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Museum OPEN hours:

Monday through Friday, 9 am - 12 pm, or by appointment.

Please call ahead for archival research appointments.


In a collaboration between OHS, the classroom teachers, art and the computer lab educators, the OES 5th grade students created a first hand, verbal and visual image of the Battle of Rock Harbor.
Their shadow boxes and diary essays can be viewed at the Town Hall Skaket Room, now through the end of February.
Special thanks to the OES 5th grade teachers, art and cumputer lab teachers, for their work with the students bringing local history into the school.

Look for this year's project "150 Years from Train to Trail" celebrating the historic Cape Cod Railroad and modern day bike trail.



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 for the 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.



War of 1812War of 1812 in Orleans - The Battle of Rock Harbor

The short battle between British marines and Orleans militia on 19 December 1814, has been called "The Battle of Orleans". The British intended to burn boats, destroy salt works, and bomb the town. One barge, under Lieutenant Frederick Marryat with 22 men and marines, led the way to the mouth of Rock Harbor Creek...

Lt. Marryat’s plans of revenge were interrupted before causing too much damage by a large group of armed militia who lay down heavy fire.


Visit our War of 1812, Battle of Rock Harbor webpage >>


Watch our 5 minute video about the Battle of Rock Harbor >>

Ransom Request poster

Click to view larger

War of 1812 - "Ransom Request" Posters

Printed from the original ransom note sent to Orleans Selectmen, September 1814, by Rich. Raggot Captain, His Britannick Majesty’s Ship, Spencer, Senior Officer in Boston Bay.
(Poster image - 9” x 15”)
Available beautifully matted and framed by Artworks! $150
Unframed poster only $10
For ordering call 508-240-1329, or email orleanshs@verizon.net

Framing options

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.




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 > >


Cape and Islands Historical Association

Museums, Historical Societies and Libraries of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Learn more > >



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Image Reproduction Fee Schedule

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