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Provincetown :: Sunday, April 23rd 2017

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Notes from Lands End

Tour Provincetown’s Cherished Museums

May 8th, 2014

A museum houses the physical records of a culture; its works of art, implements, furniture and clothing are all pieces of a bigger story. Provincetown is rich in this way. We love to collect and share our glorious past at Lands End. Let’s take a tour:

The summer-long centennial celebration culminates with a huge birthday party August 23rd.

The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum High Pole Hill Road 508-487-1310

In 1620, Provincetown Harbor was the pilgrim’s first destination and PMPM chronicles the almost-four-hundred years since the landing of the Mayflower. On exhibit for the 2014 season is “Our Forgotten Port: Provincetown’s Whaling Heritage.” Guest curator Amy Whorf McGuiggan says, “the show takes us from the earliest days of hunting whales in the bay to today as the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies is saving whales from extinction." This engaging exhibition is arranged chronologically showing how the industry of whaling was created, flourished and ended. PMPM Executive Director John McDonagh added, “It seems fitting that man is saving what it once destroyed and that Provincetown, in concert with nature, is playing an important role in this.”

The hilltop complex is also the site of the Pilgrim Monument, finished in 1910, and provides a lovely location for weddings and fundraising events with its breathtaking views.

The Whydah Museum
16 MacMillan Pier

Very few harbors have a waterfront museum and almost none contain the holdings of a pirate ship. Barry Clifford was driven to find pirate Black Sam Bellamy’s Whydah Galley, sunk during a nor’easter on April 26th, 1717. No one had ever found the hull of the boat, built for the slave trade, with its heavy treasure stolen from over 53 ships. After fifteen years of searching the ocean floor of Wellfleet, the explorer literally struck gold.

In 1996, Barry Clifford and his partner, Robert T. Lazier, purchased a building that once housed a fish buyer, then was a bar and is now a museum filled with artifacts, coins and tales of the high seas.

The Provincetown Public Library
356 Commercial Street

Built in 1860, the former Center Methodist church became the Chrysler Art Museum in 1958. Walter Chrysler, Jr., one of the most important modern art collectors of the twentieth century, chose to exhibit his vast holdings in the former house of worship. Outgrowing the space, he closed it and moved the collection to Norfolk, Virginia.

From 1976 to 2000, the imposing structure then became the Heritage Museum. In 2001, the townspeople voted for a major restoration, completed in 2011, to house the public library. David Dunlap, author of the highly anticipated book Building Provincetown, says “The library is the center of civic life and a cultural destination worth visiting, with the Rose Dorthea model, the Lipton Cup won by the original Rose Dorthea, paintings by Provincetown artists and, outside, the delightful Tourists by Chiam Gross.”

The Provincetown Art Association and Museum
460 Commercial Street

In its hundred years as an exhibition space for Provincetown artists, PAAM has a world-wide reach in its membership and patrons. It is alive with revolving exhibitions, artist talks, education for adults, an award winning youth program and truly marvelous openings, parties and concerts. Among the wonderful shows is “Women Pioneers” curated by Mike Wright and Breon Dunigan. On display are fifty works by women from the first 50 years of the association taken from PAAM’s own holdings, the Town of Provincetown and from the private collections of generous patrons.

The summer-long centennial celebration culminates with a huge birthday party on August 23rd. Go to http://www.paam.org for more.

Want to get the hours, admission fees and more information? Refer to the websites and telephone numbers included above.

Photos: Forgotten Port at PMPM, Mike Wright, The Bay, at PAAM, The Rose Dorthea Model at the library and Pioneering Women at PAAM.

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Laura Shabott lives in and writes about Provincetown. She is a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1992) and recently published a 2014 update of her five star guide to indie publishing, Confessions of an eBook Virgin: What Everyone Should Know before They Publish on the Internet.


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