Athol Historical Society Inc.
1307 Main Street
Originally known as Pequoiag after its earliest Native American inhabitants, Athol has a deep-rooted tradition as a tool manufacturer and hotbed for industry. The museum is home to several displays including military items, clothing, furniture, photographs, books, and other items of local interest.
Engine House Museum
Main Street (Route 2)
Erving’s equivalent of a historical society. Adjacent to Freight House Antiques, the museum is housed in the former Erving Fire Station and helps to recount Erving’s history as a major industrial town. The Engine House carries a substantial collection of photographs and scrapbooks, as well as a kitchen, living room, and parlor decorated in the style of the late 1800s and early 1900s; the old firehouse bell outside the museum serves as a reminder of the building’s prior use.
324 North Main Street (Route 32)
A project of Harvard University, Harvard Forest has explored the relationship between biological, physical, and human systems since 1907. The history of this interplay in the North Quabbin region is presented visually in the exhibits of Fisher Museum. The museum boasts 23-internationally acclaimed dioramas depicting the history, conservation, and management of central New England forests. Other museum exhibits represent the variety of research conducted at Harvard Forest. Fisher Museum screens a different film related to the forest itself or local cultural history each month. Complement your museum visit by picking up a map of Harvard Forest’s interactive trails.
Orange Historical Society
41 North Main Street
The Orange Historical Society offers a chance for tourists and residents alike to learn about a community with a very rich, if often underplayed, history. A mass producer of sewing machines, tapioca, and hydraulic machines, Orange was (contrary to popular belief) the site of the country’s first automobile factory: Grout Brothers manufactured steam-powered automobiles, one of which is on display in the barn section of the Orange Historical Society. In addition to this vehicle, which traces back to the year 1904, the barn contains a fire pumper and other industrial items. Housed in a Victorian home with identical furnishings, the Orange Historical Society also includes a special children’s room, military room, and alumni room.
Petersham Art Center
8 North Street
Gallery and shop featuring local fine art, crafts, books, clothing. Classes and demonstrations.
Petersham Historical Society
10 North Main Street
The Petersham Historical Society and stunning town common are two prominent components within this district, which is included in the National Register of Historic Places. Before entering the Historical Society, view the monument to Shay’s Rebellion. Following the Revolutionary War, a debt-stricken group of farmers led by Daniel Shay rebelled against the Massachusetts State Senate in light of property foreclosures and high land taxes. Shay’s Rebellion is directly linked to the ratification of the Constitution, and the monument marks the location of the final battle. The Petersham Historical Society includes various displays of town artifacts, namely the fully-renovated Petersham stagecoach, and offers programs and events throughout the year.
Phillipston Historical Society
50 State Road
The formal establishment of Phillipston as a town included merging sections of western Templeton and eastern Athol to afford residents easier church access. The Historical Society functions as a museum preserving Phillipston’s historical artifacts and documents and hosts regular events.
Royalston Historical Society
2 Athol Road
The Royalston Historical Society is located within the Royalston Common Historic District in the town’s “Old Schoolhouse Number One,” erected in 1837. Known as the Raymond School, the building remained in operation for this purpose until 1938 and originally faced the opposite direction toward what is now Bullock Park. The Royalston Historical Society today houses a large collection of town artifacts, most notably and recently a display of an old coffin and related items.
L. S. Starrett Industrial Museum
121 Crescent Street
Located at the L.S. Starrett company office, the museum has on display machine tools of the past. Visitors are admitted by appointment only. Impressive restoration was done recently utilizing grant funding with private donations. Tours of the museum can be scheduled by contacting the company during regular business hours.
Swift River Valley Historical Society
40 Elm Street
New Salem, MA
In 1938, this vast area was home to four towns flooded as part of the Quabbin construction. The Swift River Historical Society exists to preserve the legacies of these four towns: Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott. As residents in these towns were forced to leave behind their homes, farms, and businesses, the Historical Society aims to care for their former objects and reminiscences. The organization also provides a glimpse at life in the Swift River Valley prior to the events of the Quabbin Reservoir.
Warwick Historical Society
6 Athol Road
Outside of the Warwick Historical Society, you will find a “scythe tree” with a gripping story behind it. Inside, the Historical Society boasts an expansive collection including picture albums, furniture, and relics which harken back to the town’s industrial past as a glass and boot manufacturer. Its collection also contains the diary of a 1700s Warwick minister and a pump log used in the early 1880s.