The Lyme History Museum, operated by the Lyme Historians, Inc. is located in the Churchill-Melvin House at 15 Main Street across from the Lyme Common and between the Lyme Country Store and the cemetery. See map below
East side of the Churchill-Melvin House
Hours: Wednesdays 10 am to 1 pm and Saturdays 10 am to noon, or by appointment. We are closed January and February. If you have a question or need information please email or call us.
Email: email@example.com Phone: 603-795-2508
The Itinerant Museum – A Short History of Our Museum
All ready to exhibit and nowhere to go. For years, the Historians have curated a remarkable (and still expanding) “movable feast” of Lyme-abilia. Before they secured a home on the first floor of the Lyme Center Academy building in 2002, the collection shuffled all over town. Now we have our own building in the Churchill-Melvin House on Main Street across from the Lyme Common with five exhibit rooms including our lovely new entrance. The Historians have worked hard to create a beautiful museum space that allows us to stage themed exhibits, often including objects lent by our members to augment the Historians’ own remarkable collection. Every year our collection has grown so that we are grateful to have additional space to hold it all in our new home! How wonderful to have such generous friends who want to share their Lyme artifacts with all us.
Spotlight on the Collection
Our new home is named for two early families of the house, Judge David Churchill and George Melvin. Both men owned the Lyme Country Store at different times, making their home very convenient to their business. The parlor now displays examples of period furniture along with a few of the 1850 technologies.
Found in the parlor is the Estey Organ which was played in the Lyme home of Clyde Grant and in the future will be played in our parlor!
Over the years the Lyme Historians have received old photographs for our collection. Many of the photographs are labeled and we scan them into our database.
However, we do have a collection of “Mystery” photo’s and we need your help! Please stop by and browse through the books and help us identify the people, home, or landscape for us.
1850’s New Technology
We tend to forget as new technology arrives how upsetting these “machines” were to our ancestors in the mid-1850s. The early typewriter was viewed with alarm: how could you prevent fraud if you didn’t see the handwriting of the sender? The treadle sewing machine: men wondered if women were clever enough to be trusted with a “Machine”! Two “Magic Lanterns”: to project glass slides and a stereoptic viewer for 3D home viewing of distant places. Early medical “devises” that it might have been wiser to let nature take its course.
Several of these inventions are on display at the museum. Hundreds of patents were applied for and if you look closely all the patent dates are on these clever items.
We are now displaying an extensive collection of native American artifacts that originated in Lyme. Bartlett Mayo, who owned land near Post Pond and the gathering place known as Ordanakis, discovered points, pestles, scrapers, and other tools while working his land.
Mayo left his fascinating collection of 139 artifacts to Dartmouth College, which conveyed them to the Montshire Museum of Science. The Montshire has generously agreed to convey them permanently to the Lyme Historians for display and curation.