Massachusetts museum celebrates 400 years of history with new digital open access archive

Archives documenting the 400 year history of the City of Gloucester, Massachusetts, are now accessible to a global audience through a new digital archive being launched by the Cape Ann Museum to mark its own 148th anniversary.

The publication of the open access archive, which has been built using AM Quartex, coincides with the 400th year since the first English colonisers settled on the land now known as Gloucester, and forms part of a calendar of community celebrations to mark the anniversary.

Collections included in the initial launch cover a broad mix of themes and asset types, including many collections of photographs and maps, including The Gloucester Daily Times Photograph Collection, which will be used alongside an upcoming exhibition in the autumn of 2023.

The Museum is proud to finally have its collections online in a searchable database in AM Quartex, which we chose both for its flexibility regarding controlled vocabularies and its ability to create a dynamic, user-friendly and visually stunning website.

Trenton Carls, Head Librarian & Archivist, Cape Ann Museum

Catherine Miller, Digital Library Assistant, said, "Quartex's flexibility when creating controlled vocabularies (CVs) was a key selling point and allowed us to tailor searchability and discoverability towards three broad collection areas, Library, Archives, and Photo Archives, within an 'Overarching Collection' CV."

We have also been able to publish a database of metadata-only records. We are excited to share these catalogued materials online for the first time and be able to export catalogued metadata for future digital library development projects.

Catherine Miller

In launching the digital archive, the Museum hopes to expand its reach beyond those able to visit the museum physically and bring the rich history of Gloucester and Cape Ann to a much wider audience.

“We hope that the digital archive helps to bring awareness to the vast collections we have, aids as a starting point for researchers afar, and sparks a new passion for research in the next generation,” said Trenton Carls.

Visit the Cape Ann Museum Library and Archives Digital Collections at

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