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A Letter to Our Community from the Executive Director

Women on Standish Shore, Duxbury, late 19th century (Drew Archival Library, Gifford Collection, Duxbury Rural & Historical Society).


Pride in our community, our sense of place, and a strong commitment to the people around us are the ideas upon which the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society (DRHS) was founded in 1883, when a group of residents (many of whom were young women) had the spark of an idea to form a town beautification society. Little did they know how far their spark would go!

Today, all of us face a spring season unlike any that we have seen before. For DRHS, our historic houses will not open as scheduled and our calendar is not likely to happen as planned. But in challenge comes opportunity. For us, Place Matters and the spirit of the DRHS shines as our people innovate with new ideas. We will continue to serve the town of Duxbury, just as we have for the last 136 years.

Erin McGough, Executive Director of the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society.



Already this spring,

We have launched our new web portal dedicated to the 1791 logbook from the American brig, Grace. Written by a 22-year-old Duxbury sailor and shipbuilder named Samuel Delano, Jr., the logbook is the earliest and only-known English language version of the first meeting between an American ship and the Kingdom of Japan. Donated to the DRHS by the Hoyt family and recently conserved through the donations of several donors, the logbook is now fully digitized and available for you to “flip through” online, with a partial transcript of the most interesting days. Check out: “Collections Highlights” at our website.

Our website now has a section devoted to Online Learning. We are continually adding a wide variety of engaging online content, virtual tours, and lectures so that you can access Duxbury’s history from anywhere, at any time. We’ve already uploaded “What was Duxbury like in 1883?” as well as a presentation on the Reimagined Bradford House, with more soon to come, including Duxbury’s Women at Sea, and Charlotte Bradford: Civil War Nurse. View: “Online Learning” at our website.

Be sure to stay connected through social media! Our pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are full of tantalizing tidbits. We now have a rotating schedule: Mondays (Women’s History Highlights); Tuesdays (Gold Rush History Profiles); Wednesday (What is It? Object from the Collection); Thursday (Throw Back Thursday Duxbury Pictures); Fridays (Dateboarded Historic House Histories).

And wait, there’s more! Our special exhibition for the 2020 celebration, “Creating a Legacy: 400 Years of Duxbury & the Pilgrims” will launch digitally on our website, in early June. Since its founding as the second Pilgrim settlement, Duxbury’s residents have continuously invoked the town’s Pilgrim history, for a variety of reasons. From William Brewster’s Puritan spoon, to modern day souvenirs, this exhibition explores the discovery of items left behind, as well as those created to craft the legacy of Duxbury’s Pilgrim past.

Our offices, the Drew Archival Library, and the museums will remain closed through May 3 and we will keep you updated on our schedule as our situation evolves. As always, our staff is available for email inquiries. You can find their contact information at Our People.

We hope you stay well and take good care through these difficult times. Our physical doors may not be open, but we have flung our virtual doors open wide. Please use them to connect to our community, to our shared historical and environmental resources, and to this time and place. Together, in learning about our past, we also build a future that is worth looking forward to.


With gratitude and hope,

Erin McGough, Executive Director

P.S. Your generosity and support to DRHS matters more now than ever. If you are able, please consider making a donation to support our ongoing and changing work at Our Donation Website. Thank you, as always.