About Us

Located at 66 Church Green in Taunton, Massachusetts, the Old Colony History Museum is home to an extensive collection of regional objects and archives and a research library specializing in local history and genealogy. It’s parent organization, the Old Colony Historical Society, was founded on May 4, 1853, making it one of New England’s oldest historical societies.

We are open year-round Tuesday-Saturday, 10-4, and offer many exciting exhibitions, activities, programs, research opportunities and, most importantly, an inspiring setting for visitors from around the block and around the world.

Mostly, we are about sharing our history with our community and look forward to showing you around sometime soon.

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What is the Old Colony History Museum?

The mission of the Old Colony History Museum is twofold:
First, to collect, preserve and exhibit the history of the region of southeastern Massachusetts once known as the Old Colony. Second, through a vigorous program of outreach and education, we aspire to interpret the area’s history in ways that are accessible, inclusive and meaningful to local residents and visitors.
The term “Old Colony” refers to that area of southeastern Massachusetts that was once contained within the Plymouth Colony. Home to humans for at least 10,000 years before Europeans settled the area in 1620, the land today encompasses Plymouth, Bristol and Barnstable counties. Bounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean, the Old Colony was richly endowed with well-protected harbors and a river system that made trading, and later industry, profitable. The Old Colony existed as a separate entity until its merger with the larger Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.
The building which now houses the Old Colony History Museum was once the home of a school called the Bristol Academy. The first classes met on Church Green in a small wooden building, but by the mid-1840s it became clear to the Academy’s trustees that a new building was needed. The Building Committee made the decision to hire Richard Upjohn, designer of the Trinity Church in New York, and the premier architect of his day, to create their new school.

Completed in 1852, the new building at 66 Church Green housed the Bristol Academy first as a private secondary school and later as a kindergarten. In the early part of the twentieth century, the Academy suffered due to competition from the public schools, and eventually ceased operations. In 1926, the Old Colony Historical Society moved into the building which is now home to the Old Colony History Museum and the organization’s extensive archive and library collections.

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  • Our object collection contains more than 13,000 unique items
  • Our Archives & Library specialize in Southeastern Mass prior to 1850
  • We’re a great destination for school and group visits

Here’s the good stuff! Some of our recent events are featured below.

Liberty & Union Trail

Elementary School Field Trip

Girl Scouts Outreach Program

Liberty and Union Weekend