“From Cape Cod to Normandy: Falmouth’s Role in World War II’s D-Day Invasion”
Opening June 6th, 2024 – May 10th, 2025, in the Cultural Center
The Falmouth Historical Society, in collaboration with the Cape Cod Military Museum, is honored to present a compelling new exhibition that explores Falmouth’s vital role in the historic D-Day invasion during World War II. The show opens Thursday, June 6th, 2024, and runs until May 10th, 2025.
With America being violently thrust into WWII, there was a palatable fear gripping America, especially on the East Coast where Nazi U-boats were wreaking havoc on Allied shipping.
The exhibition unfolds against this historical setting, shedding light on the critical training that occurred in Falmouth in preparation for the monumental D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944, Normandy, France. Key aspects of this exhibition include the amphibious training and innovations at Washburn Island, the heroic efforts of Woods Hole Coast Guard Cutters in the Rescue Flotilla, and the significant role played by the Ranger training that led to the greatest feat of arms in WWII, Rudder’s Rangers capturing Pointe Du Hoc.
A central figure in Falmouth’s contributions to D-Day was Ralph Ingersoll, a pro-war Newspaper publisher by trade, he volunteered to be stationed at Camp Edwards. Ingersoll, with strategic foresight, developed a plan to trick the Germans that the main attack was to be elsewhere with what has become known as the Phantom Army. They used inflatable rubber tanks, planes and landing craft along with fake unit patches and radio traffic to fool the enemy. Without this trickery D-Day could have ended in failure.
Even the Martha’s Vinyard Ferry the Naushon got into the act. She became the H.M.S. Naushon a British Hospital Ship treating the wounded and ferrying them to England for more treatment.
The exhibition concludes with a poignant reflection on the Falmouth Homefront during this eventful day and tells the tales of Falmouth natives that participated in the most important date in history.
“Wish You Were Here: Postcards of the Past”
Open October 6th, 2023 – May 10th, 2024
Calliope Poetry’s postcard exhibition will be on display until May 10, 2024.
The Falmouth Public Library’s trove of postcards includes depictions the town throughout the decades (since the early 1900s), with many historical images of each of Falmouth’s villages. The postcards capture the spirit of the past and bring the people who wrote them alive again, with all their unique personalities, quirks, and humor.
Each card has its own story, and this project enabled local literary and visual artists to use those stories to reflect on and sometimes reinterpret the postcards’ images and messages as a way to enter Falmouth’s history—to capture the contrast between past and present, and to celebrate the unchanging character of the town. Calliope Poetry hopes this exhibit prompts a memory of your own.
“Better Together: Falmouth Families at Sea 1852-1886”
In nineteenth century Falmouth the life of a Whaling Captain was full of adventure on the high
seas, dangerous encounters, and exploration to lands beyond their wildest imaginations. Whaling
voyages could take up to four or five years and only the Captains were allowed to take their
families aboard ship. For the families who did select to stay together during the voyage, their
lives would never be the same, coming back with stories that continue to inspire future
generations. In the new exhibition at the Falmouth Museums on the Green, the show explores the
opportunities and obstacles families faced at sea highlighting the Lawrence and Hamblin families
and others as case studies. The exhibition delves into topics like hygiene, community, and even
pet ownership to present a multifaceted overview of the topic using photographs and primary
objects from whaling families who went to sea. Ultimately, this interactive exhibition asks if
you too would have wanted to go on a whaling voyage.
Sponsored by Judy Frank, great-great granddaughter of Captain Zenas Hamblin of Waquoit.
“Falmouth: Changing with the Times”
There’s no better way to learn about a place and the people who lived there than by seeing what they left behind. And, like most things, what remains changes with the times. The sea trade, tourism, farming, industry, and military and civic service are common threads in the fabric of this exhibit. LEARN MORE
“Cash, Credit, or Eels: Shopping Local in the 1820s”
Back in the day, no cash was no problem. Shoppers exchanged simple IOUs for goods or traded everything from fish and feathers to vegetables and eels for the items they needed. This exhibit takes us back a few centuries for a typical round of errands to the general store, the blacksmith, the carpenter and the bank to see what’s available and learn how people shopped and traded in a cash-deprived economy. LEARN MORE
The Falmouth Historical Society collects items related to the history of the Cape Cod town of Falmouth. If you would like to make a donation to the collection, please call (508) 548-4857.
HMS Nimrod, Painting by E.F. Lincoln
Gift of William L. Allison
The HMS Nimrod was a British man-of-war that patrolled New England waters during the War of 1812 in an effort to limit American shipping. At the time, Falmouth had several small cannon that it used to good effect against the British. In January, 1814, the commander of the Nimrod sent a message demanding the Town surrender the cannon or risk bombardment by the mighty ship. Local lore says that Falmouth’s response was, “If you want our cannon, you can come and get them, and we will give you what’s in them first.” Regardless of the exact wording, it is clear that the town refused to give up its weapons and that the British ship retaliated. Several of Falmouth’s buildings still proudly bear the scars of the subsequent cannonball fire. In June of 1814, the Nimrod crew heard that some Falmouth ships were hiding in Wareham Harbor, near the head of Buzzards Bay. The British ship attacked and burned 17 ships. On the return down Buzzards Bay, the Nimrod ran aground. To avoid being caught in a vulnerable position, the captain ordered that the cannon be jettisoned overboard to lighten its load.
Exhibition Sponsorship Information:
The Clipper Ship Society Level $250
Includes promotion on our website, weekly eblast (2k mailing list) during the duration of the show from May 12 to October 1, 2023. The businesses/individuals name will also be included on the sponsorship panel. The business/individual will get two free tickets to the exhibition opening reception on Friday, May 12, 2023 at 4-6pm.
Friends of the Collection $500
A sponsorship on this level would get all the benefits above plus an opportunity to include a historic photograph/item in the exhibition and four tickets to the opening reception.
Preservation Circle $1,000-5,000
A sponsorship at our Preservation Circle level would include all of the former benefits plus an opportunity to speak at the opening reception and ten tickets to the opening reception.
Please contact our Executive Director, Rachel Lovett, for more information at [email protected] or 508 548 4857 x15.