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Online Learning

The DRHS is committed to providing free access to quality online learning, across a breadth of topics and concerns. Below is a selection of presentations, lectures and virtual tours that you may access anywhere and at anytime.

Check back again, as we will continue to add to the list!


General History    |     Themed History     |     Historic House Museums     |     Museum Collections     |     Family Programs & Outreach


What Was Duxbury Like in 1883?

(3/24/2019): Produced for the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society’s 135th anniversary celebrations. Brief introduction to Duxbury’s history and to the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society.

View the video (3 min): https://youtu.be/bEKoSUaISSo

Link: Duxbury in Brief, A Historical Sketch, https://duxburyhistory.org/local-history/


Creating a Legacy: 400 Years of Duxbury & the Pilgrims: a digital exhibition examining more than 400 years of Pilgrim Mayflower history as it relates to Duxbury, Massachusetts. Creating a Legacy examines Duxbury’s unique link with the year 1620, the beloved tales as well as the commodification of the Pilgrim legacy that occurred throughout the subsequent centuries to grow commerce, business and identity in town. We also examine how the Pilgrim legacy is received by the more populous Duxbury today.

Visit the exhibition online: https://duxburyhistory.org/pilgrim-history-duxbury-massachusetts/

Barons of the Sea with Steven Ujifusa:

Author talk with Steven Ujifusa, recorded via Zoom meeting on August 20, 2020. When the United States was young, fortunes were made and lost importing luxury goods such as tea, silk, and porcelain from China. It was a secretive, glamorous, ugly business built off the profits of the opium trade. But the journey back home to New York from Canton could take six agonizing months – thus beginning the greatest technological battle of the age. BARONS OF THE SEA tells the story of a handful of cutthroat competitors who raced to build the fastest, finest, most profitable clipper ships to carry their precious cargo to American shores.

View the video (1 hr 20 min.): https://youtu.be/GqOn09VXZ08


Powder Point Bridge Virtual Tour:

Virtual Tour of the Powder Point Bridge in Duxbury, Massachusetts and its history. Featuring Duxbury Town Historian, Tony Kelso, and Duxbury Rural & Historical Society’s Archivist & Historian, Carolyn Ravenscroft. Recorded live September 27, 2020.

View the video (42 min.): https://youtu.be/GqOn09VXZ08



Mayflower Cemetery Self-Guided Tour & Family Activity Sheet:

Print up your tour, and head out the door to explore the Mayflower Cemetery Tour by the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society. This two part tour includes first a self-guided tour, researched and designed by DRHS Archivist & Historian, Carolyn Ravenscroft. Carolyn’s tours of Duxbury’s cemeteries have been highly sought-after for years. Now is your chance to have a private tour, on your own terms. You will learn the stories of Duxbury residents laid to rest in this burial ground, along with the meaning of popular gravestone icons.

The second part of the tour offered is a Family Activity Sheet, developed by DRHS Outreach Manager, Sabrina Kaplan: explore the grounds together, and learn about traditional iconography. Examine the headstones, guess the meaning of each icon, and use the answer key on the back to see if you are correct.

Both parts of the tour come together with your generous donation to support the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society. The Mayflower Cemetery Tour of Duxbury is available on our website during the month of October. Please make a donation in any amount (suggested donation: $10) and receive a link to download your personal tour: Visit Tour Page.




Duxbury in 1918: Flu Rages

(6/29/2020): Duxbury in 1918 was a little town on the brink of something big. In 1918, the flu pandemic would change not only the town, but the nation at large. Learn about these years from the perspective of one small, New England town. Researched and narrated by Duxbury Town Historian, Tony Kelso.

View the video (1 hr): https://youtu.be/vevYv9fcDac


Charlotte Bradford: Duxbury’s Civil War Nurse

An introduction to Charlotte Bradford’s Civil War nursing career, an utterly unique American experience and one that makes Charlotte Bradford one of the most interesting documented people in Duxbury history. Bradford, a native of Duxbury, Massachusetts, served more than 3 years during the Civil War, first as a matron on hospital transport ships for the U.S. Sanitary Commission, and later as a U.S. Army Nurse under Dorothea Dix in military hospitals in Washington, D.C. She then served as the Matron for the Home for Soldiers and the Home for Wives & Mothers in Washington, D.C., providing critical support services to soldiers and their families. The story of the Bradford sisters, including Charlotte, is featured at the Re-imagined Bradford Museum, a property of the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society. The family’s archives and personal belongings are also a part of the DRHS collections, including the Civil War diaries and notebooks referenced in this film. The Bradfords were also noted anti-slavery advocates (abolitionists).

View the video (21 min): https://youtu.be/Bttt0U2gpS4

Duxbury’s Prohibition History:

Explore a short video on Duxbury’s Prohibition History, including the bootleggers and the secret hiding spots of the 1920s and 30s! Courtesy of research done by Town Historian Tony Kelso and first presented at DRHS’s Speakeasy Night in October 2019.

View the video (2 min): https://youtu.be/bnIm3HitF10


Music Credit: Look Busy by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/...)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-… Artist: http://incompetech.com/

The Magnificent Gilded Wrights

The history of the Wright family, their “Vanderbilt-like” wealth, and their influence on Gilded-age Duxbury, Massachusetts. In 1909, Georgianna Wright gave the building that would become the Duxbury Free Library (today the DRHS Drew Archival Library and the Duxbury Student Union). Research and narration by Duxbury Town Historian, Tony Kelso. Presented via the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society, 2020.

