Essex Shipbuilding Museum Exhibits:
The Museum has standing exhibits in our Welcoming Center at 66 Main Street, outside on the grounds of the A.D. Story Shipyard behind the welcoming center, and the school house on Rt. 133.
The Central School House
Exhibits and archives of the Essex Shipbuilding Museum are housed in the old Essex Central School House which was built in 1835. The building was used as a two-room school house until it was turned over to the Grand Army of the Republic in 1890, and the American Legion in 1919.
The Old Burying Ground
Behind the museum is the Old Burying Ground, originally laid out in 1680 and enlarged several times until a new cemetery was dedicated in 1852. More than 2,000 persons are buried there including veterans of the French and Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. The first schoolmaster rests there along with many of the town’s shipbuilders and the first three pastors of the village church. The first pastor, Rev. John Wise, is buried in the center of the yard under the table-like stone. He was a widely read author who protested taxation without representation as early as 1687. When copies of his essays were reprinted and distributed throughout the colonies in 1772, his words set the tone for the American Revolution. Gravestone art shows examples of typical 18th and 19th century styles.
The Hearse House
The pre-Civil War Hearse House was built around 1840 and is one of only two known remaining in New England and contains original Victorian hearses: an old sleigh hearse and a dome hearse that was purchased secondhand by the town on December 14, 1861, from a Mr. Lock of Braintree, MA. There are also two holding boxes that predate the practice of embalming and used block ice to preserve the body of the deceased. Window-glass permitted viewing of the face from the front and in profile.
The Orientation Center
This former Story residence contains a diorama of the Story shipyard, admissions, video theater, gift shop, and Museum offices.
In 1993, The society purchased a section of riverfront where shipbuilding flourished for over 300 years. This historic site is where the Story family operated its shipyards from 1813 to the end of World War II. The yard is still active and showcases machines, tools, materials and boats.
The Waterline Center
This is the education hub for visiting school and bus groups. Equipped with historical artifacts, tools, displays, and machinery exhibits, this large, multi-function room is also used for meetings, lectures, and concerts.
The EVELINA M. GOULART
Built in the shipyard in 1927 and used until the 1980s for swordfishing and later as a fishing dragger, the museum acquired the EVELINA M. GOULART in 1990. She is one of only seven historic Essex-built schooners that survive. Her construction and history tell a symbolic story of the shipbuilding industry.
The LEWIS H. STORY
In 1998, the Museum commissioned the construction of the LEWIS H. STORY. This recreation of the Chebacco, a precursor to the grand fishing schooners, serves as the museum's flagship and roving "ambassador."
The Essex River & Basin
Whether exploring diversity in the marsh, interpreting the change in the river basin over the centuries, or rowing one of the Museum's small craft, the river is the historic focal point for the town and key to its heritage.