About The Friends & the Friendship Fund

The Friends of Old Ship Meeting House Charitable Trust, (The Friends) is a 501C3 tax exempt organization established in 1971 for the purpose of encouraging non-sectarian public support and funding for the preservation of the Old Ship Meeting House in Hingham, Massachusetts, a National Historic Landmark built in 1681. As stewards of the Meeting House along with First Parish in Hingham, The Friends will develop and manage activities that connect the Meeting House to the public, so that it continues to serve as an inspirational living legacy.

Over the years, the Friendship Fund has contributed to a wide variety of Meeting House repairs and preservation projects. A community-wide appeal in 2007 and 2008 enabled the Friendship Fund to contribute $85,000 in matching funds required by a $60,000 grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Fund to re-shingle the Meeting House roof, and repair the belfry and steeple, immediate needs identified in the recently completed historic survey of the Meeting House. The historic 18th century weathervane was removed and restored, as well, with Friendship Funds.

The Friends funds have also supported architectural conservation consulting services for preparing bids and supervising preservation projects, and for a system to monitor the 1681 oak structural frame.

In 2010, Old Ship Meeting House received a highly competitive $300,000 Save America’s Treasures Grant from the National Park Service and U.S. Department of the Interior. In addition, the Massachusetts Preservation Fund awarded Old Ship $50,000. Both grants were given to finance critical repairs needed to preserve this historic structure for the future, and were only be awarded with matching funds from the community. The Friends worked with First Parish to raise the additional and matching funds of almost $600,000 needed to complete the two-year $1 million restoration project.

The Massachusetts Historical Commission’s red sign prominently displays
its grant support for the re-shingled roof.

Restored 1731 weathervane on display
Dedicated to the memory of L. Ware Williams, May 2009 .


Click here to learn more about the restoration. Click here to support the effort to save this matchless piece of American History.

Trustees are Jane Malme, Chairman; Roberta Smith, Treasurer; Connie Gorfinkle, Clerk; John LaPann; and Nina Wellford.