Public Parking - Downtown Chatham

National Trust for Historic Preservation - 2007 Destinctive Destination

Museums in Chatham, Cape Cod



Caleb Nickerson House

Chatham's Caleb Nickerson Homestead, on the Nickerson Family Association property at 1107 Orleans Road (Route 28) is open for tours every Wednesday and most Saturdays from 10:00am to 2:00pm June  through September and during Hands On History special events throughout the year.  Donations are accepted. Caleb Nickerson, great, great grandson of William, the founder of the town of Chatham, and his wife Elizabeth Mayo built their home on Stage Neck Road in 1772. The house stood on a bluff over looking the Oyster River for 230 years. In 2003 the house made a journey by land and sea to its present location. This pristine home of an American Revolutionary War veteran features three working fireplaces including a beehive oven and original iron cranes, period woodwork and random width wide pine floors. Experience colonial life in this restored antique cape resting on the original homestead land, within a few yard of the cabin site of the founder of Chatham.


Experience Colonial life in an antique full cape, featuring a beehive oven, period woodwork and a Colonial kitchen vegetable and herb garden. Stop by and check the progress on the construction of our post and beam outhouse and see what is growing and ready to pick in Caleb’s kitchen garden. Donations welcomed. For more information call (508) 945-6086 or visit .

Caleb Nickerson, a 7th generation descendant of William Nickerson, and his wife Priscilla Eldredge owned this home on Stage Neck Road in the early 1800s. The house stood on a bluff overlooking the Oyster River for almost 2 centuries until, in 2003, the house made a journey by land and sea to its present location. This pristine home features three working fireplaces including a beehive oven and original iron cranes, period woodwork and random width wide pine floors. Come and experience Colonial life in this restored antique cape which now rests on the original homestead land, a few yards from the cabin site of William Nickerson, founder of Chatham. 

Chatham's Old Grist Mill

The Mill is located near Chase Park, off Shattuck place, just a short walk from the downtown Main Street. Built by Colonel Benjamin Godfrey in 1797, the Mill remains almost exactly as it was when it was grinding corn for early Chatham residents. It is a prime example of a post-Revolutionary War commercial venture that served the community for more than one-hundred years.

The Mill originally located overlooking Mill Pond was donated to the Town of Chatham by Mr. and Mrs. Stuart Crocker and moved to its present location in 1956. The Mill was restored for the 300th anniversary of the Town of Chatham in 2012. Today thousands of visitors visit the Mill during the summer season and walk in the steps of many who used the Mill to supply them with corn meal and local gossip. Learn the variety of common phrases that started at the grist mills.

The Mill will be open for History Weekend, June 17 and 18. Weather permitting the Mill will be grinding corn on June 20th.

The Mill will open for the season June 27th through September 2nd from Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:00am -3:00pm. Closed July 4th . Tours may be cancelled due to rain or severe weather conditions.

During the Creative Arts Festival August 19th thru 21st from 11:00am – 3:00pm and will be operating grinding corn (weather permitting) on Saturday, August 20th.

Throughout the season a variety of activities related to the Mill will be available for children and adults.  Please visit us at:

Chatham Marconi Maritime Center 


The Chatham Marconi Maritime Center ( this year will commemorate the 95th anniversary of Chatham Radio, which was operated by Radio Corporation of America (RCA) under the call letters WCC, and during most of the 20th Century was the busiest ship-to-shore station on the East Coast.

The 2016 season will feature new and refreshed exhibits in the three galleries of the Center, all located on the Ryder’s Cove campus at 847 Orleans Road (Route 28) in North Chatham.
The heart of Chatham Radio’s activities occurred in the Operations Building, now housing the Marconi-RCA Wireless Museum and the History gallery which highlights the story of wireless communications from Marconi’s early days to the late 20th Century. A unique addition is the popular Enigma Cipher Machine exhibit detailing the secret work done here during World War II.
Wireless today and into the future is the theme for the exhibit gallery in the Education Center (once the Hotel Nautilus). New exhibits encompass wireless technology behind the digital age, modern travel and cyberattacks, joining ones on tracking white sharks and ships at sea.

The third gallery has no walls or ceiling or traditional flooring and is the one gallery truly open year round. This is the Antenna Field Trail behind the Operations Building, a winding path through the flora and fauna of Cape Cod with interpretive signs identifying and describing the station’s antennas. Some of the antennas are original, some replicas of those which had been used by WCC, and some of them are in operation today for communication with ham-radio operators around the world.
In addition to relaying all types of commercial and personal messages to ships around the world, WCC provided communications to aviator pioneers including Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes.

