Unfolding Histories: Cape Ann before 1900

March 31, 2018 — Sept. 9, 2018

The first major archival exhibition at the Cape Ann Museum, Unfolding Histories: Cape Ann before 1900, will showcase the documentary holdings of eight institutions, ranging in size from the Cape Ann Museum to small, neighborhood historical societies. Lenders to this exhibition include Annisquam Historical Society, Gloucester City Hall, Judith Sargent Murray House, Essex Shipbuilding Museum, Manchester Historical Society, Sandy Bay Historical Society, Sawyer Free Library and Town of Essex. The materials span from Native American life on Cape Ann, through the first European settlers in the 1640s, to the introduction of the railroad and other forms of mass transportation during the mid 19th century.

Organized thematically, Unfolding Histories lets the documents tell the stories of Cape Ann, thereby highlighting often neglected experiences and perspectives. This archival record richly depicts the political and social structures of our nation before its founding, through its early years and on up to 1900, and provides windows into the working and cultural life of a place that would become a haven for artists and writers. Unfolding Histories aims to make the presence of these collections on Cape Ann known to a wider scholarly and popular audience; to both residents of Cape Ann who are proud of their history, and to the professional and amateur historian who will surely be delighted to listen to the stories these archives might tell.


Top, left to right: Logbook from the Schooner Lark, 1799, Cape Ann Museum; Daguerreotype of Abigail Trask and her friend, late 1840s, Manchester Historical Society; Old Farmer's Almanac, 1839, Sandy Bay Historical Society;  Certificate from teacher for Amanda Babson, January 1823, Cape Ann Museum. 

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