About Us

The Franklin Historical Museum, located at 80 West Central Street, is run and managed by the Franklin Historical Commission and a team of dedicated volunteers. The museum is open Saturday mornings, Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings. We have permanent exhibits and a series of revolving exhibits throughout the year. See ‘Calendar of Events’

The Franklin Historical Museum was founded in 1972 and is devoted to the collection and preservation of the history of Franklin, MA.  In May of 2010 we moved into our new building at 80 West Central Street, the former Senior Center and originally the first Town Hall. The museum includes a collection of roughly 4000 artifacts including projectile points used by the Native North Americans that inhabited this region hundreds of years ago, wedding dresses used by Franklin residents from as long ago as 1893, a tribute to Horace Mann, a Veteran’s display, pictures and items from Franklin’s many schools over the years, and hundreds of other historical items from the last 300 years, all vital to the study of Franklin history. In addition to our collections, we also have several research projects ongoing including: identifying veterans from our vast library of veteran photographs, posting the Civil War veterans research by Franklin High School students, transcription of the 19th century <a href=”www.wadsworthdiaries.com”>Wadsworth Diaries</a>, and Mary Wiggin’s diary.
The museum is open to the public, handicap accessible and free of charge.

Franklin Historical Commission members:
Mary Olsson – Chairperson
Bob Percy – Clerk
Connie Lawson
Colette Ferguson
Phyllis Messere  – Treasurer
Richard Remillard

24 Comments

  1. In reference to education/historical presentations.
    Whom is the current contact to present and seek permission for activities such as these.
    I have a college that does first person Benjamin Franklin the scientist displays geared to younger audiences. The state has done no 150th civil war ceremonies as yet or scheduled; could Franklin take the lead wit ha Living History Camp for education on the common near the monument to the civil war?

  2. Wondering if the historical museum staff would like historian & local college professor (BSU, Stonehill), Gary Hylander to speak on civil war, Lincoln, Ben Franklin, etc…..I know he would love to come speak. Please email me either way. Usually a 90 minute talk on each topic.
    Thanks.
    Bob (Franklin resident)

    • I have had Gary Hylander speak where I worked with elderly residents. I highly recommend his talks on civil war, etc. etc. He is one of the best when it comes to history!

  3. I am the author of the historical novel, “The Rising at Roxbury Crossing,” which centers on the Irish Rebellion (1919-1921) and the Boston Police Strike of 1919. I earned a graduate degree in writing from Harvard Univ. and have spoken at the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Irish Cultural Center, and the Union Club of Boston. Please write if you are interested in a presentation.

    • Hello James, thank you for your interest. From time to time we look for new presentation topics that might be of interest to our area residents. At this time we are not adding to our calendar for this year, but will keep you in mind for the future. Thank you again. Mary Olsson, Commission Member

    • Kevin, the information about Birch Knoll in Franklin is very interesting. I would like to do some research to find out where the home was located. Would you mind if we posted the link with the photographs? Possibly someone visiting this site could shed some light.

    • Hello again. As far as I know, the home does not still exist, which is a shame. I have not been able to determine it’s former address. I checked two residence directories, and could not find a listing for either Wilkerson or Rathbun in either the 1905 or the 1893 books. I did find the following …
      ‘Rathburn, E.H. Supt. Ray’s Mill h.rooms 9 and 10 A B
      John, boss carder, h. Beaver’
      So was E.H. Rathburn a superintendent at the Ray Mill, making his home (h.) in rooms 9 and 10? The entry indicates a John Rathburn had a home (h.) on Beaver Street.
      Edward Harris Rathbun (Rathburn) was the husband of H.L. Wilkerson’s daughter, but that doesn’t get us any closer to the location of the house. I’m still looking.

  4. A well-intentioned person has donated to us (in NH) a copy of “Picturesque Franklin 1891″ which is about your town, not our city. Do you have an interest in this book? And if so, how would I get it to you?

    • Hello Leigh, thank you for contacting us. We would be very pleased to accept the book. Please send to my address, Mary Olsson, 149 W. Central St. Franklin MA 02038. I’m anxious to see if it is something we already have or something new to add to our museum. The title, ‘Picturesque Franklin 1891′ doesn’t sound familiar, so I’m hoping it is full of a whole new set of views of our town during that time. Thank you for thinking of us. M.Olsson

    • Hi Leigh, we’d love to accept the book. Let me know if you received my email. M.Olsson

  5. Sarah Jane Gilbert

    Hello, I was asked by a friend who is moving from the area to find a home for an commemorative plate of Franklin history she would like to donate. Is this something you would be interested in taking a look at to see if it is appropriate for your collection? Please let me know, thank you in advance for your time.

  6. I UNDERSTAND YOU ARE DOING A STATUE OF HORACE MANN HE WAS MY GREAT GTREAT GRANDFATHER I WAS BORN AND BROUGHT UP IN FRANKLIN CLASS OF 1953 MY GRANDAUGHTER IS GRADUATING FROM WESTFIELD MA U NEXT YEAR IT WAS FOUNDED BY HORACE MANN I TALKED TO BETTY RANIERI SHE THOUGHT MASYBE YOU MIGHT MORE INFORMATION ON HIM IF I CAN HELP PLEASE LET ME KNOW I HAVE DONE HIS FAMILY FROM PARENTS DOWN TO PRESENT

    • Hello Joyce, so happy to hear from you. A private email was sent to you. We look forward to meeting with you. Mary O./Commission Co-chair

  7. Hi Mary,
    I was wondering if you have any volunteer slots or internships available for the summer of 2016. I’m majoring in History and concentrating in the Civil War. I’d like to do some local research on the subject. James C. Johnston can give me an excellent reference. I’m passionate about history and music. If you’re interested I can send you a resumé.

    sincerely,
    Eric Nyberg.

    p.s.: please tell Kai I say hi. He knows me from Guitar Center.

    • Hi Eric, sorry for the delay in responding to your inquiry, I’m not sure why it wasn’t showing up.
      We do not have internship programs per se, but if you are interested in volunteering, let me know.
      Mary

  8. I am researching venues for my Bi-State Founders’ Day teacher event on Saturday, October 14, 2017, from 8am to 1pm. We need to include a continental breakfast, tables and chairs for a workshop and sit down lunch, podium and mic system and display tables.
    How fitting a site for a teacher conference! Please, let me know if the museum is appropriate for our needs. Thank you.

  9. Mary Carney-Philips

    Hi, I’m planning to go for my Master’s in Library and Information Science, with an Archives Concentration. I am a Franklin resident and would like to volunteer with this in mind; during school weekday hours if available. Thank you!

    • Mary, can you stop by the museum to discuss your interest in volunteering? I’d be very happy to talk with you. Mary Olsson, chairperson

  10. Karlynn Carlson

    I’m looking for anyone who remembers Forest Acres Equestrian Center run by a Mrs Summerby, around the early 1970’s. I went there when I was 12 and 13 and only remember taking King St Franklin exit off of 495, so assume it was in Franklin. I still have the canvas gear bag with their logo so know that it did exist. I can find no info so far and no longer live in the area. I’m wondering what happened to it and its history.

    • Hello Karlynn, there is a FB page called ‘You grew up in Franklin if you remember …’ I asked about Forest Acres. It was located on Forest Street, off of King Street, so you remembered the correct exit. Many people remember taking lessons there in the early 70s and was run by Col. Sommerby. I know it’s not much more than the info than you mentioned, but many people do remember their time there fondly.

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