Pilgrim Hall Museum

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Pilgrim Hall
Pilgrim Hall Museum.JPG
Pilgrim Hall Museum, the oldest public museum in the United States
Location 75 Court St
Plymouth, Massachusetts
Architect Alexander Parris
Architectural style Greek Revival
NRHP Reference # 72001298
Added to NRHP April 11, 1972

The Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts is the oldest public museum in the United States in continuous operation, having opened in 1824.


The Pilgrim Society, established in 1820, runs the museum. The museum tells the story of the Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony. Architect Alexander Parris designed the museum building, which opened in 1824. Russell Warren constructed a wooden portico in 1834. The top part of Plymouth Rock sat in front of the building from the 1830s to 1880s until it was reunited with the bottom half in the Plymouth waterfront. The museum was extensively upgraded in the 1880s. In 2008, an addition was added to the museum along with a new sign, activities, and advertising throughout the downtown area. Its building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.


The Pilgrim Hall Museum contains artifact collections, artwork, a library and archives. Prominent pieces include original Pilgrim era artifacts, such as the original Brewster Chair and a 1651 portrait of Edward Winslow, the only known Pilgrim portrait. The museum owns the 1626 shipwreck of the Sparrow Hawk, the only known remains of a trans-Atlantic 17th-century ship, but the ship is currently (2009) displayed at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum.

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Sparrow Hawk[edit]

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Coordinates: 41°57′32″N 70°40′04″W / 41.95889°N 70.66778°W / 41.95889; -70.66778