Natick Days Trivia Quiz!

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Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table at Natick Days last weekend, especially to those of you who took the Natick Historical Trivia Quiz challenge! Congratulations to Mike Linehan, who won the drawing for a free copy of one of our historical maps. See the answers to the trivia questions below:

1. Where was the Worcester Turnpike?
A: Present-day Route 9

2. What stands on the site of the Natick Drive-In?
A: Cloverleaf Mall, mostly (and part of the Hampton Inn)

3. What man, son of a Natick Indian mother, was one of the first casualties of the American Revolution?
A: Crispus Attucks, who was killed in the Boston Massacre

4. How did Natick get its nickname "Home of Champions"?
A: From the Natick Union Hook & Ladder Co's 1891 victory in a "world championship" among fire companies in a series of contests, including hooking up hoses and erecting ladders*

5. What author made Natick famous with the book "Oldtown Folks"?
A: Harriet Beecher Stowe

BONUS QUESTION: What year did Natick's now-famous July 4 parade begin?
A: 1955

*Learn more about the history of the Natick Fire Department at our fall event on Oct. 30th!

Welcome to NHS, Abbie Sandoval-Fócil!

The Natick Historical Society is pleased to welcome Abbie Sandoval-Fócil, who joined us as the Society's Museum Assistant in June. 

Abbie has a background in collections and archives management, with curatorial experience at Harvard's Mineralogical & Geological Museum. She received her MA in Library and Information Science at Simmons University with a concentration in Cultural Heritage Informatics, and her BA in the History of Art from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. 

In addition to supporting NHS programming, Abbie will concentrate on exhibit development and collections care. Welcome, Abbie! 


Edward Rodino is the 2019 Natick Historical Society Scholarship Recipient

Congratulations to Edward Rodino, recipient of this year’s Natick Historical Society Scholarship and a graduate of Natick High School class of 2019. At Natick High School, Rodino was deeply involved in varsity athletics and ROTC. He also served as Vice President of the Key Club and led multiple community service events. Teachers describe Edward as “passionate” about history. Edward plans to major in history at Stonehill College in the fall of 2019. Good luck, Edward!

Edward Rodino is the fourth recipient of the Natick Historical Society Scholarship Award, which was established in 2016.


Play Ball! Channel 5's Chronicle Features Natick's Baseball History

On April 2, 2019, Natick and the birthplace of the modern baseball were featured in an episode of “Chronicle” on WCVB Channel 5. Natick Historical Society director Niki Lefebvre tells the story and shows off some baseball artifacts in the Natick History Museum. To see the feature, CLICK HERE.

The artifacts pictured in the feature are currently on display at the Natick History Museum.

Remembering Bancroft "Bats" Wheeler

We are saddened to announce the passing of Natick Historical Society board member Bancroft “Bats” Wheeler on March 21. Bats joined the NHS board in 2012 and served as its treasurer from 2012 to earlier this year. As treasurer, he led the effort to ensure a sound financial footing for the Society, and as a member of the board, he was a thoughtful and certain voice guiding the organization.

In addition to his contributions to the Historical Society, Bats was active in Natick, serving on the Advisory Board of Broadmoor, Massachusetts Audubon’s wildlife sanctuary, and as a Town Meeting member and a member of Natick’s Open Space Advisory Committee.

A memorial service will be held in the Eliot Church of Natick on Friday, April 12 at 2:00 PM, followed by a reception at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society at Elm Bank. In lieu of flowers, Bats’ family has asked that donations be made to the Natick Historical Society, Metrowest Legal Services, or Broadmoor.

A complete rememberance can be viewed here.


Natick Historical Society Receives Grant from MutualOne Charitable Foundation

The Natick Historical Society has received a grant of $5,000 from the MutualOne Charitable Foundation to revise, deliver, evaluate, and expand the reach of its field-trip program for third-grade students. The new program, On this Land: Algonquian and English People in Early Natick, will give students the opportunity to learn about how different people lived in the local area in the century before and after the town’s founding in 1651.

“Much like present-day New England, early Natick was home to many different people with many different experiences,” said Niki Lefebvre, Director of the Natick Historical Society. “By learning about the different languages spoken, the variations in how Algonquian and English people used the Charles River, and their differing burial practices, students will be able to see that there was more than one way to live in early New England.”

On this Land will be offered annually to all third-grade students in Natick public schools at no cost to the town. In 2020, the Natick Historical Society will begin offering the field trip for a fee to private schools, summer camps, scouting troops, and other youth organizations.


Weekend of Celebration at Natick History Museum

Nearly 300 people celebrated the reopening of the Natick History Museum this weekend. We have been working since November 2017 to restore the 1880 museum, located at 58 Eliot Street, and we are thrilled to welcome the community back into the transformed space.

Member reception: View the photo gallery →

Open house: View the photo gallery→

Members and friends of the Society attended a special reception on Saturday, October 20, to preview the renovated museum and two new exhibits: Across the Centuries: Looking at Local Objects and Your Dream House: At Home in Postwar Natick.

On Sunday, October 21, more than 150 people visited the museum’s public opening, held in conjunction with Natick Artists Open Studios. Embroidery artist Mary Burke and basket weaver Ron Michael demonstrated their crafts to the delight of all visitors. Young children played with the blocks, books, and dollhouse in the Children’s Corner and many enjoyed trying a circa-1930 typewriter and casting their votes in a 1905 Natick ballot box.

We would like to thank members of the Natick Historical Society for making possible our museum’s transformation!

Natick History Museum Hosts “Active Collections” Workshop


On October 3, staff and volunteers from more than 20 New England history museums filled the Natick History Museum for a half-day workshop, “Developing Active Collections at Your Museum,” with independent curator and author Rainey Tisdale. The workshop was the first public event to be held in the newly restored Natick History Museum, which will reopen on October 21.

Tisdale is a co-founder of the influential Active Collections movement, which advocates for leaner, more focused collections at small history museums. The movement urges practical reforms to museum practice, including easing the process of inter-institutional loans, streamlining the deaccessioning of objects lacking provenance or educational value, and assigning collections objects to “tiers” according to their usefulness in sharing important local stories with museum audiences.

“Artifacts are a deeply powerful way to connect with the past,” writes Tisdale, who directed the Old State House Museum for eight years and taught in the Tufts University museum studies program. “But some objects support our missions better than others—not based on monetary value or rarity, but based on the stories they tell and the ideas they illuminate. The ones that provide the most public value should get the largest share of our time and resources.”

Attendees at the October 3 event included curators and directors of small history museums and historical societies throughout Massachusetts and from Connecticut and Maine. Framingham History Center director Annie Murphy called the workshop “fantastic,” adding “I’m going to get [Tisdale’s] book and make it required reading among staff.”

Rainey Tisdale is co-author, with Linda Norris, of Creativity in Museum Practice (2013) and co-editor of Active Collections (2017). For more about the Active Collections movement, please visit

Miniature Home Is a Centerpiece of Upcoming Exhibit at Natick History Museum

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Gene Martin works on a miniature replica of the Victorian farm house where his wife, Janet, grew up on Cottage Street in Natick. In the background is Martin’s miniature replica of the home he and Janet built in 1955 to raise their three children. The 1955 replica is on display in the Natick History Museum.

The Metrowest Daily News reported on the miniature house at the center of our new exhibit, Your Dream House: At Home in Postwar Natick, at the Natick History Museum.
Read the article here