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A Land Called Nawsett

A Land Called Nawsett

A virtual tour of the current 2020-2021 exhibition at the CHO (The Centers for History and Culture in Orleans), formerly the Orleans Historical Society at the Meetinghouse in Orleans, MA. This exhibition has been organized to honor the Native Americans, the first European settlers, the founding families and the early settlements of the Outer Cape in the 1600s. It continues the Pilgrim story of migration from Plymouth to Outer Cape Cod, then called “Nawsett” (today’s Nauset), and describes the lives of the first generations of families that settled here. Our presentation begins with the region’s Native American tribes and their initial encounters--peaceful and not--with early European explorers and then the Pilgrims on the Mayflower. Next we recount the expeditions launched from Plymouth to Nauset to find more fertile land to expand and sustain the colony. Finding that the Outer Cape offered better prospects, at least for some, the Plymouth Colony Court in 1644 gave land grants to each of seven families to settle the area that today includes parts of Orleans and Wellfleet, and all of Eastham. We explore the backgrounds of these founding families, and the imprint their first and second generations left on our history. In our final section, the everyday lives of the founding families are recounted, including their homes, clothing, diet and customs. Some practices will seem strange to us today, while others (such as children’s games) will sound quite familiar. Until we can re-open the Meetinghouse Museum under state COVID-19 guidelines, this virtual tour of the exhibition will be presented to you in this 400th anniversary year of the Pilgrims’ landing in Provincetown and then Plymouth. Please come back and see us, and bring your other family members and friends, to fully experience the exhibition and displays in person.
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