The Beach Times

Visiting Some of the Mid-Cape's Lesser-Known Museums
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 6, 2020

The Mid-Cape is home to many of Cape Cod's most famous museums. In Hyannis alone, you'll find the Cape Cod Maritime Museum, the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, and the Toad Hall Classic Car Museum, while Yarmouth features the Whydah Pirate Museum and Cotuit has the Cahoon Museum of American Art.

When you spend time on the Mid-Cape, however, there are numerous other museums and historic venues that are worth checking out during your vacation. These venues might not draw the crowds of the area's more prominent institutions, but provide insight into Cape Cod's unique history in a very personal setting.

Here is what you should know about some of the less-known museums on the Mid-Cape.

Massachusetts Air and Space Museum

Located in Hyannis on Iyannough Road between the Cape Cod Mall and the Barnstable Municipal Airport is the Massachusetts Air and Space Museum. This new facility aims to highlight the state's contributions to the aerospace industry.

The museum has exhibits and offers presentations that educate visitors on aviation's past, present, and future in Massachusetts, in addition to a flight simulation experience.

Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children, and its hours vary based on the time of year.

Baxter Grist Mill

In Yarmouth, you'll come across the Baxter Grist Mill, which was initially constructed in 1710 and is still functioning to this day, albeit with numerous restorations. The original mill was powered by a waterwheel, while a turbine was added in 1860. That turbine is no longer in use, but it remains on the property.

You're free to wander around the Baxter Grist Mill property, and there is a picnic area if you want to bring lunch. The mill also sits right on Main Street and has Mill Pond right behind it, so you can spend a couple of hours in the area during your Cape Cod vacation.

Jericho Historical Center

West Dennis is home to the Jericho Historical Center, a museum that's housed in a Cape-style house constructed in 1801. The Baker family inhabited the home from the time it was built until 1955, and it contains paintings, textiles, and furniture from the 1800s.

There's also a barn on the property that has been converted into a museum. This barn has a variety of farm tools and equipment from the 19th century, in addition to carriages from elsewhere in Dennis.

The Jericho is only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from late June until the middle of September, so you'll have to pick your spot if you want to visit.

Winslow Crocker House

The Winslow Crocker House was built sometime around 1780 by Winslow Crocker, a Revolutionary soldier who later became a merchant. Crocker built the home in West Barnstable, and it was incredibly elaborate for the time, possibly because Crocker had earned a lot of money by selling alcohol.

This home remained in the Crocker family until the 1930s when Mary Thacher took over. She moved the house six miles away to its current home in Yarmouth Port and filled it with her collection of antique furniture, a state in which it remains today.

The Winslow Crocker House offers guided tours between early June and Columbus Day Weekend. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students, and $5 for children.

Centerville Historical Museum

The Centerville Historical Museum features separate rooms for the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, with each room containing clothing, art, and costumes from those periods. You'll also find rotating exhibits at the museum, each of which highlights a specific aspect of Cape Cod's history.

This museum sits in a historic house on Centerville's Main Street and has an outdoor area featuring a playground, as well.

You're in luck if you visit the Mid-Cape during the off-season, as the Centerville Historical Museum is open from early February until about a week before Christmas every day except Sunday and Monday.

Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, and kids under eight are free. You can also sign up for a membership when visiting with a group, as specific options provide you with free admission for multiple people.

Learning the Mid-Cape's History

The Mid-Cape is one of the most historically significant sections of Cape Cod because this is where large populations of people settled after departing from Plymouth and Sandwich in the early days of European expansion.

There are plenty of historic buildings that remain, and a lot of history to explore within the region.

If you're lucky enough to book a vacation rental on the Mid-Cape, make sure you spend a day away from the beaches and shops and learn a bit about how and why this part of the United States developed into what it is today.


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