That the Cape Ann Museum has been in operation for well over a century, and collecting objects tied to Cape Ann’s past since the early 1920’s?
Cape Ann Museum holds the preeminent collection of paintings and drawings by the American maritime artist, Fitz Henry Lane (1804-1865). This gives the organization a status that few other museums its size can claim. The Cape Ann Museum’s collections represent the history of Cape Ann, its people, its industries, and especially its art and culture. Permanent exhibits include visual artists and sculptors of the 19th and 20th century, the Folly Cove Designers, maritime trade and the fishing industry, and Cape Ann’s granite industry. The maritime and fisheries gallery provides a permanent home for the Great Republic, the 25 foot long sloop that famed Gloucester fisherman, Howard Blackburn single-handedly sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in 1901, as well as the original carved wooden statue of Our Lady of Good Voyage. I personally really enjoy the maritime and fisheries gallery.
The Cape Ann Museum is a great asset to Cape Ann, and a tremendous community resource. On the first floor is a multi-purpose room that currently serves as the hub of the Museum’s educational programming and as a space for showcasing works by young artists from throughout the community. They offer wonderful performances in the Folly Cove Auditorium, a couple of which I attended and enjoyed immensely; the Revels Repertory Company’s performance of A Celebration of the Sea was really great and had the packed house audience clapping, tapping their feet and singing along. On Fridays during August, they offer live music in the courtyard from 4:00 to 5:00, ranging from folk to classical, with tea and coffee donated by The Tea Company and cookies donated by Lark Fine Foods. The Cape Ann Museum maintains close ties with the children in Cape Ann’s public schools, who are welcome to visit at any time without charge. Planned tours and school education programs, tailored to the interests and grade levels of the students, are also free. The Museum is also writing an arts based curriculum for Gloucester High School, which they hope to replicate for other schools. The Museum offers a number of family and children’s programs, which you can check out at http://www.capeannhistoricalmuseum.org/education/children_sched.htm.
If you’ve never been to the Cape Ann Museum, you owe it to yourself to plan a visit soon. Guided tours of the Museum collections and the Captain Elias Davis House (1804) are offered Friday and Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. These tours are included with the price of admission to the Museum ($8, $6 for Cape Ann residents, seniors and students) and are a great way to explore the museum on a first visit, as you come away having learned so much more from the very knowledgeable docents, than you would on your own. If you have been before, maybe its time to go see what’s new. Visit http://www.capeannmuseum.org/special/exhibits.htm for a list of upcoming exhibits and programs. The Cape Ann Museum is located at 27 Pleasant Street in Gloucester, and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 to 5:00, and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00; closed on Monday.