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A guide to Cape Cod and the Islands

Cape Cod MA

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Cape Cod Museums

  Cape Cod's colorful history is the reason why the Cape contains so many great museums today. A visit to one of Cape Cod's museums is a great family outing (children are specifically catered to at many museums) and can also satisfy the most inquisitive history buff, naturalist, or future scientist.

Museums on Cape Cod and the Islands.

Upper Cape Cod

Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center

Location: Cape side of canal, 60 Ed Moffitt Drive, Sandwich MA : (508) 833-9678   

Times: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays (daily after June 25). Admission: free.

What You'll See: Exhibit includes a retired 41-foot U.S. Army Corps of Engineers patrol boat, continual DVD presentations about the history of the canal, canal critters and wildflowers;y and interactive exhibits


Aptucxet Trading Post Museum

Location: 24 Aptucxet Road (off Shore Road), Bourne 508-759-8167

Times: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Admission: $5, $4 seniors or AAA members, $2 children, $10 family.

What You'll See: Museum is a replica of a trading post on the site by the Plymouth Colony in 1627 for trade with the Native Americans and Dutch.


Bourne Historical Society

Location: 30 Keene St., Bourne Village: (508) 759-6928

Times: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays year-round

What You'll See: Information on historic sites, publications, tours and educational programs, and membership.


Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Visitor Center

Location: Route 28, East Falmouth; (508) 457-0495

Times: 10 am.-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays

What You'll See: Situated on a picturesque bluff overlooking Waquoit Bay. Its headquarters are the site of research on coastal waters and peoples impact on them. They also have displays, various activities and nature trails.  


Woods Hole Historical Museum

Location: 573 Woods Hole Road Woods Hole; (508) 548-7270

Times: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays year-round

What You'll See: Provides extensive archives for researchers


Cape Cod Children's Museum

Location: 577 Great Neck Road South, Mashpee; (508) 539-8788

Times: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays - Fall hours: M-F, 10-3; Sat. 10-5, Sun. noon to 5

What You'll See: Many hands-on exhibits, science, arts and crafts workshops, . Includes Toddler Castle, Starlab Planetarium (call for scheduled times) and  pirate ship. Admission is $7; $6 seniors 60+; free for individuals with a military ID.


Mashpee Historical Commission

Location: 16 Great Neck Road North, Mashpee; (508) 539-1438

Times: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays and the first Saturday of each month year-round

What You'll See: Currently featuring the exhibit "Popponesset, New Seabury Through The Years." Displays of the Old Indian Meeting House, Popponesset and Camp Farley, the New Seabury Golf Course, the churches in Mashpee, and more.


Sandwich Glass Museum

Location: 129 Main St.; (508) 888-0251

Times: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

What You'll See: See beautifully crafted glass made in Sandwich between 1825 and 1888. $3.50. Group rates available.


Green Briar Nature Center

Location: 6 Discovery Hill Road, (off of Route 6A), East Sandwich; (508) 888-6870

Times: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

What You'll See: Nature trails, live animal exhibits and programs for children and families. The center is operated by the Thornton W. Burgess Society. Donations are accepted.


Mid - Cape Cod

Cape Cod Maritime Museum

Location: 35 South St., Hyannis  MA. : 508-775-1723  

Times: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays and by appointment. Admission: $5, $4 seniors and students, free for children under 7.  

What You'll See: Museum offers permanent and rotating exhibits and hands-on activities for children. Seasonal sails available on Crosby catboat  


John F. Kennedy Museum

Location: 397 Main Street, Hyannis (508) 790-3077

Times: Open Feb - Apr and Oct - Dec, Wed-Sat, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

What You'll See: Displaying muti-media exhibits that focus on Kennedy's time spent on Cape Cod ( 1934 - 1963 )


Cahoon Museum of American Art

Location: 4676 Falmouth Road (508) 428-7581

Times: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays year-round

What You'll See: A large collection of marine paintings from the 19th- and early 20th-century , American impressionism and paintings by contemporary artists Ralph and Martha Cahoon. Housed in 1775 Colonial farmhouse.


Cape Museum of Fine Arts

Location: 60 Hope Lane (Cape Playhouse Center for the Arts), Dennis; (508) 385-4477

Times: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays except for holidays

What You'll See: Right off of historic Route 6A the Cape Museum of Fine Arts features special exhibitions and a permanent collection. Lectures, classes, trips and ReelArt Cinema. $5, free ages 15 and under, $3 groups of 15 or more.  


