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The Dock House Museum

The Dock House Museum

Dock_house

1942

The peaceful setting of the Bare Cove Park Dock House, built in 1942, belies the critical role that Hingham and the Weymouth Back River played during World Wars I and II. During the Second World War the Dock House was a busy office managing shipments of deadly ordnance to Navy ships of all kinds moored outside of Boston Harbor. Barges and boats ferrying men and munitions docked at the now decaying piers just a few dozen feet south and north of the building. Today, the Dock House is a museum that preserves the history of the Naval training facility and the ammunitions depot that once occupied all of Bare Cove Park.

The Museum was founded by Scott McMillan, whose father worked at the depot along with nearly 2,500 other people. As a child, Scott rode his bike to the gate house regularly to get permission to enter the Depot. Once inside, he could play with the children of the Commander of the base, who lived at what is now the South Shore Conservatory.

The Museum’s earliest artifacts date from around 1911 to 1925 when Camp Hingham was a training ground for Sailors. 17 large barracks and a hospital populated the landscape. Most of the artifacts date from the site’s second life as the Naval Depot. Gas masks, enormous artillery shells, photos and maps are among the fascinating relics on display. Many have been donated to the Museum by former employees, while others have been found in and around the remains of the nearly 100 depot buildings that populated the park in that era. It’s hard to imagine that during the brief lives of Camp Hingham and the Naval Depot, literally thousands of men and women travelled the very roads that dogwalkers and nature lovers saunter along today.

A shuttle available at Lynch Field parking lot will take passengers every half hour to the Museum. To walk, follow the road at the back of the parking lot. Allow 10 minutes for a leisurely pace, and bear to the left at the Sheltry Path fork. Allow 20 minutes in the Museum.

The Museum is open one Saturday a month Spring – Fall. Check the Hingham Journal or the kiosk at the Fort Hill Street entrance of Bare Cove Park for announcements of hours.