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Philanthropy A to Z

Z – Zion Union Heritage Museum

Text by Allyson Plessner

Cape Cod would not be the effervescent, thriving peninsula it is today without the influence of a diverse African American and Cape Verdean population. As is the case with much of the United States, the roles of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color) have been largely ignored in the history of prosperous industries over the centuries—for Cape Cod, that consists predominantly of cranberries and whaling. The Zion Union Heritage Museum in Hyannis commemorates the influential contributions of those peoples and celebrates their continuing journeys through education as well as the display and preservation of historic artifacts and documents. The museum also hosts regular art installations, programs, and events.

As a museum, Zion shares the history of the Cape’s ethnic populations, primarily those of African American descent, but as an institution the museum has a far greater role to play in the futures of these populations and in relaying the importance of diversity across the Cape & Islands. At the core of that is a vast, complex history across America, and it is places like the Zion Union Heritage Museum that help the population to understand and reckon with their past in a way that makes it an instrumental tool going forward, allowing residents to look toward a vibrant and, most importantly, diverse future.  

To learn more and support the Zion Union Heritage Museum, visit

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