Acknowledgements from the Museum Curator
Martha Oaks, Curator at the Cape Ann Museum
As we look forward to 2023 and the 400th anniversary of the first English settlement on Cape Ann, the Cape Ann Museum is pleased to present Unfolding Histories, a special exhibition spotlighting archival materials from the Museum’s own collection and from those of eight sister organizations in the immediate area. It is hoped that the exhibition, the catalog and the educational programming that accompanies them will enhance the public’s awareness of the importance of archival materials and the organizations that care for them.
From the start, exhibition planners realized that getting people excited about fragile scraps of paper and hard-to-read handwriting would be no easy task. Thus the planners decided to organize the exhibition around broad themes that would catch people’s attention and reinforce the idea that the history of Cape Ann is the history of America. Ten themes were selected: African American history, charity and welfare, education, religion, women’s history, Native American history, literary imagination, wartime, transportation and temperance. Those who helped during this important early phase of the project include Lise Breen, Kimberlee Cloutier-Blazzard, Mary Rhinelander McCarl, Pippy Giuliano, Sarah Dunlap, Mary Ellen Lepionka, David Rich and Kurt Wilhelm.
The Cape Ann Museum is indebted to Dr. Molly O’Hagan Hardy, Director for Digital and Book History Initiatives at the American Antiquarian Society and the guest curator of Unfolding Histories. Molly’s leadership, scholarship and conviviality assured the success of this project. The Museum also acknowledges Peggy Calkins, lead researcher for the project, and the following individuals from the eight organizations whose archival materials are featured in the exhibition: Ingrid Brown and Gwen Stephenson at the Sandy Bay Historical Society and Museums; Holly Clay-Smith at the Annisquam Historical Society; Amanda Hurd at the Sargent House Museum; Christina J. St. Pierre and Anna Siedzik with the Town of Essex, Office of the Town Clerk; Katelynn Vance, archivist for the City of Gloucester and the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library; Beth Welin at the Manchester Historical Museum; and Jim Witham and Kurt Wilhelm at the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum. The Cape Ann Museum thanks the American Antiquarian Society for providing the images from Specimen of Printing Types from the New England Type Foundry (Boston: Dutton and Wentworth, 1834).
Finally, the Cape Ann Museum thanks its dear friend Steve Rosenthal, who never hesitates for a second when asked to help with a project such as this one.