On June 15, 1969, Heritage Museums & Gardens officially opened to the public, quickly becoming known for its wide assortment of art and autos, history and gardens, popular entertainment and exhibits, and good family-friendly fun.

True to its reputation and legacy as Cape Cod’s premier cultural and horticultural destination, Heritage will commemorate its 50th anniversary this June 15th with a fun-filled celebration complete with party-themed crafts and activities, and a can’t-be-beat throwback admission price. It all culminates with an evening concert featuring one of Heritage’s favorite musical acts, The New Black Eagle Jazz Band. Be sure to mark your calendars and come out and enjoy!

Heritage opens its 50th season on Saturday, April 27th with a special exhibit, 50 for 50: Fifty Years, Fifty Favorites. Scattered throughout the buildings and grounds are 50 treasures – plants, autos, folk art, militaria, scrimshaw, carvings, and more – that tell the collective story of the museum’s first 50 years. A mix of old friends, experts, and local leaders were invited to come select their favorites. Stroll through Heritage’s history and revel in a little taste of American ingenuity, culture, and the great outdoors. This exhibit will run from April 27- October 14.

In From Carriage to Classic: How Automobiles Transformed America, we present the origin story of the American automobile through 23 cars from Heritage’s permanent collection. How did the car emerge as a transformative cultural force of the twentieth century? What were early automobiles like? Why did gasoline become the fuel of choice? What ever happened to steam engines? How did the car change the daily lives of ordinary families? How much was a luxury car in the 1930s? Learn the answers to these questions and more. Come along for a ride from the late 1800s to the early 1960s and watch the car evolve from a horseless carriage to a streamlined symbol of freedom and independence. This exhibit will run from April 27- October 14.

Heritage Museums & Gardens will also explore how humans interact with our natural environment in the new outdoor exhibit Human / Nature.  The museum has invited five artists to install outdoor sculptures throughout the museum grounds and gardens. Over the course of the 2019 season, museum visitors will be able to view monumental public art and meet these artists as they install their pieces on Artist in Action days (May 3, May 23, July 26 & August 9). Visitors can further participate in hands-on workshops, called Art Adventures, where they can create masterpieces alongside the featured artists (May 4, July 27 & August 10). The artists represent a wide range of media, including metal, wood, fiber, sound, murals/painting, and more.

“Our 50th year gives not only us, but everyone, the opportunity to visit and explore our impressive collections and unique natural environment in a new way,” says Anne Scott-Putney, President and CEO at Heritage. “From the moment visitors arrive, there are multiple fun ways they can experience Heritage, including our behind-the-scenes tours that cater to their interests and get them up close and personal with our collections, gardens, and exhibits.”

Cherry Explosion

As the largest public garden in Southern New England and home to the most comprehensive collection of rhododendrons and hydrangeas in the country, Heritage’s gardens are truly a feast for the eyes! The beauty of these magnificent flowers is in full bloom during Rhododendron Festival(May 25- June 2) and Hydrangea Festival (July 12-21), which features the new North American Hydrangea Test Garden. Special horticulture events include Hydrangea University (July 12), led by industry experts, and the Standard Flower Show (July 16-18), a major flower show presented by The Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts Southeastern District’s garden clubs and award-winning Design & Horticulture Study Group.

Heritage also serves as home to notable gems of the automotive world that celebrate America’s love of automobiles as well as technological innovation. These vehicles convey both excellence in restoration and historic significance. The 47th Heritage Annual Auto Show (June 8; rain date June 9) is a popular, family-friendly event that highlights antique and classic automobiles, hot rods, custom cars, and motorcycles in excellent original or restored condition. Throughout the season, behind-the-scenes auto tours provide an exclusive peek at Heritage’s automobile collection in storage and inside information.

Heritage’s focus on family-friendly fun includes Kids’ Day (July 27), featuring music, entertainment, activities, and picnicking on the grounds. Families also can spend hours in the popular two-acre Hidden Hollow™ outdoor family discovery space which includes a Splash area with a discovery stream and a waterfall feature!

Returning this season, are the popular food truck events at Heritage at which visitors can experience the mobile food phenomenon and enjoy Heritage after hours. Three seasonally- themed events will take place from spring to fall and celebrate different areas of Heritage’s beautiful grounds. The Spring Fling (April 27), Summer Sizzle (August 10), and Fall Fest Friday(September 20) will all give participants access to exhibits, live music, games, and the chance to savor food from some of the area’s best-known food trucks. New this year will be the addition of local breweries offering tastings and beverages for sale.

Heritage is the place to be for Halloween fun once again! The Sandwich Halloween Festival(October 25-26), presented in partnership with the Sandwich High School and STEM Parent Teacher Student Association, will provide visitors of all ages with two nights of spooktacular fun, including costumed dance parties, carousel rides, crafts, and games.

To close out the season, Gardens Aglow (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; November 29- December 29), a treasured holiday family tradition, transforms the grounds with thousands upon thousands of holiday lights. Enjoy marshmallow roasting, a reindeer scavenger hunt, and a visit with Santa Claus in a Model T, take carousel rides, savor holiday treats at Magnolia Café, and more. A limited number of tickets will also be available for an exclusive Santa VIP Experience, available by advance sale only.  Families will be treated to early bird parking, story time, cookies and hot chocolate, a meet and greet with Santa, a holiday craft, and carousel rides. Participating families may then experience the rest of the Gardens Aglow holiday delights around the grounds for the remainder of the evening.

“Heritage not only offers experiences that can’t be found anywhere else, but also strengthens our bonds with family and friends,” says Scott-Putney. “It’s a place of joy and fun. It’s a place to make lasting memories. And it’s a place designed to be visited time and time again.”

Heritage is grateful for the support of the 2019 season sponsors, the Arbella Insurance Foundation and Cape Cod 5. The 2019 season runs from April 27-October 14. Open daily, 10 am-5 pm. More information is available online at heritagemuseumsandgardens.org or by calling 508-888-3300.