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Summer in Orleans

Originally published in the Cape Cod Chronicle

June has come and so has summer! Everything on the Cape is waking up, including OHS.

We have finished unpacking after the construction over the winter, which continued through the spring as construction is want to do. We have put 3 exhibits back up- lifesaving, the Pendleton rescue, and our collection of Orleans souvenir china. We are putting the final touches on the main summer 2018 exhibit on the German submarine attack on Orleans on July 21, 1918. It should be open open in a week. In the meantime, the art work and interpretive essays on the attack by the Orleans Elementary School 5th graders are on display- they’re wonderful in their creativity! We are trying to find a place to continue to display them for the summer, although on July 28th, professional artwork will be taking over half of the Meetinghouse when we present with the Addison Gallery the art exhibit Outermost Inspirations—featuring artwork by the gallery’s artists inspired by Beston’s book which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. Visit our website for all events associated with its opening.

Saturday June 16th is our annual antique show- and it is returning to the Meetinghouse property. More than 30 dealers from near and far help make this one of the premier antique shows on the Cape. Featured will be nautical items, scrimshaw, country furniture and smalls, stoneware, antique and pre-loved books, vintage glassware and pottery, early lamps, paintings and much more. There is always a wonderful find to take home!

Last week Bonnie Snow had her first historic Orleans walk down Main Street. These continue throughout the summer on the second and fourth Fridays of the month at 10am. The second Friday is Main Street and the fourth Friday is the cemetery.

On Thursday June 28th our summer lecture series begins with local artist Howard Bonington talking about aviation on Cape Cod. Combining his pen and ink drawings of the airplanes with stories about what they did should be exciting. After that we have lectures every other Thursday evening and we’ve chosen a variety of local history for you this summer: William Pynchon and the first book banned in Massachusetts, the Outermost House, whaling, the history of Route 6, and recent maritime archaeological discoveries, including updates on research on the Sparrowhawk—is it the same boat that brought Irish farmers to Jamestown but instead wrecked on Nauset Beach in 1626? So visit our website for full details.

We are also partnering with two local organizations to bring history to you in a different way. On June 27, 2018 at 6:00 pm at Snow Library, with Snow Library, we are presenting “ The Diseased Ship, Sea Serpent & The Destroying Angel: Uncovering Cape Cod’s Connections to the Slave Trade.” And with the Eastham Historical Society, on August 8th at the Schoolhouse Museum in Eastham, Todd Morgan Kelley and Wampanoag/Nipmuc Marcus Hendricks will lead a poignant discussion about the people of Cape Cod and the American Dream of Liberty.

So much happening this summer! The anniversary week of the German submarine attack has lectures, music, and other events. And the Girl from Quanset musical is returning this summer! Originally written for and performed by the girls at Camp Quanset in 1908, it includes campers, local salty dogs, the Life Savers from the Orleans Station, an English Duke, and pirates! Exciting! And we will be closing out the summer and prepare for fall and Halloween with the Gravestone Girls on Thursday September 13 at 7 pm. They will be a presentation on the history of the Orleans Cemetery that focuses more on the art and history of the gravestones (Bonnie’s walk focuses on the stories of who is buried there)

We have plenty coming up this summer! I encourage you to check our website for more details and updates (, follow us on Facebook, and become a member. And we’re also looking for volunteers if you or a summer visitor have extra time! This is going to be a great summer in Orleans and at the Historical Society!

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