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Heritage Museums And Gardens

Heritage Museums And Gardens
67 Grove Street
508-888-3300

Mission:

Heritage Museums & Gardens celebrates American culture and inspires people of all ages to explore, discover and learn together. We do this through excellence in horticulture, garden design, outdoor discovery and the exhibition of great collections.

History:

The Wing Family


The tract of land now known as Heritage Museums & Gardens played an important role in the history of the town of Sandwich. In 1677, Lydia Wing Hamilton Abbott was the first resident to live on the land. As the widow Hamilton, she resided with her two sons on a spot near what is now the Special Exhibitions Gallery just south of Upper Shawme Pond. She lived there in great poverty despite a second marriage and assistance from her family and the Quakers of the town. After her death, Lydia’s brother Daniel Wing, Jr. and his two sons, Samuel and Zeccheus, bought Lydia’s little house, now known as Orchard House.

Samuel, his wife and six children lived in the house until the children married and moved away. When Samuel died suddenly, Zeccheus bought out Samuel’s children’s share of the estate. Zeccheus died in 1784 and in 1794 Orchard House itself was sold, dismantled and reassembled as an ell on a house at 14/16 Grove Street, where it can still be seen today. At present much of the Wing family farm remains part of the grounds of Heritage. Although members of the Wing family have not lived on the property for years, their heritage remains a vital part of our history.

The Dexter Family

The internationally-known Charles Owen Dexter was the next owner of the land. He bought the property, then known as Shawme Farm, in 1921. Mr. Dexter was a successful textile manufacturer in New Bedford. With his uncle and cousin, he established the Beacon Manufacturing Company which became one of the largest manufacturers of cotton blankets in the United States. A true renaissance man, he was active in civic affairs as well as a photographer, violinist and yachtsman. At the age of 59, Mr. Dexter was told that he wouldn’t have long to live which led him to purchase Shawme Farm. However, despite the warning, he lived for another 22 years. Beginning in 1921, Mr. Dexter and his wife spent summers at the farm and for the next 15 years he worked in his garden hybridizing plants. He started with vegetables and expanded his interests to rhododendrons.

It was for the latter that he became well-known. Mr. Dexter employed a landscape architect, Paul Frost of Cambridge, to turn the wooded farm into a country estate. In 1935, he moved to the farm full-time and commuted to work every day.

The Lilly Family

The Lilly family, originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, spent their summer vacations in Falmouth, so when Josiah Kirby Lilly wanted to found a museum dedicated to his father, he chose Cape Cod.

Mr. Lilly first thought that he would create an automobile museum, but after researching other institutions, he decided that it would not have a broad enough appeal. It was after his father’s death in 1966 that the idea of creating a public place to house several of the Lilly family collections began to take shape. Born in 1893, Josiah collected things from the time he was a child, beginning with his movie theater ticket stubs. After finishing college in 1914, he joined the family firm of Eli Lilly and Co. He served in France in WWI where he continued to collect things. After the war he returned to work in the family business and succeeded his brother as president in 1948. Later he became chairman of the board; a position he held until he died.

He continued to work on his collections, amassing 20,000 books and 17,000 manuscripts which he gave to the University of Indiana. Of his gold coin collection, 6,113 pieces went to the Smithsonian. After J. K. Lilly, Jr. died, his son bought the antique firearms and military miniature collections from his father’s estate. With architect Fenton Scott Barrow and landscape architect Philip Ansell, he planned the buildings and grounds to be a suitable background to showcase the collections. They decided on a replica of the Round Barn from the Shakers of Hancock Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts for the cars. A replica of the Temple of Virtue from New Windsor, New York, where George Washington awarded the first Purple Heart to a soldier, was selected to hold the antique firearms and the military miniatures. Plans were made to add the gatehouse (ticket office and museum store) and the Old East Mill, from Orleans. In 1971, to entice more women to the museum, Mr. Lilly bought the Charles I. D. Looff carousel. Housed in a building built especially for its display, the carousel would be joined by three galleries holding American art.

Today the Museum serves more than 80,000 visitors annually who come from around the world to visit. Three gallery buildings house special and permanent exhibitions. Other additions to the grounds include a Labyrinth, Hart Family Garden Maze, Flume Fountain and Hidden Hollow.


