WHO WE ARE
We are located on 11 lovely acres. Our collection is quite vast and covers many time periods throughout Freetown's history. Our exhibits range from Native Artifacts to Civil War and agriculture, fishing, and manufacturing tools. We have something for everyone to enjoy! Explore our main museum and buildings. We are lovingly restoring the Jenkins house, which holds an amazing story. We are also building a replica of the East Freetown Garage. Come by and see our progress on these exciting new projects.
In November of 1967, six Freetown residents met at a home in Assonet and formed the Freetown Historical Society. In January 1972, the Stillwater Charities Foundation donated the first building to the Society. It has been used for screening cranberries, by the Bullock Cranberry Company and then as a warehouse by Stillwater Associates of East Freetown. It was donated in memory of George S. Mycock who served on the Board of Selctmen with Mr. George Grimshaw, a member of the Foundation, in the early 1940s.
The original building was transformed from the warehouse that it was to the museum that is there today by dedicated volunteers. Soon donated artifacts from Freetown's past began to full the three levels of the building. Remodeling has been an ongoing process over the years and continues to the present.
Inside the museum, old Freetown comes alive again. Rooms from several historic homes located on South Main Street were removed and reconstructed within the building; the keeping room from the Hathaway house, and the parlor from Captain Job Terry's house built in the 1830s. Artifacts have been donated over the years to fill not only these rooms,
but the rest of the museum. An area of the museum displays items typical of the early 1900s kitchen from the ice box and
cast iron stove to the utensils and appliances.
Curious about your family history?
We can assist you with your genealogy research. The museum library houses census records, military lists, cemetery records, and street listings. Contact us to set up an appointment.
Other displays include the Civil War memorabilia from Colonel John M. Deane, who was
awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and items from the Davis Gun factory located on Water Street.
The library contains genealogical material of the families in the area as well as vital statistics from other towns. Freetown Assessor's records as far back as 1858 are also available, as are copies of plans and maps of the area, including the Freeman's Purchase and the Pocasset Purchase. Also, a collection of oral histories from some of the older residents of Freetown. These give a real perspective to life in Freetown over the years.
The rooms on the upper level of the museum display bedrooms; an adult's room and a child's room. The children' room also displays toys that were common to the period. At the lower level of the museum there are antique cars and a hand pumper from 1846 that was an early part of Freetown's Fire Department. There is also a collection of doll houses that was just the work of two people. There are many photographs on display throughout the museum that depict the town as it was and the people that made it.
As the society grew both in acquisitions the need for more display area became obvious. In 1987, an addition was made to the main building, which today houses our meeting room on the main level and a display area for textiles on the lower level.
In 1975, the Advent Christian Chapel was moved to the property from its place on Chace Road. In 1997, a replica of a blacksmith and wheel wright shop operated by 'Barney' Sellars was built, complete with a working forge. Many of the accessories that are in the building cam from the Demoranville blacksmith shop that was on Chace Road.
Over the following years expansion continued. A replica of the Mason Corner School was built, with the original bell in it's tower. The carriage house contains many of the farming implements that we have, as well as a 19th century ladder truck, horse drawn carriage and sleigh, and an Omnibus that was used in the City of Fall River in the 19th century. The bell from the Methodist Church on Middleboro Road was donated to the Society, and in 2003, the gazebo was built to house it. In 2004 the replica of the Wilson-Rezendes sawmill was constructed. The mill operated from 1810 to 1939 and was located at the intersection of Elm and Mill Streets in Assonet Village. Our general store was dedicated in 2006 and is a replica of Sharrock's Store that still stands on County Road in East Freetown.
As the museum has grown so has it's membership. Not only in numbers but in diversity, as it includes not on residents of Freetown and the local area, but people from across the entire United States. Over the years, the museum has grown from the original building on about 1 1/4 acres to the complex we have today with over ten major buildings on just over eleven acres. The Society has been blessed over the years with talented and dedicated volunteers who have given of themselves to transform that empty warehouse into the museum complex we have today. It is though the dedication and generosity of its members and the public that we continue to preserve the past for the generations of the future.