Our mission is to preserve and to promote the schoolhouse for educational, cultural and recreational activities available to the community and the general public. The Cataumet Schoolhouse building, in the past years, has hosted a wide range of events. The Board continues to seek new ways to expand the effectiveness and community building capacity of this small property, in accordance with its mission.
Profile: The Cataumet Schoolhouse
Through sheer determination and optimism, a group of Cataumet residents banded together in the late 1990's and turned a sadly neglected 1894 school building at 1200 County Road, in the middle of the village, into a magnet for educational programs and community events. In 1999 the Cataumet Schoolhouse Preservation Group (CSPG) was founded, and with the generosity of numerous donors and volunteers, with the fond and often detailed recollections of many who attended the school, and with advice and guidance from the Program in City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania, the process of restoring the building as faithfully as possible to its original condition as an 1894 schoolhouse was begun. Today the flag flies over the beautifully restored building, and since 2003 the school bell has called hundreds of visitors, school children and other participants to a variety of fun and fascinating events and programs at the schoolhouse and in the schoolyard.
The mission of the CSPG was clearly stated at the outset: "To promote as a location for educational, cultural and recreational activities available to the community and the general public, the Cataumet Schoolhouse building." In the past years a wide range of events have been held, and the board is still seeking ways to expand the effectiveness and community-building capacity of this small property, in accordance with its mission.
The Cataumet Schoolhouse is also home to a program that introduces students to the atmosphere and function of a traditional, one-room school. The antique desks are arranged in rows for each grade, a nineteenth century US map hangs on the back wall, and portraits of Washington and Lincoln look down from the walls above the original blackboards. The teacher's desk is equipped with an inkwell and an old hand bell, probably used in a similar school to call the class to order. Throughout the fall, third grade classes help fulfill their history requirement by visiting for a day of firsthand experience of what it was like when countless American children went to school in one room schoolhouses. Traditional studies, activities, and games are presented by CSPG members (who are often retired grade school teachers, themselves). It is hoped that such experiences might help kindle a fascination with history, and the past more generally, which can become a lifetime preoccupation. Such visits to the schoolhouse are worth more than a thousand words in helping kids understand the thread of history in which they are the next chapter. Thanks to goals shared with other local organizations, such as the Bourne Conservation Trust, Bourne Society for Historic Preservation, Bourne Historical Society, Cataumet Arts Center, and Cataumet Civic Associates, the CSPG is helping make the village a more vibrant and exciting place to live and visit. In 2009 a partnership was formed to found and run the Valley Farm Thrift Store, establishing a source of income to help defray expenses, but the Cataumet Schoolhouse still depends on the generosity of residents and visitors for its operating budget.
We are most grateful to the Cape Cod Foundation for grants awarded from the Mears Family Fund to support the mission of the Schoolhouse. The generosity of Don and Allen Mears, through the Cape Cod Foundation, allows the Schoolhouse to plan for both improvement projects and exciting community events.
Cataumet Schoolhouse Preservation Group (CSPG) P.O. Box 649 Cataumet, MA 1200 County Rd Cataumet, MA 02534