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FAQs

When can I visit the Coffin House grounds?

The museum grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk.

Is the museum handicapped accessible?

A tour of any Historic New England property requires a considerable amount of standing and some walking.  The Coffin House has not been equipped with handicapped accessible ramps, elevators, or chair lifts. Folding chairs can be provided for visitors who would like to use them during a tour. Visitors with limited mobility may be able to enjoy a first floor tour of the house and grounds. Service animals are always welcome. We encourage visitors with concerns to call ahead. We are happy to work with you to make your visit an enjoyable one.

Can I take photographs at the museum?

Interior and exterior photography for personal use is allowed at Historic New England properties. For the safety and comfort of our visitors and the protection of our collections and house museums, we ask that you be aware of your surroundings and stay with your guide. Video, camera bags, tripods and selfie-sticks are not permitted. Professional/commercial photographers and members of the media should visit the press room for more information.  

How do I become a member of Historic New England and get more involved?

Join Historic New England now and get involved in preserving and celebrating the region's heritage. To join, call the Membership Office at 617-994-5910 or join online. You can reach the Coffin House staff at 978-462-2634 or by e-mail.

When can I get inside the Coffin House?

The Coffin House is open on the first and third Saturday of the month with tours on the hour beginning at 11:00 a.m. and ending at 5:00 p.m.

Do we need to take a tour or can we just look around?

All visitors to the house receive a guided tour.

Where are the Coffins buried?

Most of the occupants of this house are buried across the street in the First Parish Burying Ground. Judith and Tristram are buried on the left side of the burying ground if you are facing the front gate. 

How do we know when the house was built?

For many years the house was thought to have been built in 1654. In 2002 sample borings of timbers in the original structure and front range were analyzed by the Oxford University Dendrochronology Laboratory in England.  Study of the growth rings determined the original structure was built in 1678 and the front range in 1712. 

Was Tristram Coffin Jr. related to the Coffin Family of Nantucket?

Yes. Tristram Coffin Sr. and family (except sons Tristram Jr. and Peter) moved to Nantucket in 1659.

How and when did Historic New England acquire the Coffin House?

Historic New England was founded in 1910 to preserve examples of early New England architecture.  Coffin family descendants knew they had a historic treasure worthy of preservation, and they gave the house to Historic New England in 1929. 

Did any Coffin family occupants ever have indoor plumbing?

No.  The reconstructed privy behind the house is in the same location as in 1929.

FAQs