Cape Cod Museum Trail – The Cape Cod Museum of Art

Cape Cod Museum of Art

By Mary Moran

The Cape Cod Museum of Art’s mission is “to collect, study, interpret, and exhibit works by outstanding artists with a regional association. The museum’s collections and exhibitions also include works drawn from a broader context, providing a more comprehensive understanding of our regional artistic heritage. Through its educational and outreach programs, the museum seeks to preserve this heritage by fostering artistic and cultural growth.”

In 1980, Harry Holl, a potter and sculptor, got together with Roy Freed, an artist and lawyer, and proposed the idea of opening an art museum with primary focus on artists with association to Cape Cod and the Islands. After the proposition, the men assembled a group of artists, activists, and educators to create the Scargo Lake Museum in January of 1981. Only a year later the name would be changed to the Cape Cod Museum of Fine Arts and a membership campaign would begin. By 1984, the museum had gathered 1,000 interested and active members. A quaint storefront in Theater Marketplace (Dennis Village) would be the first home of the museum. Expansion of the museum was inevitable and quickly occurring. In 1985, Cape Cod Museum of Fine Art’s trustees signed a lease agreement to build the museum on an acre of land at the Cape Playhouse, also located in Dennis. Two years later, the Davenport West family donated a building to house the collection. The building, however, was located in Harwich, a near-by mid-Cape town. A $300,000.00 dollar campaign was soon established. The purpose of the  fund raising effort was to transport the building from South Harwich to the Cape Playhouse grounds in Dennis. A refurbishing budget was also included in the fund raising effort. In September of 1987, the generously donated building was divided into eleven pieces and loaded onto seven trucks to make the journey to its new site. It took nearly three years for the reconstruction, but the museum finally opened in 1990.

In the mid-1990’s, the museum’s trustees and president launched a three-phase campaign to further expand and enrich the museum and its contents. Phase one was to turn the museum into a year-round, state of the art facility. The second phase was a renovation and addition in 2001 which included seven climate-controlled galleries, an auditorium, sculpture garden, museum shop, library, elevators, and more. The third and final phase was in the summer of 2003 with the formation of the Weny Education Center.

To further enhance the museum’s mission statement, its name was once again changed, this time to the Cape Cod Museum of Art. Today, the Cape Cod Museum of Art is the only museum completely dedicated to preserving and exhibiting works by artists of the entirety of the Cape Cod and Islands region. In order to continue the creativity and uniqueness of local artists and their work, the museum offers classes and workshops to both children and adults. Summer pottery and summer art camp are also available for children to cultivate their artistic sides. There is even an Art & Alzheimer’s Program where those with memory loss and their caregivers can learn and create beautiful works of art together.

Only a 50 minute drive from the Palmer House Inn, the Cape Cod Museum of Art is a wonderful place to visit in order to get a unique and view of Cape Cod and what it has to offer.

Cape Cod Museum of Art
60 Hope Lane
Dennis, MA 02638

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 gardens on 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 knowledgeable 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.