Museum OPEN hours Tuesdays and Wednesdays
9:00 - noon and 1:00 - 5:00 or by appointment
Please call ahead for archival
What's the Big Idea? Check out our Heritage Center Presentation HERE!
The legacy of the famed CG36500 lifeboat continues beyond movie theaters showing Disney's The Finest Hours
U. 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 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 >>
Catering to Locals event supports OHS
Gail Nessell Colglazier Joins OHS as Executive Director
We are pleased to welcome our new Executive Director,
Gail Nessell Colglazier, who has just joined us. She brings some 19 years of museum leadership experience, including 14 as director of local historical societies and historic sites. In addition, she has served as President of the New England Museum Association (NEMA) and has worked in key roles at other history and arts organizations at the state and national levels. She and her husband are in the process of moving back to her family’s home in Orleans. In making the announcement, Board Chair Mark Carron also thanked Tamsen Cornell, former OHS Museum Director, for her years of service and many contributions to the growth of OHS. Tamsen decided to leave the organization in November to pursue other interests.
Orleans Historical Society
Meeting House Museum
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
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.
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.
is an exciting web collection of vintage images of Orleans; teams, class pics and more!
View Sam's Scrapbook > >
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
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 > >
Image Reproduction Fee Schedule
Permission to Reproduce
Meetinghouse Museum facility rental
Cape & Islands
Vacation Home Rentals