Embark on a self-guided tour at your own pace by starting at the Heritage Museums and Gardens of Dorchester County in Cambridge, where you will get a broad introduction to the “work and family” of Dorchester County. This museum campus – home of the Dorchester County Historical Society – includes the Neild Museum, which focuses on the agricultural history of the county, going back to when the first settlers came ashore here. The Robbins Heritage Center explores the Native Americans of the area through artifacts. Canning, Timbering, Marine Trades and Hunting and Trapping are touched upon, placing them in the county’s timeline. The War of 1812 Exhibit features a British encampment with authentically reproduced equipment, clothing and fire arms.
Through the campus’ other historic buildings, you will become acquainted with the families and trades that were commonplace in old Dorchester. The Goldsborough Stable dates from 1790 and introduces the skills and trades that were found on larger farms, including blacksmithing, wheelwrights, saddle makers and more. The Meredith House, circa 1760, presents some Dorchester’s prominent families through artifacts, portraits and documents giving a full interpretation of the people who formed the county. A substantial Civil War Exhibit, “Dorchester Divided,” examines this conflict within the borders of Dorchester County.
Your next stop is the Ruark Boatworks, which is part of the Richardson Maritime Museum, where you can further explore Dorchester’s maritime influence. Docents will describe the artifacts, and boat builders will explain the customs and practices of different sea men and water families in the region.
Continuing on the tour, head to downtown Cambridge for historic homes and sites, including, the old courthouse, a Civil-War era office building, wharf area, cobblestone street and many mid 19th century homes. Download the free audio guide for narration about many of these places.
Also downtown is the Harriet Tubman Museum, where you can learn about this heroine’s family, history and accomplishments. There were several stages to Tubman’s work and they are all explored in this venue.
Want to explore further afield? Consider:
- Spocott Windmill and site – Travel toward the Neck District and visit this important site to see the restored windmill, schoolhouse and miller’s cottage.
- Stanley Institute – Built about 1865, this early African American school retains much of its original décor. It served as both a school and a church until another church was built.
Do check with the sites in advance for their hours. For information on these and other tours, contact Heritage Museums and Gardens of Dorchester, 410-228-7953, firstname.lastname@example.org or dorchesterhistory.com. Heritage Museums and Gardens of Dorchester is the home of the Dorchester County Historical Society.