About the Society

General Information

The Townsend Historical Society can trace its roots back to 1896 when townspeople recognized the important and interesting history of the area. Realizing the world they knew was changing rapidly, they sought to preserve artifacts, art, architecture and memories that make our town unique. After receiving a charter from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the membership went to work amassing artifacts and documenting sites of importance. Their first project completed involved erecting a granite monument at the site of the first schoolhouse. The granite memorial still stands as a reminder of our early activities.

We are proud to have been preserving history for more than a century. The organization became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 1971. A year later, we broadened our mission to include the preservation of important buildings. We purchased our museum, the Reed Homestead, in 1972, and were later deeded the Spaulding Grist Mill and Cooperage.. We were fortunate enough to have been gifted the Copeland Cooper Shop, followed by the Townsend Harbor Church, by generous individuals. The Society is entirely supported by our membership and run by dedicated volunteers who are enthusiastic about sharing our local history. We encourage you to join our organization and help us continue efforts started by others long ago.

Day-to-day operations at the Society are busy and exciting as we lead the discussion on history. Our collections of books, town records, artifacts, and one-of-a-kind photographs preserved in our vault, as well as our digital files, provide key resources to families seeking help with genealogical research. Thanks to the efforts of generations of volunteers, we can provide visitors the rare opportunity of interacting with the actual places and pieces of history that make up Townsend’s exciting past!

We strive to expand interest in our history by generating new content all the time, both for those who are interested in up-to-the-minute updates through our social media platforms and for those who prefer a good old-fashioned paper newsletter. Through these, we’re able to highlight neat pieces from our collections. We can also reach out and let people know about ongoing projects as we expand and craft new exhibits, and discuss upcoming events like our popular fall Arts and Crafts Fair, exhibiting the handmade work of dozens of local artisans.

Engaging with our community is one of the Society’s fundamental goals. We’re able to do this through reenactments and other living history events, classroom presentations and school field trips, and by hosting professional speakers on a wide array of topics at town events like our Annual Meeting and Potluck Supper. Connecting with locals and visitors alike and working together to learn more about how our town’s history is significant, relevant, and fun is a perfect opportunity for us to get people excited about helping to preserve it; we hope you’ll join us!

Board of Directors

The Townsend Historical Society is governed by an eleven member Board of Directors who are elected by the membership for two year terms.

President: Ryan D. Hayward
Vice President: Kara Fossey
Treasurer: Dana Blanchard
Assistant Treasurer: Sharon LaCasse
Secretary: Kara Fossey (Interim)


Lee McTighe
Janet Johnson
Sandra J. Tuttle
Clare Kauppi
Kathy Spofford

Our Vision:

Guided by the belief in the enduring value of local history, the vision of the Townsend Historical Society is to cultivate and encourage interest in the history of Townsend, Massachusetts

Our Mission:

To implement our vision, the Townsend Historical Society views the following as priority:
– Collect and preserve historical artifacts, archives, photographs, and ephemera, publications, manuscripts, anecdotes and legends for Townsend;
– Encourage reserach into local history and provide scholars access to our materials;
– Share Townsend’s history with the public;
– Own, maintain and preserve property of historic value and make such property publicly accessible;
– Advocate for the preservation of Townsend’s heritage.

About this Website:

This website was created in February, 2020 and last updated in August, 2022. For questions, comments or recommendations, please email our webmaster using the form on our contact us page.