Heritage Museums and Gardens Gearing Up for ’50th Birthday Party’ Saturday

SANDWICH – The celebration continues on as Heritage Museums and Gardens recognizes its 50th anniversary this year.

Heritage has multiple events planned throughout the year to celebrate the organizations 50th year in operations, with perhaps the most significant celebration falling on Saturday.

The Heritage Museums and Gardens 50th Anniversary Celebration Day – a.k.a. Heritage’s Birthday Party, kicks off on June 15. Heritage first opened to the public on June 15, 1969.

“We are really excited to celebrate this weekend. Heritage officially opened its doors to the public on June 15, 1969,” said Heritage Director of Programming Heather Mead.

“In honor of the special day on this Saturday, June 15, exactly 50 years to the day, we’re celebrating with a party themed day filled with fun activities for the whole family and we’re rolling back to 1969’s original $1.50 admission price.”

Museum founders J.K. Lilly III and his wife, Josephine, moved from idea to execution with Heritage Museums and Gardens. J.K. Jr. died in May of 1966. The son purchased many items from his father’s estate, including firearms, paintings, and military miniatures, that would later form the foundation for Heritage’s collection.

The Lillys thought of the museum concept, looked at properties, made a purchase, and closed on the property by January 3, 1967. Construction began in the fall of 1967 along with the purchase and installation of the windmill.

Manager of Public Programs Liz Fort began the planning process for the event about two years ago.

“We looked at the calendar and realized that June 15th was going to fall on a Saturday,” Fort said.

“We thought it would be fun to throw a giant birthday party for Heritage.”

For the birthday bash, Heritage is bringing back visitor favorites from over the years, particularly for the family audience. Mr. Bubbles will do amazing feats of bubble making, and DJ OOCH will spin throwback jams from the last 50 years at a Decades Dance Party on the concert stage and lawn.

Special birthday activities will also be held in all the buildings, even in Hidden Hollow, including festive birthday hat making with all the trimmings, a photo booth, and a giant birthday cake from the Casual Gourmet as part of a commemorative ceremony at 1:00 p.m.

Admission for the day will be $1.50 per person, the price when Heritage opened in 1969.

Following the birthday cake, an outdoor concert will be held at 6:00 p.m. by the New Black Eagle Jazz band. Beloved by visitors, members and J.K. Lilly III, they performed at the museum every year for 30 years.

For the past several months, Heritage has been collecting memories and photos from visitors to share in a new exhibit in the American Art & Carousel Building, which opens on June 15.

“It’s amazing how it’s absolutely grown and evolved over the years, adding new collections, painting exhibitions, our fleet of public programming, the services we provide to our community. I really credit that to our community really letting us know what they’re interested in and what they need,” Mead said.

By TIM DUNN, CapeCod.com News Center 

About Tim Dunn

Tim Dunn is a native of south coast Massachusetts, growing up in the small town of Mattapoisett and now resides in New Bedford. He’s worked in the CapeCod.com News Center covering everything you need to know about on the Cape.



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