For almost one hundred years the dory was one of the most important small boats in the Atlantic Provinces and parts of New England.
When John Williams' dory shop was established in 1880, it was part of a dory-building industry which, at its peak, included at least seven shops along the Shelburne waterfront.
During the early part of this century the Williams Shop employed five to seven men and produced 350 dories per year.
Most of these dories were sold to Nova Scotian and American fishing captains who called at Shelburne to outfit their schooners before sailing to the offshore fishing grounds.
Visitors to the Dory Shop can see from start to finish how dories were built.
The museum is managed by the Shelburne Historical Society for the Nova Scotia Museum.