycle Club and other biking materials as well as historic photographs of local enthusiasts enjoying being on two wheels.

Image: Dedham Cycle Club, ca. 1894.


Shoes! Shoes! Shoes!
Ongoing; opened March 2019
Step on over to DHSM to see a selection of shoes from the museum’s collection, ranging from red brocade slippers from a 1747 Fairbanks wedding, high-heel pumps with silver bead trim from the roaring 1920s, children’s shoes, skates, and a rare shoe from an African American shoe shop brought north after the Civil War. Photographs of Dedham residents, and their shoes, from the 19th and 20th centuries accompany the exhibit.


Past Exhibits  

Celebrating American Presidents

In celebration of Presidents’ Day, on Monday, February 18, 2019, DHSM opened an exhibit celebrating American Presidents. The exhibit ran through March 2019. 

Norfolk County, known as the “County of Presidents,” is the birthplace of four U.S. Presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, and George Herbert Walker Bush. Signatures or birth certificates of these presidents were on display, as well as signatures by the country’s first president, George Washington, among others. The exhibit featured documents signed by American presidents with ties to Dedham and Norfolk County, from the founding of the country through the 20th century.

Caption: Signature of George Washington on a document nominating Albion Cox to the U.S. Mint, April 4, 1794. Collection of Dedham Historical Society & Museum.

Dining in Dedham
January 2018-March 2019 

The old saying that “we are what we eat” holds true for the past as well as the present.  The Society’s new “Dining in Dedham” exhibit looks back on Dedham’s culinary history, exploring what our ancestors ate, how they prepared it, and where they dined. From the earliest settlers eating by the kitchen fireplace to the arrival of fast-food chains in the 1950s, “Dining in Dedham” tells this delectable story through photographs, menus, old cookware, and other artifacts from the Society’s collection


Past Events:

Annual Winter Wine Event

January 25th, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m., 2019
$50 per person

The annual winter festivity that warms the heart and spreads cheer into the new year. On Friday, January 25th, friends gathered at DHSM for our annual Winter Wine Event. Guests enjoyed sampling a selection of wines and local beer, and dined on tasty hors d’oeuvres. What better way to spend a cold January evening? Special thanks to the Worthington Committee who made the event possible and who brought scrumptious bites, to Fine Estates from Spain for the selection of wines, and to Turtle Swamp Brewery in Jamaica Plain for the brew. A marvelous way to head into 2019!

Trains Return for the Annual Dedham Square
Holiday Stroll
Friday, November 30, 2018, 6:00-8:00 pm
Saturday, Decemc018, 11:00 am-2:00 pm
Location: Dedham  Historical Society & Museum

Treat your children and family to an annual holiday tradition. Celebrate the season by enjoying the model trains that once again will be part of Dedham’s annual Holiday Stroll, on Friday, November 30, from 6-8 pm at the Dedham Historical Society & Museum. As in years past, a holiday train set takes center stage on the tracks brought into the museum for this special occasion. In addition to model trains, Thomas the Tank Engine will also be rounding the tracks to the delight of younger children. Everyone will have a chance to participate in the magic by having a turn starting and stopping the trains.

For anyone who would like to return for more time with the trains, they’ll also be running the next day, Saturday, December 1st, from 11 am-2 pm.


Dedham Pottery Anniversary Dinner
October 26, 2018
6:00 pm: Cocktails; 7:00 pm: Dinner
Location: First Church, Dedham 

Spend a festive evening with friends celebrating the  50th Anniversary of the first-ever museum exhibition of Dedham Pottery, presented by the Dedham Historical Society in 1968.

Dine on antique Dedham Pottery plates from a private collection; enjoy cocktails made specially for the evening; learn the history of the pottery and strategies for collecting; bid on a rare piece of Dedham Pottery donated for this fundraising event; and have the opportunity to purchase a Dedham Pottery plate discounted for attendees as our “thank you” for your support.  Rare examples will be on view. Blue and white attire encouraged.

This is a fundraiser for the Dedham Historical Society & Museum. Tickets: $100 per person or become a sponsor and buy a table of 6 for $750. Call 781.326.1385 to reserve your space.


Past Event:

Walking Tour: Medfield State Hospital

September 29, 2018, 2:00-4:00

Following last year’s lecture about the Medfield State Hospital, DHSM board president Andrea Gilmore and Peter Smith of Oxbow Partners will lead a tour of the historic campus. The tour will discuss the architectural history of the institution and the challenges of its redevelopment, including plans set forth by the Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee, which include historic rehabilitation and new construction for residential and commercial use.

Opened in 1896 as the “Medfield Insane Asylum for the Chronic Insane,” the Medfield State Hospital closed its doors in 2003. The first state mental hospital in Massachusetts built on the “cottage plan,” it was organized with twenty-five buildings to house residents, a large barn, administration building, and a church, known as St Jude’s Chapel.

 Tour will gather at the Medfield State Hospital parking lot at 45 Hospital Road (from Medfield, lot is on the right). There are no facilities. Wear comfortable shoes. Please arrange your own transportation. Members: $12; Non-members: $15. Please call the Society to reserve your space: 781.326.1385. To watch the video of a talk on the Medfield State Hospital presented as part of the DHSM’s 2017-2018 lecture series, click here. The video is courtesy of