Cape Cod Maritime Museum

Maritime Museum, Cape Cod’s 1st Museum

By Mary Moran | Photos by Pat O’Connell

Maritime Museum Wooden Sailboat

Wooden Sailboat

Located in the mid-Cape town of Barnstable, is the bustling and popular village of Hyannis. On the village’s waterfront the Maritime Museum 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.

Maritime Museum entrance

Maritime Museum entrance

The museum’s mission is to, “preserve 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.”

Maritime Museum rope fender

A hand knotted rope fender

Maritime Museum lighthouse boats

Some locations did not lend themselves to the building of a lighthouse. As a result, ships were anchored at the entrance to a harbor as a navigational aid at the Maritime Museum, Hyannis, MA, USA.

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.

Maritime Museum park

Climb Aboard Park.

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.

Maritime Museum lightships sign


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.

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.

Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A

Harriet Beecher Stowe room

Cape Cod's Emily Dickinson Room Five

Cape Cod’s Emily Dickinson Room Five

While all of our guestrooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day exploring museums and historic Cape Cod, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jetted tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.

Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.