Founded in 1939, on the 300th anniversary of the Town of Barnstable, the Barnstable Historical Society (BHS) has taken a leading role in documenting the history of the seven villages of the Town of Barnstable. BHS houses a virtual treasure chest of history at the Phinney-Jones House, just across the street from the Sturgis Library in Barnstable Village. Our collection dates from the 17th century to the 20th century. It includes maritime paintings, portraits of sea captains and their wives, ships’ logs, ships’ models, a scrimshaw collection, vintage photographs, trade artifacts from around the world, Sandwich glass, a quilt collection, antique furniture, correspondence, diaries, and much more. We provide research assistance to schools, authors, researchers, and the public.

Did you know that the oldest existing wooden jail in America is in Barnstable Village? It was built around 1690 and awes its visitors with numerous prisoners’ carvings from as early as 1698. BHS oversees this historic treasure as well as the Village Blacksmith Shop. Both buildings are available for tours; you can register by emailing

Officers and Board Members

Sara Benson, President

Rich French, Vice President

Secretary, Nancy Weir

Treasurer, Elissa Crowley

Historian, Nancy Shoemaker

Jamie Hunsaker

Brooks Smith

Daphne Northrop

Marc Grenier

Patty Blair

Stephen Wright