Current Exhibits

Balch Family History Through Time and Trash


Have you heard the expression, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure”? Balch Family History Through Time and Trash is a presentation of the treasures found in the trash of the Balch family. Launched to celebrate Massachusetts Archaeology Month, this new online exhibit explores the 1998 excavation performed at the Balch House. Through items found during the dig, the history of the family can be explored to determine who was living on the premises, what they were using, when they were using it, and how they were obtaining it.


Explore the History

Set at Liberty: Stories of the Enslaved in a New England Town


Remarkably, some of the stories of Beverly’s black population have been preserved and can be found at Historic Beverly. These are stories of citizens, black and white, battling against the unjust system of slavery; of enslaved men fighting for freedom for our nation, though not free themselves; of a woman using the law to emancipate her family; and of the racism that affected the lives of Beverly’s black population, long after they were freed from bondage. This online exhibit presents these accounts using the archives of the Historic Beverly collection.

This exhibit is supported in part by a grant from the Beverly Cultural Council, a local agency that is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

Set at Liberty

In Pictures: The Photgraphy Sensation

New Online Exhibit Coming in April!

With the invention of photography in the late 1830s, it became possible for people of middle-class means to have portraits made of themselves, their families, and their friends.

Over time photographers and subjects alike quickly recognized the collaborative nature of this new art. The photographer determined how to present the subject, choosing what moment to record and how to frame, compose, and print the picture. The subject matter also gained a previously unknown amount of control, determining how much to interact with the photographer and how much of himself or herself to conceal or reveal.

This exhibit examines the various relationships between photographer and subject while exploring how photography transformed over time and how the act of posing for a portrait changed with the evolution of the medium. Featured works come from the early 1840s—just after photography was invented—through the 21st century and showcase various photography mediums including daguerreotypes, tintypes, ambrotypes, cabinet cards, and 35mm photography.

Emerging from Salem's Shadow

After the tumultuous years of the second half of the 17th century, filled as they were with political upheaval, Indian wars, and culminating in the witchcraft crises of 1692, the new century must have seemed to local residents like entering a calm port.Although religion remained an important aspect of colonial life, the power of the church in civic life was on the wane. Beverly’s economy remained focused on maritime trades and agriculture, but new trades emerged during the period. Clockmakers, cabinet makers, silversmiths and other artisans created objects for an emerging well-to-do class. A spirit of change and possibility emerged in the 18th century, with profound consequences for our local community and America.

Ongoing at the Cabot House