Upcoming Events at Heritage Museums And Gardens

Exhibition - Impressionist New England: Four Seasons of Color and Light

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Exhibition - Alfred Glover in the Garden

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Exhibition - Impressionist New England: Four Seasons of Color and Light

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Exhibition - Alfred Glover in the Garden

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Gearhead Garage

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2024 from 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Exhibition - Impressionist New England: Four Seasons of Color and Light

Thursday, Jul 25, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Exhibition - Alfred Glover in the Garden

Thursday, Jul 25, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Exhibition - Impressionist New England: Four Seasons of Color and Light

Friday, Jul 26, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Exhibition - Alfred Glover in the Garden

Friday, Jul 26, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Exhibition - Impressionist New England: Four Seasons of Color and Light

Saturday, Jul 27, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Exhibition - Alfred Glover in the Garden

Saturday, Jul 27, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Exhibition - Alfred Glover in the Garden

Sunday, Jul 28, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Exhibition - Impressionist New England: Four Seasons of Color and Light

Sunday, Jul 28, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
Read More »

Exhibition - Alfred Glover in the Garden

Monday, Jul 29, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Exhibition - Impressionist New England: Four Seasons of Color and Light

Monday, Jul 29, 2024 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Heritage Museums and Gardens
Sandwich, MA
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Recent News

Heritage Museums and Gardens News - May 29, 2024

Installing Drip Irrigation Hydrangeas Love It and You Can Do It! Thursday, June 13 | 5:30-7:30 pm Successful irrigation for hydrangeas (and all the woody ornamentals in your garden) is all about surface irrigation via low flow drip…

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Heritage's 52nd Annual Auto Show 2024

Heritage’s 52nd Annual Auto Show The Auto Show is sponsored by Arbella Insurance Foundation. This family-friendly event highlights antique and classic automobiles, hot rods, and custom cars in excellent original or restored condition. All…

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Heritage Museums and Gardens News - April 10, 2024

April Programs Opening April 20 The staff at Heritage is getting the gardens and galleries ready for your arrival! We officially open Saturday, April 20, and we couldn't be more excited. If you can't wait until then, consider joining us for…

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Heritage Museums and Gardens News - April 3, 2024

Events, Programs, and More! Our events calendar is steadily filling up - and we're excited to announce that you can begin purchasing or reserving tickets to many of our exciting events and programs. Reserve your mother a ticket for Mother's Day,…

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Opening Day Alert: Our 2024 Season Starts Soon

Opening Day is April 12! We're just a few weeks away from re-opening our doors! Get ready for high-flying fun and epic climbs – we can't wait to have you back in action. Explore our spring schedule, with extended Spring Break hours…

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Summer 2024 Programs at The Hundred Acre School

SUMMER FUN IS BACK! Heritage Museums & Gardens opens its doors during the summer to offer weekly programs at The Hundred Acre School. These programs are open to the school’s current students and the general public. We allow…

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Heritage Museums and Gardens News - March 8, 2024

Opening April 20 Calling All Gardeners! Get the expert help you want to create the garden of your dreams. Whether you're looking to introduce more variety into your garden or take special care of your prized hydrangeas (or both!) Kerry Ann Mendez…

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Pre-K Enrollment is Now Open

Enrolling Now for Pre-K! Your child is filled with a natural curiosity, wonder, and desire to explore. When you nurture those impulses the right way, the results are remarkable. The Hundred Acre School was created to cultivate young minds using…

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Love Is In the Air - Enter to Win a Family 4 Pack

Enter to Win a Family 4 Pack! At The Adventure Park it’s always love at first zip And we’re sharing the love with one lucky winner for Valentine’s Day. To enter the giveaway, go to our Facebook or Instagram post and tag a friend…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - January 24, 2024

Opening April 20, 2024 Exhibits: What's in Store for 2024? We're so glad you asked! This season is going to be vibrant, eclectic, and even - electric. Check out what you can find on the grounds and in the galleries this season at Heritage:…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - January 11, 2024

Opening April 20, 2024 We're Looking Ahead, and We Like What We See! Dear Friends and Neighbors, As we step into the New Year, I extend my warmest greetings to all! Thanks to your enthusiastic participation in exhibits and sold-out programs,…

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Participate in the Exciting Chubb Challenge!

Dear Friends, We have exciting news about a significant opportunity for you to participate in the Capital Campaign for the new Welcome Center at Heritage Museums & Gardens. Heritage friends Patricia and Steve Chubb have stepped up with a…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - November 15, 2023

Heritage Ornament 2023 Introducing: Holly This year’s collectible glass ornament is an interpretation of Holly. This one-of-a-kind limited edition hand-blown piece is crafted by local glass artist Michael Magyar of Glass Studio on Cape Cod. …

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The Adventure Park Re-Opening News - November 8, 2023

Opening Update! We're working toward an April 2024 opening, with the exact date to be announced in early 2024. In the meantime, check out our new website and stay tuned for our upcoming holiday sale. Plus, we're starting to take bookings for 2024…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - October 25, 2023

Happy Halloween! The Symbolism of Gravestones, by Jennifer Madden, Director of Collections & Exhibitions Have you ever considered that graveyards are like outdoor museums? A walk through one will take you back in time and face to face with…

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Exciting Update From The Adventure Park At Heritage Museum And Gardens

Great News! We're thrilled to announce that, after a long hiatus, The Adventure Park at Heritage Museums & Gardens has secured the ability to re-open. While we are not yet able to announce an re-opening date, we wanted to let you know…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens - What a Great Season

Thank You for a Wonderful Season! Letter from the President & CEO Over the past year, we've had the privilege of sharing the beauty of our gardens, the richness of our heritage, and the wonders of our exhibitions with you. We enjoyed seeing…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens: Gardens Aglow Tickets Are On Sale!

