The Purpose of the Shirley Historical Society is to preserve books, photos, papers, stories, and artifacts relating to Shirley, Massachusetts people, places, and history.  The Society also works to educate the public regarding historic matters, and seeks to encourage preservation of historic sites within the town.

Society Membership - The Shirley Historical Society is incorporated as a non-profit 501(C)(3) corporation.  Membership in the Society is open to all those interested upon annual payment of dues.  To join the Historical Society and be placed on the mailing list, send $25 for individual membership, $10 for students and seniors, or $35 for a family.  Contributing membership is $50 per year. 

The Historical Society Officers for 2020 are here.

For list of Shirley Historical Society By-Laws, click HERE.

The Lucy Longley Memorial Building which houses the Shirley Historical Society Museum was opened in the Fall of 1981.  There is no charge for visiting the Museum.
The Library contains information on many Shirley people and places as well as references on local and general history. 
If you wish to use our files to do research, the charge will be $10 per day for non-members.
If we can answer a quick research question by email, phone, or letter, there is no charge.

If you would like us to do more involved local research or lengthy copying for you, the charge will be $20 per hour.
Xeroxing costs 25 cents per page.
The main floor of the Museum is fully handicapped accessible.  The Museum is located four miles north of Route 2 in central Massachusetts. 
For directions to the Museum please click here.  
For a further description of our building and its history, click here.

The current display is a collection of paintings of historic Shirley sites as portrayed by Sandy Farnsworth.

For frequently updated photos of happenings around Shirley go to our facebook page.

For a list of our programs for 2019, click HERE   Copy this address and put it in your browser.


Water for Soldiers is a true story written by a Shirley woman who tells how local families were involved with the creation of Camp Devens and the caring for the soldiers starting in 1917. Hardcover copies are now on sale at the Museum for $39.26  including tax. Paperback copies are $28.63 

ministry shop

Shaker Tours - Guided Tours of the Shirley Shaker Village may be held by special request of groups of 8 or more.  Since the site of the village is part of the state correctional facility, special arrangements must be made for visiting. 

Our tours for 2019 will be Sundays September 22nd, October 6th, October 20th.
Additional tours may be scheduled for  groups of eight or more.
These tours introduce visitors to the architecture and lifestyle of the Believers who lived in Shirley from 1793-1908.  Visitors meet at 12:30 p.m., in a restored Shaker building on the grounds of the Massachusetts Correctional Facility where they
have an introductory talk on the Shirley Shaker Community.  After the talk, they go through two other Shaker buildings. The cost is $15 for non-members and $10 for SHS members.  Due to limited space, reservations must be made and paid for in advance. 
For a brief history of the Shirley Shaker Village and links to other Shaker sites, click here.


Shopping for other Shirley Souvenirs at the Museum
For a list of Shirley items available in the Historical Society Museum Gift Shop, click here.

to our 2019 Corporate Sponsors. We appreciate their support.

PHOENIX PARK - "A great place to grow your business" 2Shaker Road, Shirley, MA 01464

BULL RUN RESTAURANT - "Serving the thirsty traveler since 1740" 215 Great Road, Shirley, MA 01464

Note that the Shirley Historical Society is a member of

New England Museum Association 
    Freedom's Way National Heritage Area
  Historic New England

For Many Other Special Shirley Events, click here.  If you want to make sure your event date does not conflict with something else that is happening in town, look here first. 

Links -
For links to facebook pages of many Shirley organizations, click here.
For links to other Shirley related web sites, a Shirley history time line, essays on Shirley history, or links to sites of general historic interest, click here.

If you wish to donate something to the Museum, it must fit our collections policy. Here is a gift form named Shirley
The Most Historic Small Town in the Nation in June of 2001. You may also go to and do a search for Shirley, MA to see what they've got to say about us.

Ayer Shirley PTO Grant - Museum Curator, Meredith Marcinkewicz, has received this grant to take her into all Shirley elementary school classrooms, from Kindergarten through grade six where she brings touchable artifacts and presents programs on Shirley history topics. Each grade level gets a different program, so that by the end of their school years they have learned many different aspects of Shirley history.

Thank You 

Thank you to those who donated, worked, or shopped at the Fall Book and Bake Sale and the Spring yard sale.
Thank you to all those who made salads, cooked chicken, served food, sold souvenirs at ShirleyFest. It was a very profitable day for the Society.

Thank you to Paul, Jackie, Marie, Lyn, Alison, Donna, Barbara and others who help catalog and archive items in our collections. Thanks also for your help creating, putting up, and taking down displays.
Thank you to Ward who takes care of our computers.
Thank you to Paul who cares for the lawn.
Thank you to Steve who does various repairs around the building.
If you would like to volunteer at the Museum. click here. 
We have many types of tasks that might interest you.

        Judy Warner of Harvard wrote us - "I have enjoyed spending time in Shirley Center sitting on the grass sketching the buildings and setting for the past few days. What a wonderful spot --- I do a lot of drawing in the area and haven't found many places as peaceful and unspoiled.  I just wanted to tell you I've found your web site very helpful and thank you to all those people who have kept your Center such a special place."

    Watching the children in the Crazy Hat Parade, marching around the Common at the annual Hoe Down,  Susan Baxter said, "Why would anyone want to live any place else but in Shirley ?"

If there is other information you would like to have access to on this web site, or if you have other questions about Shirley history,  please write or e-mail us at

Thank you for looking in.  Since 1/1/06, you are SHS web site visitor # 

Site produced at Shirley Historical Society by Meredith Marcinkewicz. Last updated 11/14/19