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Newsletters - past issues

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Museum OPEN Wednesday through Friday
10:00 - noon and 1:00 - 4:00 or by appointment

Please call ahead for archival

research appointments


What's the Big Idea? Check out our Heritage Center Presentation HERE!


The CG 36500 begins its winter berth at Nauset Marine East on October 16.

Check out this fabulous article all about it by Brian Tarcy in the Cape Cod Wave


The legacy of the famed CG36500 lifeboat continues beyond movie theaters showing Disney's The Finest Hours


War of 1812U. S. Coast Guard Vessel (Ret.) -
Recipient of the Gold Life Saving Medal
Visit our CG36500.org website >>


The legacy of the actual lifeboat involved in “the greatest small-boat rescue in the history of the Coast Guard,” lives on in Orleans. The retired 36-foot CG36500, fully restored and operational, is the pride of the OHS and still plies its home waters of Cape Cod. The boat was made famous by its crew of four in the February 18th, 1952 rescue of 32 survivors of the ill-fated tanker Pendleton, during a ferocious storm. The boat is a rescue story in itself. After more than two decades of meritorious Coast Guard service, the CG36500 was decommissioned in 1968 and sat neglected and nearly forgotten for years. The Society acquired the boat in 1981, and it has been carefully rebuilt and maintained by many dedicated volunteers with the support of generous grants and individual donations. Artifacts relating to the CG36500 and the Pendleton will be on exhibit in a special “mini-museum,” at the Chatham Bars Inn from January 29 through February 29. The display is open to the public, and is being staffed on weekends by volunteers from the Orleans Historical Society and the Coast Guard Heritage Museum in Barnstable.


Read an article about the film and the 36500 from the Jan 24 Cape Cod Sunday Times HERE!

CBS This MorningCBS This Morning "Unbelievable Coast Guard Rescue" video segment. October 17, 2015 >>


See the CBS update to this story from Sat January 30, 2016 >>


Read the Boston Globe article "little boat that could" 4 August 2015 >>


To donate use our secure PayPal CG36500 donation option: PayPal

War of 1812

On Saturday, February 6, join popular artists from the Addison Art Gallery and friends for a new exhibition and an array of delights presented by the Nauset Farms catering crew, a fun afternoon to benefit the Orleans Historical Society. From 1 to 2:45, two popular Addison Art Gallery artists, Maryalice Eizenberg and Susan Overstreet, will paint at Nauset Farms, (199 Main Street, East Orleans; www.nausetfarms.com) capturing the artistic beauty of unique desserts and a classic still life of fine wine and cheeses. From 3:00 to 5:00, Nauset Farms’ experienced catering staff will present an extensive sweet and savory sampling at the Addison Art Gallery (3 Cove Road/Rt. 28, Orleans; www.addisonart.com).


Join us at one or both locales to meet with friends and celebrate winter in Orleans!


A Nauset Farms Morning by Susan Overstreet



Orleans Historical Society

Meeting House Museum

Orleans Historical Society

A Greek Revival structure that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Formerly used as the Meeting House forthe Universalist Church of Orleans, this building houses the Society's Museum and is used for special exhibits and cultural programs.

The Society has a collection covering genealogical information, diaries, deeds, 19th and 20th century photos, artwork by local artists, special collections focusing on Orleans families and individuals, ships' logs, Native American artifacts, and other items relating to the history of Orleans and its citizens.




The Orleans Life-Saving Station

LSS crew

An exhibit tribute to the lifesaving tradition of our community. This legacy dates back almost 170 years before Orleans was incorporated as a separate municipality. During the winter of 1626-1627, the Sparrowhawk was wrecked off the shores of what became Orleans, and the first documented rescue mission was headed by none other than Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony.

The Humane Society of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts became the first organization to address the plight of shipwreck survivors soon after it was founded in 1786. By erecting shelters along the coast and stocking them with survival supplies, hope was provided to those who made it to shore after disasters in our dangerous waters. One of the first huts provided by the Society was in Orleans. Some of these huts, including the one in Orleans, became early lifesaving stations, provided with a boat and staffed by volunteers.



Rail to Trail


150 Years from Rail to Trail

When the first train steamed into Orleans, MA, at 11:30 a.m. on December 6, 1865, it officially opened the rail line extension from Yarmouth that would change the town forever. No longer just a quiet, seaside village, Orleans was now the new terminus for trainloads of people and freight from Boston and New York City. It would remain so for five years until the line was completed to Wellfleet.




Sam's scrapbook

Sam's Scrapbook

is an exciting web collection of vintage images of Orleans; teams, class pics and more!
View Sam's Scrapbook > >



Naustical manuscript

Community Preservation Act

The Society is currently working on several preservation projects made possible through grants provided by the Community Preservation Act.
To learn more about these projects click here >>



Historic House Plaque Project

plaque plaque

Beautiful historic markers for qualifying houses.
Members $95 ~ Non-members $120
Find out if your house is eligible for a marker!
For details and an application download PDF here
or call 508-240-1329


French Cable Station Museum

located in Orleans, contains an historic collection of Atlantic undersea telegraphic cables, instruments, maps, and assorted memorabilia.
Come and see history. Learn more > >


OHS Membership

Researcher Registration

Image Reproduction Fee Schedule

Permission to Reproduce

Meetinghouse Museum facility rental



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