Rowe Historical Society
Kemp-McCarthy Museum



Welcome to the website of the Rowe Historical Society.


The Rowe Historical Society owns and operates the Kemp-McCarthy Museum located at 282 Zoar Road in Rowe, Massachusetts. It opened on June 30, 1963.


The museum has an extensive collection of local artifacts and antiques. Highlights of the collection include antique quilts, 19th century dolls, period costumes, china and glassware, sleighs, furniture, photographs, cookware, tools, farm implements, and an original 19th century hearse. Exhibits are updated regularly.


The Kemp-McCarthy Museum also has many valuable photos of townspeople and local sites, as well as literature from the Davis Mine and the Yankee Atomic Electric Company.


The Rowe Historical Society publishes The Bulletin, dedicated to the preservation of local history by highlighting "bits of history, old letters, pictures, news clippings and anything of interest to the history of Rowe," and The Rowe Historical Society Newsletter, featuring information on upcoming events and programs.


Many books are published by the Rowe Historical Society, including The History of Rowe, Massachusetts by Percy Whiting Brown and Nancy Newton Williams.


The Kemp-McCarthy Museum is open to the public every Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. from July through mid-October, and at other times by appointment. Concerts, holiday celebrations, literary programs, and other cultural activities are held at the museum throughout the year.


Our website also provides useful information on membership in the Rowe Historical Society and directions to the Kemp-McCarthy Museum.

If you've never been to our town or museum, you can learn more about us by visiting  


Thank you to the many people who visited our exhibits this season. We look forward to welcoming you back in 2015!

The Hoosac Tunnel has always been important in the history of Rowe. Although the tunnel does not pass through Rowe, the east entrance is just across the river from Rowe's Neck, the stretch of Rowe land where the Big Bend of the Deerfield River flows. Of special relevance to Rowe's history was the final engineering of the tunnel, because one of the eight stone lining towers was located on Rowe's Head, the mountain just across from the tunnel's east entrance. The famous Hoosac Tunnel station was located in Rowe. Many people from Rowe worked on the tunnel project, and for the Boston & Maine railroad. The Kemp-McCarthy Museum has a large exhibit of Hoosac Tunnel artifacts and memorabilia, including photographs, timetables and a new G-scale model of a B&M F-3 locomotive. Noted Hoosac Tunnel historian Jerry Kelley and his wife Gayle have made many important contributions to the museum, including a large collection of rare stereo views of the tunnel. The museum also periodically hosts special programs related to the Hoosac Tunnel. The next Rail-Fan event is scheduled for October 4, 2015.  Please scroll to the bottom of this page to learn more about our involvement with the history of the Hoosac Tunnel.
 Photo below is courtesy of John Magnago.

Trustee John Magnago Directs the Oral History Project

Thanks to the efforts and hard work of Trustee John Magnago, our oral history project continues successfully.

This past summer, John has interviewed many townspeople and recorded their recollections and observations for future generations.

John interviewed noted artist Helene Glass in her studio. Helene's work has been displayed in galleries in the U.S. and abroad.Coincidentally, Helene cites John Marin as one of her favorite artists, and Marin, too, was inspired during his time spent in Rowe.


The Rowe Historical Society & Kemp-McCarthy Museum Join
 Time Travelers:
RHS Members Will Benefit

Members of the Rowe Historical Society now have an important bonus included free with all paid memberships: exclusive benefits and privileges at over 250 organizations in more than 40 states across the country, such as free or discounted admission and gift shop discounts. Time Travelers, a reciprocal membership network for historical sites and museums throughout the United States, now includes the Rowe Historical Society (and its members) in this network.

The Rowe Historical Society is one of seven Massachusetts museums to participate in the program; others include the Nantucket Historical Association, Falmouth Museums on the Green, the Jackson Homestead in Historic Newton, the Shirley-Eustis House Museum in Roxbury, the Westford Historical Society and Museum, and the Worcester Historical Museum.  Many Rowe members spend part of the year in Florida, and there are many museum in the "Sunshine State" that participate in this program, including historical society museums in Fort Lauderdale, Key West and Tampa Bay.

Time Travelers is sponsored by the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis. To see other museums nationwide that participate in the network, visit

Remember to have your Rowe Historical Society membership card with you when you travel in order to receive these benefits at network museums.

Preserving Our Historical Documents for Future Generations

The trustees are working hard to develop effective strategies to preserve our historical documents for future generations. The effects of time, humidity, and other problems have resulted in the deterioration of some of our most important holdings.

Recently, a group of trustees consulted with document preservation professionals at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center. Trustees Ellen Miller and John Magnago (above) are shown at work in the Center.

The next issue of the Bulletin will contain detailed information on this very important project.


A Valuable Collection Given to the Museum

Hoosac Tunnel expert Jerry Kelley and his wife, Gayle, have given the Kemp-McCarthy Museum an exceptionally fine collection of rare postcards and stereo views of the Hoosac Tunnel.

Thank you, Jerry and Gayle, for your ongoing generosity.

Shown below: Image of a Hoosac Tunnel Switcher (from the collection)





Thank you to the hundreds of people who made Rail-Fan a huge success! Read all about it here: