Heritage was founded in 1969 by J.K. Lilly, III. Our mission is to celebrate American culture and inspire 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. Heritage Museums & Gardens is a private, not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees: Tracy Isham
President and CEO: Ellen Spear
HERITAGE MUSEUMS & GARDENS STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS
Heritage employs 28 year-round employees and over 50 seasonal employees. Each year, 177 volunteers donate their time to Heritage and interns earn college credit and gain real-world experience through the Heritage Horticultural Internship Program.
Located in historic Sandwich on Cape Cod, Heritage attracts children and adults from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, New England, the northeast region, the U.S. and overseas. Heritage welcomes around 132,000 visitors annually. Approximately 47% of our audience is comprised of year-round residents of Cape Cod and eastern Massachusetts and 53% are visitors to Cape Cod from all 50 states and from around the world. Heritage provides special outreach to youth, serving 7,000 children annually through several specially designed programs.
HOURS OF OPERATION
Heritage operates from mid-April to mid-October and offers Gardens Aglow, a holiday festival of lights on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from late November until just before Christmas.
ABOUT THE MUSEUMS
Heritage offers visitors three gallery experiences:
- The Special Exhibitions Gallery, a replica of the Revolutionary War building “The Temple of Virtue” where George Washington bestowed the first Purple Heart to a wounded soldier in Windsor, New York. This Gallery hosts special exhibitions.
- The American Art & Carousel Gallery houses our working 1908 carousel manufactured by Charles Looff. This gallery also hosts Heritage’s permanent collection of over 12,000 significant items, including New England folk art, paintings, weather vanes, Nantucket baskets, scrimshaw, shop signs and more.
- The Automobile Gallery is located in a reproduction of the Round Stone Barn at Hancock Shaker Village. The collection includes 39 cars from 1899 to 1962, including a 1909 White Steam Car which was the first official automobile of a United States President, the 1931 Duesenberg formerly owned by film icon Gary Cooper and the 1922 Rolls Royce Phaeton which was manufactured in Springfield, MA.
ABOUT THE GARDENS
Heritage is set on 100 acres and offers 65 acres of gardens, walking trails and peaceful places. There are tens of thousands of plants populating Heritage. Of these plants, 5,000 have been documented and include plant species such as blooming annuals, colorful trees and shrubs, and natural Cape Cod flora. The Gardens also include:
- collections of world-renowned Dexter rhododendrons, daylilies, hostas and hydrangeas.
- the Old East Mill, a windmill built in Orleans, Massachusetts in 1800; a labyrinth designed by Marty Cain, one of the best-known labyrinth designers in North America; the Hart Family Maze Garden and the Cape Cod Hydrangea Garden.
- a mature collection of trees, many of which are rare or unusual. Many of the trees are native to various parts of the globe including China, Korea and Japan.
In 2017 Heritage Museums & Gardens will offer two special exhibits. Painted Landscapes: Contemporary Views features landscape paintings by over 40 of America’s best-known contemporary painters, including Alex Katz, Paul Resika, and April Gornik. Points of View features works related to the concept “point of view,” framing viewpoints, distorting points of view, and magnifying that which can be seen in the distance.
Heritage offers a variety of educational programs for children and adults, including lectures and workshops, and The Hundred Acre School, a private STEM-based preschool.
Heritage offers a variety of events throughout the year, including The Rhododendron Festival in May, Family Fun Fridays in July and August, the Heritage Annual Auto Show in June, Hydrangea Festival in July, and Gardens Aglow, an annual holiday festival featuring over 10 miles of lights, holiday crafts and decorating ideas, model train displays, a gingerbread display, musical performances, visits with Santa and more.
Hidden Hollow is a two-acre area designed to help children and families rediscover the joy of being outside together. It features areas that encourage creative play and a love of nature, a performance space, a children’s garden, and a 40-foot tall giant treehouse.
MUSEUM SHOP AND CAFÉ
The Shop at Heritage offers items by local artisans, unique home décor gifts, commemorative items, treasures for children and more. The Magnolia Café offers on-site food and beverages.
Annual Unrestricted Operating Revenue – 2016: $4.2 million
Top Funding Sources: 52% Earned Revenue, 25% Contributions, 23% Other