Currently on exhibit in our museum

Crossroads of Cultures: 1620, Pilgrims & Wampanoags

For millennia, people have looked out over the ocean to a distant horizon, and wondered what lay beyond. 

In November and December of 1620, the Wampanoag people and those aboard the Mayflower met at a crossroads, here on Cape Cod.

This exhibit explores, in detail, the interactions between these two cultures during the 5 weeks the Mayflower spent on Cape Cod before the ship headed to Patuxet, now Plymouth. 


Shellfishing Cape Cod: Past, Present, Future

Shellfish, water dwelling invertebrate animals, live on the seafloor or burrow just under the seabed surface. The fresh and saltwaters of Cape Cod are an essential habitat for many species of shellfish, finfish, animal, and plant life. 

In this exhibit, learn about what shellfish inhabit the Cape, what aquaculture farming consists of on the Cape, and what the equipment and history of shellfishing on the Cape has looked like over the years.


Before They Were Here: The Pilgrims’ Quest for Religious Freedom

Phase One of the museum’s Mayflower 400 exhibit, Before They Were Here, chronicles the life of the Pilgrims from 1606 before their departure for the New World in 1620.

Learn in-depth about the circumstances which made them leave England for Holland, and why they finally decided they must set sail for the New World.

Pete Culler’s Boat Shop

Pete Culler was a well-respected local boat designer and builder. His basic principles of design were simplicity and functionality.

The Culler Exhibit is a replica of Culler’s shop and features many of his tools, both hand and powered, some of which he built himself.


Inuit Art

Produced by the Inuit people of the Arctic, this collection of figurative art features highly detailed and expressive pieces showing animal, human, and geometric carvings.


Hyannis Port Railroad Wharf: 1854-1937

Prior to the Railroad Wharf in Hyannis Port, the nearest port for ships travelling to and from Nantucket was New Bedford, 80 nautical miles away. With the arrival of the Old Colony Railroad in the village of Hyannis, it made sense to extend the tracks a mile or so south and build a large wharf to shorten the trip to just 25 miles. 

After construction, the wharf became a major port of call for passengers and freight between Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, connected to Boston and other cities by train.


“Where Are We?” History of Navigation from 1200 BC

From ancient Polynesian stick charts and Icelandic spars to vintage nautical charts to modern electronic equipment from RDF to AIS, our newest exhibit covers navigation from 1200 BC to the present.


The sextant in our museum was used by donor Peter T. Damon on board the 110′ brigantine Romance, pictured above, in a round-the-world trip. Romance was also featured in the film version of James Michener’s epic novel Hawaii.


Elizabeth and William Graham Scrimshaw Collection

This scrimshaw exhibit is the largest private collection of scrimshaw displayed on Cape Cod. Collected by Elizabeth and William Graham over ten years of marriage, this extensive collection includes carved ivory, whale teeth, bone, baleen, and other material used by sailors as a way to pass the long months at sea.


The Anatomy of a Boat

Ever wonder where the Garboard Strake is on a boat? Museum Curator Don Stucke created this exhibit to show the construction of wooden boats both modern and ancient.

It showcases a variety of techniques used in boat building around the world.


Lightships of

Cape Cod

Lighthouses are a familiar sight on Cape Cod, and a cherished part of our maritime heritage. Lightships are less well known, but both were important in providing safe navigation along our coast. Lightships were manned vessels, positioned around dangerous shoals and areas of shifting sand that were too far from land for a lighthouse to be seen.