Gardens Aglow is an event that has become a treasured holiday tradition. The experience features beautiful light displays throughout the gardens, festive seasonal décor, and fun activities for all. At the J.K. Lilly III Automobile Gallery,…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - October 4, 2023

Open Daily through October 15 | 10 am - 5 pm Gardens Aglow Ticket Sales General ticket sales for the Cape's premier holiday event begin next week, October 11. But if you are a member, you don't have to wait. Your sale begins Today! Members,…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News : Gardens Aglow 2023

Gardens Aglow is an event that has become a treasured holiday tradition. The experience features beautiful light displays throughout the gardens, festive seasonal décor, and fun activities for all. At the J.K. Lilly III Automobile Gallery,…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - September 6, 2023

Heritage's Adventure Park Ruling - Letter from Anne Scott-Putney, President & CEO Dear Heritage Members and Friends, I am thrilled to share exciting news about the Adventure Park at Heritage. Last week, Barnstable County Superior Court…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - September 6, 2023

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - August 30, 2023

Upcoming Programs Member Mornings Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9 - 10 am Labor Day September 4 To all of our friends in the American workforce and to all retirees, we wish you a Safe and Happy Labor Day Weekend! Early Closure Saturday,…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - August 16, 2023

Gearhead Garage: Tomorrow! This unique event invites auto enthusiasts get up close and personal with our one-of-a-kind antique and classic car collection. Go behind-the-scenes into Heritage’s auto storage area and maintenance garage and get…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - August 9, 2023

Upcoming Programs Member Mornings Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9 - 10 am WCAI Creating Cape Cod Radio Interview August 9 - TODAY! 9 am on WCAI Tune in at 90.1, 91.1, 94.3 Gearhead Garage August 17 5 - 6:30 pm Featuring…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - August 2, 2023

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - July 26, 2023

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - July 19, 2023

Upcoming Programs Eureka! A National Garden Club Flower Show Beginning at 1 pm on July 19 The Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts' Southeastern District Flower Show is not to be missed! To learn more, please follow the link found here.…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - July 12, 2023

Announcing the new Welcome Center! As the largest cultural attraction on Cape Cod, Heritage Museums & Gardens welcomes 130,000 visitors a year to explore its exciting museum exhibits and nearly 100 acres of gardens, outdoor discovery areas,…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - July 5, 2023

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - June 21, 2023

Open Daily | 10 am - 5 pm Food Truck Friday Night! It's summer and the best way to celebrate is with food. The second best way to celebrate is food OUTSIDE! Who doesn't love al fresco dining? Food Truck Friday Night is back and there is…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - June 14, 2023

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - June 7, 2023

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - May 31, 2023

Upcoming Programs Member Mornings Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9 am - 10 am Run for the Rhodies 5K Trail Race Saturday, June 3 Race begins: 8:30 am Racer and spectator registration is now open! Click here to register. The…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - May 24, 2023

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Heritage Museums And Gardens - Rhododendron Festival

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - May 10, 2023

Grapes in the Garden Friday, May 19 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm Celebrate Mother's Day in style by treating your mother to the ultimate wine and food pairing experience at Grapes in the Garden. Indulge in a variety of premium wines and delicious bites…

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The Shop At Heritage And Other Fun Things

Did you know that The Shop at Heritage is open to the public? You don't have to buy a ticket to see all the wonderful things inside. The Shop is filled with hand-crafted products from local artisans, fun, seasonal décor, plus gifts for the…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens Highlights - April 27, 2023

We are on our 5th day of the season and each day keeps getting better and better. Thanks to friends old and new who have already come for a visit. Mother Nature is simply outdoing herself. The tulips are putting on a show, rhododendrons are…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens Highlights - April 19, 2023

OPENING DAY: APRIL 22 Join us for Earth Day! We are delighted to be opening the gates for yet another wonderful season here at Heritage. This year's Opening Day is extra special as it is also Earth Day. What a perfect place and time to share in…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens Highlights - March 29, 2023

In-Person Hydrangea Programs Pruning Hydrangeas: The Seasonal Approach Steps 2 & 3 Detail and Pinch Pruning – Selected Species Saturday, April 29 10 am-12 noon Join Mal Condon in his follow-up program to his Step 1 Regenerative…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens Highlights - March 16, 2023

