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Philanthropy Cape-Style

Heritage Museums & Gardens

Text by Rachel Walman

Heritage Museum & Gardens has celebrated the landscapes and culture of the Cape Cod region for over 50 years. The sprawling acreage and gardens, interactive displays and historical exhibits inspire people of all ages to explore and learn together.

Bringing timely awareness and mindfulness about the land upon which we live, next year Heritage is opening ‘Creating Cape Cod’, an exhibit about how Cape Cod became a tourist destination, as well as ‘Treasured Trash’. These exhibits and outdoor sculptures examine the increase in tourism and human impact over the decades.

To more tangibly connect their most impressionable target audience, Heritage opened ‘Hidden Hollow’ eleven years ago, to address the need for children to relate to the world around them. “Hidden Hollow helps children feel comfortable in and connect with nature,” Anne Scott-Putney, President and CEO of the Heritage, explains. “It provides a way for independent exploration and discovery.” Based on positive family feedback, they made the leap to starting The Hundred Acre School (for Pre-K through First Grade), designed around the STEM principles featured in Hidden Hollow.

For the past two years, Heritage has collaborated with members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to build a wetu dwelling, develop The Three Sisters Garden and present the Mashpee Wampanoag Festival Day. “We worked with SmokeSygnals, a native-run creative agency,” Scott-Putney says. “It was wonderful to see visitors very interested in the history. It’s not just about the past, it’s about how to connect the past with the present, and to help people understand that the Tribe and its members share a common legacy as well as being a very vibrant and vital part of today’s community.”

Heritage also works with The Cape Cod Hydrangea Society to present a 10-day festival during the height of hydrangea season, as well as with the town of Sandwich and PTSA from Sandwich High School, including the STEM Academy, to produce a Halloween extravaganza. “The proceeds are split between Heritage and various groups and clubs at the high school,” Scott-Putney relates. “They all work together and provide many volunteers to help make it a successful event.”

“We’re a place that people have come back to year after year, just like they come back to Cape Cod, because things change every year at Heritage–but some things always remain the same,” muses Scott-Putney. “For a lot of people, it’s like coming home.”

For visitor and membership information, visit heritagemuseums&gardens.org.



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