Mysteries and Revelations – Discovering Cape Cod’s Museum Treasures

24 Sep Mysteries and Revelations – Discovering Cape Cod’s Museum Treasures

…An historic painting of great value was stolen from Provincetown and years later found in Tucson, Arizona…an engraved spoon enigmatically framed leads to the discovery of a little known funeral practice…an outrageous scam to harvest gold from sea water is revealed…

At the Cape Cod Museum of Art

September 24 to November 26

 10 a.m. to-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays

Admission: $9    Seniors: $7     Ages 13-18: $5;      Students: 19+: $7;     Members  & Children Free


Intriguing objects and their stories reveal fascinating facts about an unfamiliar past for Cape Cod and the Islands in this first Cape-wide collaboration of 36 art, science and history organizations on exhibit at the Cape Cod Museum of Art (CCMoA).

Pondering unsolved mysteries or questioning true or false stories behind a wide range of artifacts, paintings, photographs, and curiosities, visitors will learn the remarkable truths and legends uncovered by these singular treasures preserved by each participating organization.

“Mysteries & Revelations” was organized by Cape Cod Museum of Art Director Edith (Deede) Tonelli and Guest Curator Amanda Wastrom in response to the theme for New England Museum Association’s Conference this year:  “Truth & Trust: Museums in a Polarized Society.”  The Conference takes place in Falmouth from October 24 – 27.

NEMA Conference 2017

When visitors go to a museum, they expect what they see to be true, Tonelli told the Cape Cod Times as she related the exhibit to NEMA’s theme.

“How do we get to the truth?” asks Tonelli.  “This exhibit shines a light on the work of Cape Cod museum professionals who are on the front lines of documenting and preserving our history.  Ultimately, we—our culture and our history—are defined by the stories that we preserve and share with our community.  We invite our community to enter this show with their own stories and add to our shared cultural identity.”

The collaborative exhibit is curated by Amanda Wastrom.

Some of the treasures that will be on display are:



A Mammoth Tooth from Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

A giant 12,000-year-old tooth discovered during excavation of the Cape Cod Canal uncovered truths hidden for millennia.  (Image attached)




A Family’s Decorative Hair Wreath (circa 1880) from Atwood House & Museum

This unique remembrance is believed to be created with strands of hair from members of a family.  The variety of hair highlights the exquisite details of this piece by creating shadows and depth to the floral designs.  (Image attached)



A Bronze Death Mask of Abraham Lincoln and Slave Shackles from Zion Union Heritage Museum 

These are stark reminders of the true history shared by our country that is part of our national discourse right now.




A painting that belonged to PAAM that was stolen and found.

Gerritt Beneker’s painting Under a Wharf was one of the original five works donated to PAAM upon its founding in 1914. It was on loan to Town Hall and stolen in the 1988 and documents show how it was discovered in 1999 in Tucson, AZ.    (Image attached)


CCMoA will be displaying work by Thomas Eastwood an artist whose work is in the museum’s collection but about whom little is known.  The Museum is asking for help from the community to discover facts about his life and work.

Tonelli will be one of the Keynote Panelists at the NEMA Conference in Falmouth on October 25, and will also moderate a discussion session about Mysteries & Revelations on October 26.  In addition, the participants in the conference are invited for a pre-conference tour to see the exhibit, the Cape Cinema and the Cape Playhouse.

Here is a list of currently participating organizations from 12 Cape Cod towns as well as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. To learn more about all the museums on the Cape, click here.

Artists Association of Nantucket

Atwood House & Museum

Barnstable Historical Society

Brewster Historical Museum

Cahoon Museum of American Art

Caleb Nickerson House

Cape Cod Military Museum

Cape Cod Museum of Art

Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

Centerville Historical Museum

Chatham Marconi Maritime Center

Coast Guard Heritage Museum

Eastham Windmill

Falmouth Museums on the Green

Falmouth Public Library

Heritage Museum & Gardens

Highfield Hall & Gardens

Josiah Dennis Manse Museum

Martha’s Vineyard Museum

Nantucket Historical Association

Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum

Nye Family of America Association, Inc.

Orleans Historical Society

Osterville Historical Museum

Pilgrim Monument & Museum

Provincetown Art Association & Museum

Sandwich Glass Museum

Sturgis Library

Thornton W. Burgess Society

Truro Historical Society

W.B. Nickerson Cape Cod Archives

Wellfleet Historical Society & Museum

Wing Fort

Woods Hole Historical Museum

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Archives

Zion Union Heritage Museum




No Comments

Post A Comment