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, including a building on Dillingham Avenue which later served as a restaurant, The Nimrod. The men’s room had cannonball hole. 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.
Each year, the Museums hosts several exhibits featuring items from its extensive archives.
“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
“The First Thanksgiving-1621” by Karen Rinaldo
Falmouth artist Karen Rinaldo created the first historically accurate painting of the first Thanksgiving. The exhibit also features a video documenting the creative process. 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
“Why Not? Women Gain the Right to Vote”
This exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of American women winning the right to vote and takes a closer look at what was happening on the local level in Falmouth. LEARN MORE
“Hail to the Chiefs”
This exhibit honors the election year with campaign and inauguration memorabilia associated with past presidents, running mates, and also-rans from George Washington up to 2008. LEARN MORE