Coast Guard Heritage Museum

Location: 3353 Main St. (Route 6A), Barnstable Village MA. : 508-362-8521  

Times: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission: $5, free for children under 10.  

What You'll See: Scale-model ships, aircraft, navigation lights, lightships, lighthouses, ship's bells, artwork, books and commemorative coins, and more.


Jericho Historical Center

Location: Trotting Park Road and Old Main Street, West Dennis; (508) 508-385-2232.

Times: Wednesdays and Fridays by appointment.  

What You'll See: See the Cape Cod of Olde. This 1801 sea captain's home with Sandwich glass and antiques, also offers a Museum Barn with antique tools, country store, and Driftwood Zoo.  


Lower Cape Cod

Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

Location: 869 Main Street  Route 6A, Brewster; (508) 896-3867

Times: 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sundays year-round

What You'll See: Great for Kids! Explore the nature trails, and then check out the exhibits, salt- and fresh-water aquariums, library, gift shop, films and family programs. $5, $2 children age 5-12, children 4 and under free. Free admission first Monday of the month through April.


Salt Pond Visitor Center at Cape Cod National Seashore

Location: Route 6, Eastham; (508) 255-3421

Times: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily.

What You'll See: Complete your visit to the National Seashore by checking out these nature and history exhibits, a film, self-guided walking and bike trails.


Expedition - Whydah Sea Lab and Learning Center

Location: 16 MacMillan Wharf, Provincetown (508) 487-8899  

Times: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

What You'll See: Features treasures from the Whydah (an authentic pirate shipwreck ) as well as displays on diving, artifact conservation and the lives of pirates. $5 for adults, $3.50 ages 6-12.


Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum

Location: High Pole Hill Road, Provincetown MA : (508) 487-1310  

Times: Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Admission: $7; $5 ages 62 and older and students 15 and older with ID; $3.50 ages 4-14; free for ages 3 and under.

What You'll See: Museum features history of Provincetown and the Outer Cape with exhibits on the Pilgrims and the Mayflower, as well as the monument itself.


The Islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket

Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Location: 59 School St., Edgartown; 627-4441

Times: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays

What You'll See: Relive Vineyard history as you tour the twelve exhibit rooms, each one examining a different period in the Islands past. There are also exhibits featuring a whaleboat and hand-pumped fire engine used 1854-1925, American Indian and oral history exhibits, plus, Huntington Research Library, the island's main historical library and reference center. $6, $4 ages 6-15, free for children under 6.


Seamen's Bethel Museum

Location: 15 Beach St., Vineyard Haven; 693-9317

Times: Open year-round on weekday mornings (hours vary please call)

What You'll See: Sailors and sea Captains would gather here when their ships were in port. It offers a fine collection of historical photographs, maritime artifacts, and ship models.



Whaling Museum

Location: 13 Broad St.  Nantucket MA. : 508-228-1894

Times: February 15-April 6 Saturdays & Sundays 11AM – 3 PM

April 12-May 23 (closed on Easter, April 20) Daily 11 AM – 4 PM

Mary 24-October 31 Daily 10 AM – 5 PM

November 1-November 23 Saturdays & Sundays 11 AM – 4 PM

See for special hours for Festival of Wreaths & Festival of Trees.

Admission: $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (ages 65+), $5 for youth (ages 6-17), and free for children under 6.

What You'll See: Features a restored 1847 candle factory, signature daily programming, designated children’s area in the Discovery Room, expanded top-quality exhibition space, a fully accessible rooftop observation deck overlooking Nantucket harbor, and the sperm whale skeleton.


Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum

Location: 158 Polpis Road, Nantucket, MA : (508) 228-1885  

Times: Thursday, May 24 through Columbus Day, Monday, October 8, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.

What You'll See: The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum preserves the memory of those Islanders who risked their lives to save shipwrecked mariners.


Other Nantucket museums include …

Old Mill, Oldest House, Greater Light, Old Gaol, & Fire Hose Cart House Museums.

Location: Refer to NHA website.

Admission (includes one visit to the Whaling Museum, Old Mill, Oldest House, Greater Light, Old Gaol, & Fire Hose Cart House): $20 for adults, $18 for seniors (ages 65+), $5 for youth (ages 6-17), and free for children under 6.


   Whether its a solemn remembrance at the John F. Kennedy museum or exploring treasures from the authentic pirate shipwreck The Whydah, Cape Cods museums will both educate and delight the entire family.

Museums on Cape Cod

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