Nahant Historical Society

41 Valley Road, Nahant Massachusetts 01908 781-581-2727

Our mission is:
“To acquire, preserve and interpret artifacts of Nahant, Massachusetts, illustrating its history, prehistory and that of people associated with it, for the enjoyment, education and enrichment of the public. ”

Gift Shop
Contact Us
Nahant Historical Society Annual Meeting
Stewardship of the Land, Whitney Homestead

Nahant's oldest building, the Whitney Homestead, has long been under the ownership of fine 'stewards' of the land. The Whitney Homestead was built in 1717 by Samuel Breed, most likely using construction material from the James Mills house close by. To accommodate visitors to Nahant who were caught on the island by rising tides, Samuel Breed took out an Innkeeper's license in 1738. This 'tavern' was carried on by three generations of Breeds.

Current owners, Tom and Cindy Costin, will be opening their home this summer to celebrate its 300th anniversary. Tom will come to our Annual Meeting to fill us in on the rest of the history of this beautiful property. Please join us as we hear from Tom about how being great stewards of the land has allowed the Whitney Homestead to still stand magnificently in its original location.

Last but not least, do come wish our Curator Bonnie D'Orlando a happy and well deserved retirement, starting May 1st!

Sunday, April 30th at 1 PM
Serenity Room, Nahant Community Center
41 Valley Road, Nahant MA

This event is free and open to the public.
Limited on-site parking; shuttle van service will be available to and
from the St. Thomas church's lot (248 Nahant Road) from 12:30 - 3 PM
For more information visit us on the web or call 781-581-2727

NHS 2017

LL The Lowland Buddha Lives!
Nahant celebrates the anonymous restored gift of the Lowland Buddha, a Jizo Bosatsu. This work of art once graced the famous gate of the 1867 estate of George Abbot James and his wife Elizabeth “Lily” Lodge on East Point in Nahant.

Learn how this gate guardian inspired the Lowland Medal of Nahant schools. As an extra-special treat, Dr. Daisy Yiyou Wang, Curator of Chinese and East Asian Art at the Peabody Essex Museum, will share her new research on the history of collecting Buddhist art in the Boston area and beyond in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Why Buddhist art? How did a number of prominent individuals and institutions form their Buddhist collections?

Jizo Bosatsu was first introduced in Japan from China during the Heian period (794-1185) and, according to the Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, became “immensely popular as a protector of children, patron of travelers, and guardian of community thresholds.”Probably it is no coincidence that George Abbot James used the Lowland Gate with its guardian as the inspiration for his endowment of the Lowland Medal for proficiency in mental arithmetic in Nahant Schools.

This award has been given for almost 100 years since shortly before his death in 1917. Past winners of the Lowland Medal and their families are especially invited to this special occasion.

If you are, or know someone who is a Lowland Medal recipient, please contact the Society at
(781) 581-2727 or email

"Nahant on the Rocks"

Nahant Community Center We invite you to visit our premier major exhibition, entitled Nahant on the Rocks. This retrospective illustrates in a lively format the legendary and seldom told story of Nahant and its people. Nahant on the Rocks opened in 2003 to rave reviews. In 2004 this exhibition won one of the most prestigious museum awards: the Certificate of Commendation from the American Association of State and Local History.


We will be closed on Town Meeting Saturday, April 29th. We will be outside Town Hall, stop by and visit our booth before the 12:30 PM meeting start.


Sunday, April 30th | 1 PM
Serenity Room | Top Floor

Stewardship of the Land, Whitney Homestead, Presentated by Tom Costin

Wednesday and Thursday
1 PM Until 4 PM
Saturday, 10 AM Until 4 PM


Our 2017 Pictorial Calendar
Now With Color Images Throughout!
$14 Per Calendar

Visit the Society or Our Online



Membership Levels
Special Instructions

Use the button above to renew online or visit our membership page for additional membership options.


The Bark Sarah and Her Maker
Hodges Reference Room

Nahant on the Rocks
Lowell Gallery


Read the latest!
View our 2015 Newsletter

Come visit us and see our new acquisitions and don't forget to browse in our gift shop and shop either online or in person.

our shop

new to our collection


Visit the Concert page for 2017 concert details and the latest schedule.

Beethoven's Magnificent 9th Symphony opens the 2017 Ellingwood Chapel Chamber Music Series
Saturday evening, May 6th, 8 PM

Other scheduled performances this season will include:

June 24, 2017
New England Philharmonic String Quartet

July 15, 2017
Fin de Siecle String Quartet

August 19, 2017
The Brioso Trio

September 9, 2017
Gerry Mordis and Friends

Donate to Support the Concert Series

Friends of Ellingwood
Special Instructions

Come visit and learn about Nahant’s rich historic heritage in our quarters here at the Nahant Community Center, formerly the Valley Road School.

We welcome researchers and urge you to visit our Hodges Reference Room and its library and archives facilities.

History is fun! Come join us.
The Nahant Historical Society is a member of the following organizations:

-American Assoc. State & Local History
-NE Historic Genealogical Society
-New England Museum Association

© 2017 Nahant Historical Society 41 Valley Road, Nahant Massachusetts 01908 | (781) 581-2727