View the video (1 hr): https://youtu.be/x_FvkjoxRak


Logbook for the Brig “Grace” (1791), Samuel Delano of Duxbury:

The logbook for the brig Grace is the first-hand account of an American vessel trading successfully with Japan in 1791, long before Admiral Matthew C. Perry commanded the entry of American vessels in 1853. The American brig, Grace, sailed into the harbor of Koshimoto and traded with Japanese villagers on May 1, 1791. Onboard was a 22 year-old Duxbury sailor and shipbuilder named Samuel Delano, Jr. As clerk, Delano kept the log of voyage and it is the only English language version of this momentous first meeting between two cultures.

Visit the DRHS Collections Highlight page, “flip through” the logbook now fully digitized and read a partial transcription of the events: https://duxburyhistory.org/collection-highlights/logbook-for-brig-grace-1791/

Duxbury’s Women at Sea: Women Who Sailed in The 19th Century:

(4/1/2020): During the 19th century, Duxbury sea captains sailed to foreign ports around the globe, and many Duxbury women joined their husbands at sea, sometimes bringing their children. This presentation explores their exciting, exotic, and sometimes harrowing tales. Original research presented by Carolyn Ravenscroft, Archivist & Historian for the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society.

You have two options to learn about Duxbury’s Women at Sea. The first is to view a video presented by Archivist & Historian, Carolyn Ravenscroft. Or, you can flip through our online exhibition, on our website.

View the video (30 min): https://youtu.be/gPeaCcGZ2Gs

Online exhibition: https://duxburyhistory.org/duxburys-women-at-sea/



In the Days of King Caesar:

“In the Days of King Caesar:” the Weston Estate on Powder Point in Duxbury, Massachusetts. An introduction to the world of Ezra Weston II (“King Caesar”), one of the most successful shipbuilders and merchants in early 19th century New England. Today, Ezra Weston’s home is a historic house museum owned by the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society, and is available for visitation as well as Bumpus Park across the street (the remains of Weston’s wharf).

2011 video production design and animation: Bryan Felty; Narration by Carolyn Ravenscroft; Written and Produced by Patrick Browne; A Good Bones Production. Presented 2011 by the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society. Learn more about the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society at www.duxburyhistory.org. © 2020 Duxbury Rural & Historical Society, all rights reserved.

View the video (11 min): https://youtu.be/GcBCrAoWW3g

Re-imagining Bradford: The Four Bradford Daughters, Lives Well-Lived

(3/24/2020): Take a “mini tour” of the Re-imagined Bradford House (Duxbury, Massachusetts) and learn about the new exhibition, “Four Bradford Daughters: Lives Well-Lived.” Executive Director, Erin McGough, will introduce you to the organization, the house and its history, and the award-winning project which was completed in 2017. Themes: women’s history, social history, Civil War, nursing, aging, health and medicine, disability, 19th century social movements, anti-slavery, temperance.

This presentation was first given to the Wisconsin Historical Society’s webinar series for colleagues and professionals in the museum field, March 2019.

View the video (35 min): https://youtu.be/yOhsQTkS4vc

Information on Visiting our Historic Houses: https://duxburyhistory.org/visit-historic-houses/


Collections Highlights:

A few short years after its founding in 1883, DRHS began to collect objects made, used, or owned in the Duxbury area, including the regional area of Plymouth County, and especially those towns that may have once been within the old boundaries of the town of Duxbury. The current collection ranges from about 1640 to present, with Native American archaeological material dating earlier.

Visit the DRHS Collections Highlights page and learn about objects in the collections: https://duxburyhistory.org/object-collection/

Visit the Drew Archival Library page and discover the many local Duxbury connections: https://drewarchives.org/



Schoolhouses of Duxbury:

(8/18/2020): DRHS Schoolhouses of Duxbury Virtual Tour for Families, Caregivers and Educators. Intended to welcome children “back to school” during the month of September, this virtual tour of Duxbury’s schoolhouses and history of education in town. This video includes audio and a link to a google map with “treasure hunt.” Narrated and researched by DRHS Outreach Manager, Sabrina Kaplan.

View the video (11 min): https://youtu.be/s3FOPlAVIpc

See the Google Map Treasure Hunt: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1VZ_Vy-yu02vaNrNSiwJ-k289v-K_z56P&usp=sharing



Historic Duxbury Lego Contest (All Ages!)

What town landmark can you recreate? Recreate any Duxbury town landmark using Legos and submit your creation for a chance to win! Project collaboration between Duxbury Free Library & Duxbury Rural & Historical Society. Learn more about the contest: https://duxburyhistory.org/historic-duxbury-lego-contest/



A Driving Tour for Families, Featuring Properties of the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society

Kids, grab your adults and hit the road for a driving tour of Duxbury, highlighting some major spots in Duxbury, including a few properties owned by the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society. With easy instructions, fun facts, and hints at more to learn, this driving tour is sure to give your family a fun, “socially-distant” afternoon exploring our community. After all, Place Matters!

Download your free printable brochure here: Family Tour Brochure. We recommend that you print your brochure “double sided” for best effect. The DRHS supports all CDC-recommended guidelines for “social distancing.” Please be safe.

Christmas at King Caesar:

(3/31/2020): Now in its 49th year,  the annual Christmas at King Caesar holiday event is a community tradition that continues strong with teams of volunteers decorating the historic house in a chosen holiday theme. The fundraiser helps to support the educational and preservation mission of the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society. Please enjoy this selection of images from the past five years! Thank you to the Duxbury Camera Club for their donation of the images.

View the video (3 min): https://youtu.be/k1e7aVgFVME