The Duxbury Rural & Historical Society

Bradford House Symposium: Reclaiming a House’s History

Join scholars and experts from all over the region, as they delve into the historic Bradford House’s history and celebrate the “Re-imagine Bradford” Project, a multi-year effort to preserve and transform the historic house to tell a new story: 4 Bradford Daughters & Lives Well-Lived. For more information on the Bradford House Project, please visit


Duxbury Rural & Historical Society, in partnership with the Duxbury Senior Center & Duxbury Free Library, presents:

Bradford House Symposium


Saturday, March 25, 2017 (9:00 am – 3:15 pm)

Schedule of Events:
Each presentation is followed by 10 minutes for questions.

9:00  Registration Opens

9:15  Opening Remarks, Erin McGough, DRHS Executive Director
             Re-imagining Bradford: the Project

9:45  Carolyn Ravenscroft, DRHS Historian & Archivist
             The Maiden Aunts of Duxbury: A case study in Antebellum Spinsterhood.

10:40  Frank Shirley, Frank Shirley Architects
               Imagining New Life for Historic Homes

11:20  10 minute break

11:30  Nicole Belolan, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Delaware
              19th century American Disability: the Bradford House

12:10  Lunch (50 min) – an opportunity to view archaeological items!

1:00  Craig Chartier, Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project
             In the Basement of the Bradford House: Archaeological Discoveries

1:40  Jayne Gordon, Concord Historian
             Concord Cousin: Sarah Alden Bradford Ripley & the World of the Transcendentalists

2:20  10 min. break

2:30  Michelle Coughlin, Independent Scholar
             Reclaiming Women’s History, DRHS Research Project

3:10  Closing Remarks, Erin McGough, DRHS Executive Director
3:15  Program Ends


Speaker Bios:

Carolyn Ravenscroft has been the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society’s Archivist & Historian since 2009. Ms. Ravenscroft is the impetus for the Bradford House’s re-interpretation, having researched the family for almost 10 years, focusing especially on Charlotte Bradford’s Civil War career and the family’s involvement in the antislavery movement. Ms. Ravenscroft holds a MA in History & Masters in Library Science from Simmons College and a BS in History from Northeastern University. She frequently lectures in the South Shore region on Duxbury’s history and is the author of a blog of Duxbury history related articles at Carolyn, who grew up on Cape Cod, has lived Duxbury since 2007.

Frank Shirley was educated at the University of Cincinnati and began his career as a designer at Moshe Safdie & Associates, working on large-scale civic and institutional projects. He served as project manager at Design Associates Inc. and led the restoration of the Corbin-Norton residence on Martha’s Vineyard, receiving the Boston Society of Architects’ award for “Excellence in Architecture.” In 2000, Mr. Shirley launched Frank Shirley Architects in Cambridge, MA. His various honors and awards include: being featured on the PBS television series, “This Old House”; the Traditional Building Challenge (2007)–a nationwide competition to design a home in the spirit of its Cape Cod setting; the 2012 Bulfinch Award; Boston Magazine 2011 Best of Boston® Home Award; 2008 Best of Boston® Home Award; and Dream Home Awards 2010 Silver Award. In 2007, Frank’s book, New Rooms for Old Houses: Beautiful Additions for the Traditional Home, was published under the imprimatur of the National Trust for Historic Preservation by Taunton Press and distributed by Random House.

Nicole Belolan earned her PhD in history at the University of Delaware this past winter. She is a historian of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American social and cultural history and specializes in the history of everyday life through material culture and disability studies. Her dissertation is about the material culture (objects) people used in early America to live with physical disability. Ms. Belolan is currently the Megan Giordano Fellow in Public History at Rowan University and the Curator at Red Bank Battlefield Park in Gloucester County, New Jersey. She earned her BA in American Studies from Penn State and her MA from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture.

Craig S. Chartier, MA, director and principal archaeologist, has been active in New England archaeology for over 25 years. Mr. Chartier received his undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Rhode Island and his Masters in Historical Archaeology from UMass Boston. After years of working for various cultural resource management (CRM) companies and museums, Craig decided to follow his passion for 17th century archaeology and public education and the Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project (PARP) was born. PARP provides professional archaeological, educational and research services for both the public and private sector throughout New England. Its mission is to educate the public about the past and to foster an appreciation of how archaeology can add to the understanding of our communal history. This goal is accomplished through preservation, education and investigation of the Native and Colonial archaeological resources in the former Plymouth Colony and surrounding region.

Jayne Gordon is a Concord historian and independent consultant. Her current work “in retirement” includes projects for the Concord Museum, Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area, and Strawbery Banke Museum. Ms. Gordon previously served as Director of Education and Public Programs at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and as Executive Director of both the Thoreau Society and the Alcotts’ Orchard House. She has been the Director of Education and Interpretation at the Concord Museum and the Thoreau Institute/Walden Woods Project. A resident of Concord, MA, she regularly teaches and lectures about aspects of the town’s history and trains the town guides. She is on the boards of the Robbins House (African American historical site in Concord) and the Friends of Minute Man National Park.

Michelle Marchetti Coughlin is an independent scholar and former editor who holds graduate degrees in history and English and American literature. She is the author of One Colonial Woman’s World, a biography of the author of what may be the earliest surviving diary by an American woman. Ms. Coughlin has been a Mass Humanities Scholar in Residence and serves on the board of the Abigail Adams Birthplace.  She is at work on a book about the wives of the colonial governors (“The First First Ladies”) and on a biography of Penelope Pelham Winslow, wife of Plymouth Colony governor Josiah Winslow.

Erin McGough, Moderator, has been the Executive Director of the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society since 2014, and was the DRHS’s Interim Director and Collections Manager between 2011-2013. Prior positions include that of Registrar at the New Bedford Whaling Museum and 7 years as the Registrar & Collections Manager at the Concord Museum. Ms. McGough holds a dual M.A. in Art History & Museum Studies from Tufts University and a B.A. in Art History from the College of William and Mary, in Williamsburg, VA. She obtained early training in the Conservation Lab at the Peabody Museum, Harvard University, and in the Registrar’s Offices of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Muscarelle Museum of Art in Williamsburg, VA, and the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the Back Roads of the South Shore, a collaboration of historic sites in southeastern Massachusetts, and she is a Museum Assessment Program (MAP) Surveyor for the American Alliance of Museums, in Organization and Collections Management. Ms. McGough lives in Middleborough, MA with her husband and two children.


Location: Ellison Room, Senior Center (10 Mayflower St., Duxbury).

DRHS Members: $35; Non Members: $45; Students: $25. Pre-registration for the provided lunch is now closed; a 50 minute break is scheduled for lunch and there are several local options to “lunch on your own” or you may bring your own meal.

Advanced registration is suggested. Please call DRHS Office at 781-934-6106 or email Or, you can purchase your ticket online by filling out the form below.

To order tickets online, please fill out the form below for the first ticket. Once you add the ticket to your cart, you can click on "Continue Shopping" to purchase additional tickets. The name and information must be filled out for each attendee. Thank you.

  • $0.00




Designed & Developed by Niki Brown