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New project digs into the history of clamming

August 15, 2012

Three Generations

The new online exhibition From Clam Flats to Clam Shacks: Clamming on Massachusetts’ North Shore is part of Historic New England’s 100 Years, 100 Communities initiative, which preserves and shares the region’s twentieth-century history. It examines the industry from a variety of perspectives, including clam diggers carrying on the tradition of a family business, government officials monitoring the industry’s impact on the ecosystem, and a food historian and nutritionist studying the formation of regional cuisine.

Historic New England, partnering with the nearly 100-year-old clam shack Woodman’s of Essex and the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, gathered firsthand accounts of those involved with this New England industry, including Gloucester Shellfish Constable Dave Sargent and father-and-son diggers Jack and John Grundstrom. These interviews tell the story of changes in North Shore clamming, its impact on the local economy and environment, and its role in shaping New England’s identity.

Explore the exhibition to hear interviews and see archival images and ephemera, including many advertisements from the twentieth century.

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New project digs into the history of clamming