Cape Cod Maritime Museum

By Mary Moran

Photos by Pat O’Connell

Located in the mid-Cape town of Barnstable, is the bustling and popular village of Hyannis. On the village’s waterfront is Cape Cod’s first museum. It is completely dedicated to the maritime history and the seafaring culture of the Cape and Islands. It is within easy walking distance of Main Street, the island ferry terminal, restaurants, unique shops  and beautiful beaches. Its location makes it an excellent part of a fun-filled day-trip on Cape Cod.

The museum’s mission is to, ”  Preserving the rich seafaring traditions which Cape Cod and the Islands are famous for. We accomplish this by preserving critical artifacts of bygone eras, and promoting the well known sailing skills and heritage through our exhibitions, the objects in our collection, public events, and our educational programs. We enable audiences of all ages to understand and enjoy Cape Cod’s maritime culture and experience the essence of what makes our corner of the country truly remarkable.”

To accomplish their mission, the museum’s staff offers a large variety of exhibits and educational programs for visitors of all ages. One exhibit allows visitors to learn about and view the types of vessels that have traversed local waters over the years. Models  are on display throughout the museum. They include a variety of sail boats in addition to power vessels, both large and small.  Many have been used for recreation and/or commercial endeavors.

The “Cook Boat Shop” is also located within the museum and is a working exhibit. Visitors are able to observe both traditional and contemporary styles of boat building, as well as watch the restoration process on older boats.

For children to get a hands-on experience, take them to the “Climb Aboard Park.” This is a 28 foot boat for the kids to play on and explore.

Other exhibits include a fine arts gallery. In this gallery, all of the art work has a maritime theme. There is also a guided historical walking tour of what is called “Sea Captain’s Row”. This is a historical walking tour, through Hyannis, where over a hundred sea captains once called home in the 1800s.

There are also rotating exhibits that are part of the Maritime Museum’s diverse galleries.

In addition, Educational Programs offered through the museum include boat building, fishing, navigation, knots tying, sailing, exploring shipwrecks and more.

This outstanding museum is approximately a 45 minute drive from the Palmer House Inn, the Cape Cod Maritime Museum is a great stop during a day of Main Street shopping or traveling to and from the Island of Nantucket.

For more information on the Cape Cod Maritime Museum, including hours and admission, visit their website at:

Cape Cod Maritime Museum
135 South Street
Hyannis, MA 02601

Be sure to check back with us soon at the Palmer House Inn’s, Innkeeper’s Diary, for more information on other museums along the Cape Cod Museum Trail.