The Short List: Top 10 Museums on the Cape & Islands


Welcome to the Short List!

The Short List is a place for people to share opinions and discover new things on and about Cape Cod. We take your feedback and thoughts and share them with readers! We asked Cape Codders where the best museums are on the Cape. Thanks to all who voted!
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Cape Cod Museum of Natural History – Brewster

The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History preserves, exhibits, and interprets their own collections of natural history artifacts and displays relevant traveling and loan exhibits. The museum also collaborates with local and regional organizations on co-sponsored exhibits. The museum engages children and adults in high-quality programs, classes, lectures, panel discussions, workshops, films, walks, field trips, traditions and interactive exhibits that reveal the many facets of the natural world and the reciprocal impacts that humans and nature exert on each other.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Exhibit Center – Woods Hole

Visitors to WHOI’s Ocean Science Exhibit Center will learn about the Institution’s ocean science research and the vessels and tools developed by WHOI engineers and scientists for use in that research.

KA_dennis_cape cod museum of art_122315105Cape Cod Museum of Art – Dennis

The Cape Cod Museum of Art’s mission is to collect, study, interpret and exhibit works by outstanding artists with a regional association. The museum’s collections and exhibitions also include works drawn from a broader context, providing a more comprehensive understanding of our regional artistic heritage.

KA_Hyannis_JFK museum2_11315John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum

The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum Foundation preserves and promotes the legacy of President Kennedy, his family, and their deep connection to Cape Cod.

Cape Cod Children’s Museum – Mashpee

The Cape Cod Children’s Museum is a non-profit organization where families can learn and play together. With lots of hands on exhibits, daily programs and gift shop, you’ll find plenty to do! Make new friends and learn about their many events and programs while your child is free to explore, touch and discover.


Courtesy of the Nantucket Historical Association

Nantucket Whaling Museum

Restored in 2005, the Nantucket Whaling Museum features a restored 1847 candle factory, expanded top-quality exhibition space, a fully accessible rooftop observation deck overlooking Nantucket harbor, and the sperm whale skeleton.

KA_Provincetown_Ptown_pilgrim monument_11315Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum – Provincetown

Whether you arrive by land, sea or sky, the Pilgrim Monument is the first thing you see when you approach Provincetown. Standing at 252 feet, the Monument commemorates the history of the Mayflower Pilgrims. It’s the tallest all-granite structure in the United States. The Provincetown Museum, at the base of the Pilgrim Monument, features a unique collection of exhibits that depict important events and people in Provincetown history and our nation’s history.

Sandwich Glass Museum – Sandwich

The Mission of the Sandwich Glass Museum, incorporated as the Sandwich Historical Society in 1907, is to promote a broad understanding and appreciation of Sandwich town history, with particular emphasis on the unique contribution of the glass industry to the local community, the region, the nation, and the world.

Heritage Museums and Gardens – Sandwich

Heritage Museums & Gardens is comprised of three galleries and expansive gardens located in historic Sandwich, Massachusetts. It includes galleries for American Folk Art, a vintage carousel, automobiles and traveling exhibitions.

Fuller Craft Museum

Fuller Craft Museum is a dynamic environment where craft is experienced through exhibitions, education, outreach, and collaboration. The museum explores the materials, techniques, and artistic expression that challenge the perception of craft, while honoring the achievements of the past.

Honorable Mentions
Visitor Center at the Cape Cod National Seashore
Cape Cod Maritime Museum
Edward Gorey

Take a look at some of our past Short List topics!

Whether you’re looking for ice cream, Mexican food or just things from Cape Cod past, the Short List has it all for you. Take a look at some of the previous Short Lists that we’ve put up online!


  1. You need to include the Edward Gory House! It’s in Yarmouth. It’s fantastic. Literally one of my favorite museums I’ve been to in a long time, and my whole family agreed. I’d never heard of Edward Gory and I’m not even really a museum person, so I was really surprised and delighted by how much fun I had. My siblings and I went a couple years ago and we still talk about what a treat it was. It also has a fantastic gift shop. I know i sound hyperbolic but I want people to know about it!

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