The Westport Museum for History and Culture provides a space where everyone’s voice is heard. We believe a deep understanding of the past is essential for a more equitable, just, and inclusive future. We welcome families like yours and the next generation of leaders to join us!
1. Tell the truth.
Even when it’s uncomfortable.
2. Everyone’s story matters.
We are here to share and amplify these stories.
3. Serve the greater good.
The only way we progress is if we learn from the past.
Our history reveals our purpose
Since its founding in 1889, the Westport Museum has been a humanities organization dedicated to preserving, presenting, and celebrating the history of Westport. As a cultural institution with a holistic focus, our museum is designed to contribute to the creation of a more just society.
The Westport Museum is dedicated to embracing the truths of history so that all can see themselves in our American story.
Explore the Museum
Buried In Our Past is a podcast about the histories all around us that have been lost to time.
Museum Musings is our blog that adds depth to the latest research, projects, events, exhibits, and programs at the Museum.
Our calendar is filled with in-person and online activities. Advanced registration is typically required.
The Museum’s extensive cataloging aims to make resource guides and finding aids easily accessible for research use.
Our Focus on Education
We have programs for students and educators. From volunteering to research to general history, students are encouraged to use our resources to learn about local history.
Our Staff & Board
With extensive experience in museum management, history, and curation, the staff at the Westport Museum looks forward to meeting you. Our friendly team is available to answer any questions so that your visit is as comfortable as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have the answers to your most frequently asked questions. If your question is not answered below, we invite you to contact us.
When are the museum’s visiting hours?
The Westport Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from 11am to 5pm. The Museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Learn more about visiting the Museum.
How do I get involved with the museum?
The Westport Museum offers year-round opportunities for internships and volunteer positions. These roles support the Museum’s mission and help make ongoing programs and exhibitions possible. Learn more about our available positions.
Can I use the Museum grounds for my special event or party?
Our grounds and buildings are available for rentals. Please contact us with your inquiry.
Are the Museum’s archives available for use free of charge?
The Museum charges nominal fees for use of its archival collections. These fees help support the maintenance and upkeep of these materials. Learn more about the full schedule of archive usage fees.
Who owns the Westport Museum for History and Culture
The Westport Museum is a private institution not owned by the Town of Westport, nor is it supported by town funding. We rely on our members and donors as well as grant funding to keep the Museum’s programming and mission moving forward.
The Museum only occupies the corner lot of Avery Place and Myrtle Avenue. Although once part of the same property, Veteran’s Green is now the property of the Town of Westport, not the Museum.
Has the name of the Museum changed over the years?
The Westport Museum was known for most of its early history as The Saugatuck Historical Society. Originally incorporated as the Westport Historical Society in 1889, the members quickly changed the name to Saugatuck to be more representative of the early history of the town.
What is the history of the museum?
The Westport Museum’s headquarters building was originally a 5-bay Colonial House built around 1795. Recent evaluations of the house structure have revealed that the original house was not a Saltbox as thought. The Italianate structure was built around the original house around 1865. While the building is currently white with green shutters, the Bradely-Wheeler House has been dove gray with black shutters, pale lilac with lavender trim, and other colors in its lifetime.
The house was almost always the site of a ground-floor business. Westport was a working harbor town until the 1950s and businesses often occupied the ground floor of homes as well. The original structure on the site housed a millinery shop and a blacksmith possibly operated out of one of the outbuildings. The current structure housed a dentist’s office and a doctor’s office before becoming a museum.
What surrounded the Museum in the past?
The property once had outbuildings. A second small barn and workshop once stood on the property near the edge of the current driveway and there were open front wooden sheds attached to the side of the historic cobblestone bar. Cows and other small farm animals would most likely have sheltered in these structures.
Westport Historical Society Inc (tax ID: 23-7402125), D/B/A Westport Museum for History and Culture is a non-profit organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
“I’ve always loved studying history and the overall goal and mission of the Westport Museum drew me in. I wanted to be a part of telling the story of our town.”— Samantha, Westport Museum Intern