Cape Cod's Nature Place

The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History


The History of Wellfleet’s Sealshipt Oyster System


Digging Into the Past

“The History of Wellfleet’s Sealshipt Oyster System”


Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 1pm.

Free with Museum Admission

Since its founding in 1951, the Wellfleet Historical Society & Museum has been actively collecting and preserving reminders of Wellfleet’s rich and varied history. Commercial oystering has been a key component of Wellfleet’s economy and WHSM researchers working on the Wellfleet’s Railroad exhibit noted that the railroad was carrying fresh, locally produced and shucked Sealshipt oysters across the country in a time before mechanical refrigeration. Sealshipt combined heavy branding, advanced packaging technology and a consumer advertising campaign that promised unparalleled purity, in an attempt to create an oyster monopoly.


Dwight Estey, Wellfleet Historical Society President, volunteer archivist Dave Drabkin  and David Wright, author of The Famous Beds of Wellfleet, have assembled the story of the Sealshipt Oyster System; a vertically integrated corporation that saw a golden marketing opportunity within the nation’s fears about food safety. The story combines aspects of Wellfleet’s iconic oyster industry with elements of advanced technology, entrepreneurial spirit and Gilded Age predatory business practices and arson, to form a very interesting narrative.



 For more information please call the Museum at 508-896-3867 ext. 133.