Digital Commonwealth Collections

Digital Commonwealth is a non-profit collaborative organization, founded in 2006, that provides resources and services to support the creation, management, and dissemination of cultural heritage materials held by Massachusetts libraries, museums, historical societies, and archives. Digital Commonwealth currently has over 200 member institutions from across the state.

Climbing Fumitory

The Florence Johnson Herbarium contains pressed plants gathered by Nahant grade school teacher Florence “Miss Flossie” Johnson and her pupils. Ms. Johnson taught from 1881 to 1927. Most notable are the specimens stamped “Mass Horticultural Soc., Boston, Nov. 26, 1897.” These were entered into the Horticultural Society’s exhibition, winning a prize of $6 for being “most remarkable, both in point of numbers [184] and the quality of the mounting,” according to the Society’s booklet for that year. This collection, for years stored out of public view, can once again be appreciated for its information and its artistry.

Hunnewell Family, 1972

The Mass. Memories Road Show is a statewide, event-based participatory archiving project that documents people, places, and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories. Archivists and public historians at the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collaborate with local planning teams and volunteers to organize free public events where individuals bring photographs to be copied and included in a digital archive. Contributors are invited to describe the photographs in their own words. In addition, they may choose to share “the story behind the photos” on video, have their own “keepsake photo” taken, receive advice from professional archivists and historians on caring for their family photos, and learn from one another about the history of their community. Since its launch in 2004, the Mass. Memories Road Show has digitized thousands of photographs and stories from across the state. The Nahant Road Show took place at Nahant Town Hall on April 1, 2017.

Artifacts in Your Library was a 2021-22 project to better preserve and interpret the historic art and Native artifacts in the library, bringing them to a wider audience and helping residents better enjoy the history of Nahant. You may now see the artworks as high-resolution digital images and search them for detail. The Native exhibit can now be known to scholars and the descendants of the Massachusett tribe that once encamped in Nahant. We were also able to better identify items in need of restoration. A notable piece in the collection is the 1846 Alonzo Lewis map, jointly owned by the Library and the Nahant Historical Society, which now hangs in the main hall. The Digital Commonwealth image will enable you to look closely at which families had property and homes then, and what other features have changed over the years since then.