New Museum Exhibits - Worth the Price of Admission
Whether you have a predilection for baseball, a penchant for sea tales and maritime history or a love for the intricacies of other cultures—specifically Black American and Cape Verdean—a new discovery awaits you in a trio of the latest museum exhibits in downtown Hyannis.
Cape Cod Maritime Museum, 135 South St., Hyannis
What a difference a year makes. Last year the Catboat Sarah was the museum’s centerpiece. The vessel is a replica of the 1886 Crosby Catboat, constructed by museum staff and volunteers using traditional boat-building methods, This year, after some changes and renovations to the inside of the building, two new maritime exhibits have begun their voyage at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum--the most substantial being the Sparrow Hawk.
The Sparrow Hawk is a 26-foot skeleton of a 17th-century trans-Atlantic vessel twice shipwrecked on the shores of Cape Cod in 1626. Seeing the weathered rib cage of the Sparrow Hawk first-hand, remarkably still intact, makes history more than a floating ghost ship; it gives historic events a very real and tangible form and shape. You can almost see the 30 to 40 boatmen, merchants and their Irish servants on the deck of the Sparrow Hawk, sailing the turbulent Atlantic seas from the south of England with the hopes of reaching southern tobacco plantations in the New World.
The second of the two brand new exhibits showcases an intimate look at the local fishing industry through the eyes of the modern community—mothers, wives, children and family members. The poignant patchwork composition of photos, text and personal experiences line the walls of the museum’s west wing, proudly documenting tomorrow’s maritime history today.
Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame, 397 Main St., Hyannis
Sport enthusiasts will get another chance to ogle memorabilia from the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Hall of Fame, which includes a few new surprises since moving from Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich to the dugout level of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum.
Cleverly crafted to resemble a baseball field, the museum displays memorabilia from the Cape Cod Baseball League’s considerable history; the league, in operation for more than 100 years, is considered one of the finest summer leagues in the nation, churning out countless future Major League Baseball stars.
Photos of past players, plaques of all Hall of Fame inductees, schedules and baseballs signed by alumni such as Nomar Garciaparra, Sean Casey, Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell, and Mo Vaughn are amongst the many displays. And new this year is an ambiance-filled media room with Fenway Park ‘box seating’, showing films and documentaries about the Cape Cod Baseball League.
The Heritage Zion Museum, 276 North St., Hyannis
Cape Cod and the Islands have a history as rich as the diverse cultures who built it. And the newest museum to celebrate and preserve a piece of this exceptional cultural history is the Heritage Zion Museum.
Housed within the old Zion Union Church, which was built almost a century ago and is a historic landmark in its own right, the museum tells the story of the African American and Cape Verdean communities living on Cape Cod from the early times when cranberry harvesting was a booming industry, up through the Civil Rights Movement and into the present.
Some of the stand-out exhibits include: the rocking chair of Eugenia Fortes, whom Howard Tobey, the President of the Museum’s Board and first African American police officer ever hired in the town of Barnstable, calls the Rosa Parks of Cape Cod for her involvement in local politics and social activism; a skylight that lights up into the ceiling to reveal the white gable of the original church; and selected artwork from local artists honoring these two communities.