Visit the 1688 Old Ordinary, the Hingham Historical Society’s house museum. Guided tours offer a fascinating glimpse of family life in colonial Hingham, when the home served as a rest stop for weary stagecoach travelers. Here they could get “an ordinary meal,” a drink in the taproom, and sometimes a bed for the night. Typical of the time, the Old Ordinary took on the role of a town tavern for over 150 years, a place where Hingham locals could, conduct business, talk politics and catch up on the news of the day from travelers passing through.
Comprised of the original 1688 structure, as well as additions dating from the 1740s and 1760s, the Old Ordinary’s rooms are a treasure trove of a time gone by. From the rustic kitchen, with its oversized fireplace and incredible collection of period utensils and contraptions, to upstairs bedchambers, displaying hand-worked linens and authentic children’s toys, there is something to catch the eye and imagination at every turn. You will marvel at the intricacy of young girls’ cross-stitched samplers, (a mandatory skill at Derby Academy), and ponder the many tools and steps it took to craft the now famous Hingham buckets. In the taproom, the echoes of past travelers are eerily present in preserved 1782 graffiti carved into a wooden panel.
Every other year the Old Ordinary also hosts special exhibits that focus on a particular aspect of the Historical Society’s vast collection of Hingham artifacts, from quilts to period clothing.
Weekends in November, the Old Ordinary also hosts the Society’s Candlelight Overcoat tours in the evenings. Visitors take home a unique perspective on how families managed to keep warm and fed through the long, dark New England winters – before the days of central heating and electric lights.