The Schoolhouse, 1893
43 Cudworth Road, Scituate
The Schoolhouse is open to the public Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday 10-4.
Open Saturday from 10-2. Closed Sunday, Monday, & Wednesday.
Archivist hours are Tuesday, 10-2. To meet with our Archivist, please email the Archivist in advance of your visit.
Call 781-545-1083. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Within the Schoolhouse, one will find the heartbeat of the Scituate Historical Society. Also known as the Kathleen Laidlaw Center, the Schoolhouse is home to the Society’s headquarters, the Collection Archives, the research and genealogical libraries, as well as important exhibit space.
The Schoolhouse initially opened its doors in 1893, serving as Scituate’s High School. At that time, it was located adjacent to the old Town Hall – on the grounds of the former Gates Intermediate School. With the construction of a “new” school building in 1917, the little Schoolhouse was moved to its present location at 43 Cudworth Road in 1919. The Schoolhouse subsequently served as an auxiliary classroom and, later, offices for the Superintendent of Schools.
In 1984, the Scituate Historical Society purchased the building from the Town for $1. The building was painted red and became fondly known as “The Little Red Schoolhouse”. Even though the building was repainted red several times, the paint peeled badly and moisture started to take its toll on the structure of the building. In 2020, with the Schoolhouse closed due to the COVID pandemic, the Trustees agreed it was the perfect time to restore the exterior of the Schoolhouse. Based on material from the Archives – most notably a 1905 photograph of the building – it was decided to return the Schoolhouse to its original exterior of natural shingles and white trim.
Recent years have seen two substantial interior renovations to the Schoolhouse as well. In 2008, under a grant from the Community Preservation Act, the Historical Society renovated two-thirds of the interior spaces to create a genealogical research center, library, map archives, exhibit spaces, offices, and Meeting Room. In 2018, the Society renovated the remaining space – developing a central climate-controlled archive facility for the Society’s growing collections. This project required a considerable investment by the Society, as well as support from the CPC. The benefits of this archive facility and the ensuing consolidation, identification, and cataloguing of the various collections have proven significant – improving the stewardship of the stories and materials that chronicle Scituate’s history. For details and more information on select artifacts, be sure to explore Collection Highlights, found in the Research section of this website.
On display at the Schoolhouse, “Recalling Dreamwold” is an extraordinary exhibit of T. E. Marr’s photography and personal pieces donated to the Society by the family of Thomas W. Lawson. The exhibit offers a glimpse into the exuberant lifestyle and the magnificent vision of the man and his storied Scituate “farm”.
Among artifacts on permanent display are the massive bronze Cushing plaque sculpted by C. E. Dallin and the Stockbridge Grain Chest, c.1650 – both detailed in the above-mentioned Collection Highlights.