Chatham Radio played a significant role in defeating the Germans during the World War II Battle of the Atlantic by intercepting Enigma-encrypted wireless messages between German headquarters and its ships at sea. “Station C”, as it was called, passed these intercepts on to Washington, DC for decoding. In addition, as the control station for the east-coast direction-finding network, Station C directed the search for telltale radio signals that allowed enemy vessels to be located and tracked.
Interactive exhibits (such as one teaching basic Morse code and another with working Enigma simulators), highlight videos of Marconi’s life, the role of WCC in world events, the ship-to-shore communication process with the actual shipboard radio from the hospital ship SS Hope, artifacts from important periods in WCC’s history and the opportunity for visitors to view our preserved 1914 station campus.

The Center, which is open one weekend each month off-season, opens its regular 2016 Summer season on Chatham History Weekend, June 17-19. For specific days and hours of operation, please check or call the Center at 508-945-8889.

Mayo House

Just east of the Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank building on Main Street is the Mayo House, which is an excellent example of a traditional Cape Cod house built in 1820. This antique home serves as headquarters for the Chatham Conservation Foundation, and is used by the group for its regular meetings. The Mayo House, beautifully preserved and restored, was donated to the foundation by the Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank. It is furnished with period furniture and is open to the publicthree days a week from 1:00pm to 3:00pm during the summer months. 


Old Atwood House Museum


The Atwood House Museum at 347 Stage Harbor Road is owned and run by the Chatham Historical Society. The original part of the museum is a house built in the 1750’s by Captain Joseph Atwood when he was a subject of George II of England. Because the old house was occupied by the Atwood family until 1923 and acquired by the Historical Society in 1925, it has remained unchanged since the time it was built. It therefore provides an excellent view into the way of life during the 18th and 19th centuries in New England.

To house the Historical Society collections, several wings have been added to the original structure, with the latest expansion occurring between 2003 and 2005, Today there are eight spacious galleries housing art, artifacts, and decorative arts portraying life on Cape Cod since the 17th century. Illustrating Chatham’s seagoing experience, there is a portrait gallery of notable sea captains of the 19th century and a maritime gallery featuring paintings of Chatham ships, as well as nautical equipment. One of the highlights of the museum is the mural barn that houses the nationally known portraits of 130 townspeople painted by Alice Stallknecht between 1932 and 1945. Capturing the life and struggles of town residents during that period, a guide relates many fascinating stories about those portrayed. One of the newest galleries is devoted to the history of fishing in the Chatham area and traces the evolution of the fishing industry on Cape Cod through objects, paintings, and photographs. Of special interest to many are the cranberry growing, salt works, and other trades. Also on the grounds is the Nickerson North Beach Camp built in 1947 that was moved, with all of the contents intact, to save it from being washed into the sea as the beach eroded, and the working lighthouse lantern room, of one of Chatham’s last twin lights, with its original Fresnel lens.

Hundreds of interesting antiques are displayed in the 17 display rooms, providing something for all art lovers, history buffs, students, and lovers of Chatham and Cape Cod, no matter what their age. Although a complete visit requires about two hours, those with less time can enjoy selected sections of the museum. There is also a book and gift shop, stocked with items relating to the museums’ collections.

As stewards of the region’s history and culture, the Chatham Historical Society strives to educate, inform and enlighten the public, and bring enthusiasm to the Cape Cod Community. The Atwood House Museum exhibits are open from June to October. The research library and special programs are available year round. For schedules and information, visit the museum website at or call 508-945-2493.

Railroad Museum

The Chatham Railroad Museum is located in the old Chatham Railroad Company station on Depot Road, and has parking space at the door. The building is now over 100 years old and on the original site. It served the Town for over fifty years from 1887 to 1937. In 1951, Mrs. Jacob Cox of Cleveland, Ohio and Chatham purchased the structure and land as a gift to our town. It was restored as a country depot and a museum in 1960.

The Chatham Railroad Museum opens Tuesday thru Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm mid-June through mid September.   It is manned by an experienced group of volunteers from all Cape Cod. There have been over 100,000 visitors since the first season. It grows in size each year. The exhibits, starting with a relic of the first commercial railroad in the U.S. in 1826, include hundreds of factors of historical significance in the railroad field, plus models and objects which never fail to interest the visitors.

The 100-year old caboose of olden days, the gift of the New York Central System, has been fully restored and is open for all to enjoy the sounds of the rails. Young and old will enjoy the trip through this Home on Wheels of the railroad train crews. The diorama of the Chatham yards of about 1915 modeled in a scale of 1/8 inch to the foot is a new acquisition - a must see exhibit. Museum can be opened after season closing for groups by special arrangements. Donations are accepted. Handicapped accessible.

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