Upcoming Events Pruning Hydrangeas: The Seasonal Approach Step 1 Regenerative Pruning - All Major Species Thursday, March 23 or Saturday, March 25 Heritage’s Curator of Hydrangeas, Mal Condon, has over many years developed the…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens Highlights - March 1, 2023

Highlights Who was Fanny Palmer? Many of are familiar with Currier & Ives, but what you may not know is one of their most prolific lithographers was a woman. In celebration of Women's History Month, we'd like to introduce you to one of our…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - February 15, 2023

Highlights President's Day is almost here! Director of Collections & Exhibitions, Jennifer Madden, gives us an inside look at the work of political caricaturist, Taylor Jones. Heritage's Permanent Collection has 39 of his presidential works.…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens News - February 1, 2023

Carousel Highlights The 1908 Looff Carousel Don't you just love the Carousel at Heritage? Of course, you do, it's a carousel. It is one of the most visited attractions here on the grounds, and if you've seen it, you know why. Hand-carved by…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens -2023 Announcements

We are delighted to announce our 2023 exhibit lineup! With new and reimagined exhibits, there will be something for everyone. Creating Cape Cod Due to popular demand, this exhibit has been extended through the 2023 season. With added features,…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens: A Trip Through Winters Past

America Through the Eyes of Currier & Ives Every year for Gardens Aglow, we select a few prints from Heritage’s collection of Currier & Ives to hang in the American Art & Carousel Gallery. These works are fan favorites for many…

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The Heritage Museums And Gardens Ornament Is Almost Here

Introducing the 2022 Heritage Ornament Allium Allium is the eleventh in a collectible series of ornaments originally launched in 2012. This one-of-a-kind, limited edition, hand-blown ornament is crafted by local glass artist Michael Magyar of…

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The Heritage Museums And Gardens Ornament Is Almost Here

The 2022 Heritage Ornament Sale Begins Next Week! Online sales will be opening in one week for this year's one-of-a-kind Heritage ornament. These ornaments are handcrafted by Michael Magyar at the Glass Studio on Cape Cod and this year's design…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens : Happy Halloween!

If you love coming to Heritage, you should consider coming to work here! We've got full and part-time opportunities available - even seasonal opportunities to work during Gardens Aglow (which, by the way, comes with tickets to this holiday event!).…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens - Thank You For A Spectacular Season

What a Great Season! The 2022 Regular Season was spectacular! The gardens were bursting with color, our new exhibits Creating Cape Cod. and Treasured Trash delighted thousands, our events and programs were so much fun, and we had the great…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens - More Halloween Tickets On Sale

Sandwich Halloween Festival Update! Due to popular demand, we've been able to squeeze in a very limited number of additional tickets for this event. These tickets are for new sales only and cannot be used for rescheduling. Tickets will sell out…

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Heritage Museums and Gardens Highlights - October 4, 2022

Highlights Art in Bloom Flower Show October 14 - 16, 10 am - 5 pm Objects from Heritage Museums & Gardens’ permanent collection will be uniquely showcased in this special three-day Floral Design event, held in the Heald Center of the…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens Highlights - September 28, 2022

Gardens Aglow Tickets On Sale Now! We're delighted to announce that Gardens Aglow tickets are on sale now! Included in this sale, there will also be a limited number of Flex Anytime Tickets, Gold Passes, and Santa VIP Experience tickets available.…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens Highlights - September 21, 2022

Fourth Friday Food Truck Night Fridays, food, and fun! You can have it all at Heritage during our final Fourth Friday Food Truck Night. We invite you to "dine out" with us one last time before the regular season is over. Challenge your group to a…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens Highlights - September 14, 2022

During Wellness Week, Heritage celebrates the mind-body connection, as well as our connection to the planet, through classes, informative self-guides for adults and families. Wellness Week offers you the opportunity to do those things and more!…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens Highlights - September 7,2022

Wellness Week: September 9-18 We're delighted to welcome you back to Wellness Week! Heritage celebrates the mind-body connection, as well as our connection to the planet, through classes, informative self-guides for adults and families, and more.…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens Highlights - August 30, 2022

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Heritage Museums And Gardens - Dine Out With Us

Fridays, food, and fun! You can have it all at Heritage during our Fourth Friday Food Truck Nights. Challenge your group to a themed family challenge, make a pollinator-themed craft, and play outdoor games with your whole crew. Listen to live music,…

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Heritage Museums And Gardens - What is Earth Extravaganza Day

Earth Extravaganza Day & Kid's Concert! Saturday, August 20, 10am - 2pm Heritage Museums & Gardens is the place to be for earth-friendly family fun! This event has something for each member of your party: family challenges, eco-themed…

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Heritage Museums and Gardens Highlights - August 3, 2022

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