the WAIST exhibit video

See a short video of the Speakeasy Exhibit. 

Click the image to view the video. 


thru December 12

Selecting thirty 19th century waists from the collection, we have compiled fine examples of the popular types, styles and fashions of that century.


From the early 19th century through the Edwardian period (about 1914), the word waist or waister (in the garment industry) was a common term in the United States for the bodice of an outfit. In men’s garments the term shirtwaist, shirtwaister or blouse was common.  The term blouse replaced the term waist in women’s garments and became popular and commonly used in the 20th Century

What's Underneath exhibit video

See a short video of the Speakeasy Exhibit. 

Click the image to view the video. 

What's Underneath

thru December 12

What’s Underneath displays women’s undergarments from the mid-19th century to the present. Arranged in four time periods, this exhibit visually conveys the radical and humorous side of ladies undergarments over the past one hundred and fifty years.


From the leather band around the chest to Madonna’s cone bra to the thong, undergarments have always been more than frippery and lace.  Originally wearing underclothes protected against sweat and stains to outer garments which may only be washed a few times a year.

Speakeasy Exhibit video

See a short video of the Speakeasy Exhibit. 

Click the image to view the video. 


thru December 12

The Centerville Museum examines the history of those tumultuous times on the 100 years anniversary, in the exhibit Speakeasy. Utilizing museum objects, photographs and historical accounts of the day we recount the story of the prohibition era including: the bootlegging of rum runners row, Cape Cod’s involvement, several of the famous and infamous people, the phenomena that became known as the Speakeasy, and Centerville’s own Speakeasy.

18th & 19th Century Small Armaments

thru December 12

This exhibit examines the technological changes of small armaments between 1780 and 1875, using rifles, swords, daggers and bullets from the museum collection.


As an example the bullet changes four times from 1810 to 1870. Muzzle loading rifles used small round lead balls which by 1846 changed to the Minnie ball (bullet) named after the French inventor Claude-Etienne Minie. As bullets changed so did the delivery method. Rifles evolved from the flintlock muzzle-load musket to the Trapdoor Rifle developed in 1870s which deployed the conical lead bullet housed in a brass casing. This was the rifle carried by Custer’s troops at Little Big Horn; much controversy lingers over the tendency of cartridges to jam under repeated firing (heat) and being possible contributor to the massacre.

The Trade Card

thru December12

This exhibit features the trade card. Originally the “trade” in trade card refers to its use by the proprietor of a business to announce his trade, or line of business. In the period before mass media, they functioned as advertising, directing the public to the merchants’ stores. The trade card is an early example of the modern business card. The use of trade cards in America was popular between 1876 and 1901. Their popularity peaked due in part to the advent of color lithography and multi-color printing and increasingly sophisticated designs. 


thru December 12

When White was the New Black features white lawn outfits from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Several costumes on display are for young children, boys and girls.


All through the 19th century black as a costume color was predominantly equated with mourning outfits. Black non-mourning outfits were worn by women but not as a common fashion style. It wasn’t until the 1920s with the creation of the LBD (little black dress) by designer Coco Channel did black become an important fashion color.


What about white, when was white the new black in fashion terms. In the late 19th century as a middle class was developing with more leisure time available, fashions were adopting for this growing group of consumers, this included the white lawn outfit which was light in weight, airy in design and more comfortable, not needing corsets, bustles or hoops.


Before the early 20th century, clothing worn by infants and young children shared a distinctive common feature - their clothing lacked sex distinction. In today's world, it looks as if little boys were dressed like little girls, but in the past, boys and girls were simply dressed similarly in clothing appropriate for "small children."


Children commonly wore dainty white dresses up to age 6 - 8.  Fabric types used included voile, eyelet, embroidered muslin, dotted swiss and lawn.  White was the color of choice because it was easily washed and bleached. 

Battles; Spies; Cooties The Great War

thru December 12

2018 is the hundredth anniversary of the United States’ involvement in the Great War. Centerville Museum examines the major battles, the development of espionage, the changes in the technology of warfare and the personal accounts of World War One veterans.

Exhibit sponsored by: Lois L. Taylor, John D. Meyer, EJ Jaxtimer, Daily Paper Restaurant,

State Representative Will Crocker

Shipwrecks - mystery ~ murder ~ misery

Three hundred and fifty ships were known to have gone down or wrecked off the shores of Cape Cod between 1850 and 1900.  Thousands of lives have been lost on these ships.  This number does not address the hundreds of ships recorded as lost, with no record of where the ship went down or any evidence of wreckage. 


During this period, when most goods were transported by sea, there would have been upward of three to sometime four hundred ships passing up and down the shores of Cape Cod each day.  This volume of sea traffic coupled with the notorious New England Nor’easter resulted in a very large number of shipwrecks.


The CHM’s exhibit Shipwrecks tells the story of ten prominent sea disasters, utilizing newspaper accounts, log books, historical photographs, paintings, personal letters and marine artifacts. We relate the drama and uncertainty associated with the sea and the unforgiving environment in which ships were forced to travel and the unparalleled sacrifice and heroism of the people who lived here to save them.

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