Cape Cod National Seashore unveils plans for 50th anniversary in 2011

Celebration to begin in January
The entrance to the Cape Cod National Seashore at the Salt Pond Visitor Center on Route 6 in Eastham. Photo by Jane Booth.

Staff and partners at Cape Cod National Seashore are preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Seashore’s establishment in 1961. Kick-off events in January will include an exhibition by the Eastham Painters’ Guild and a film series.  Other events during the year will build towards the actual anniversary event, which will be held on August 7 and is still being planned. A pictorial anniversary book, “Images of America, Cape Cod National Seashore, The First 50 Years,” written by Daniel Lombardo, was released earlier this year.

“The designation of Cape Cod as a National Seashore by President Kennedy was a gift to all the American people,” said Superintendent George Price. “This milestone provides an opportunity for all who love this special place to reflect on where we’ve been and to commit to what we collectively hope to achieve to ensure that the values of the National Seashore are protected and appreciated in perpetuity.”

When President Kennedy signed the bill authorizing the establishment of the National Seashore on August 7, 1961, he mentioned how significant it was to “preserve the natural and historic values of a portion of Cape Cod for the inspiration and enjoyment of people all over the United States.” The Berkshire Eagle, of Pittsfield editorialized that the bill “…can probably be labeled the finest victory ever recorded for the cause of conservation in New England.”

Several celebratory activities are planned for 2011.  The Eastham Painters’ Guild, which turns 30 in 2011, will kick off the year with a gallery exhibition at Salt Pond Visitor Center. “Cape Cod National Seashore through the Eyes of the Artist” is the first of many exhibits that will showcase the art, literature, history, and science of the National Seashore.  Other exhibitors will include photographer Christopher Seufert, the Bayberry Quilters of Cape Cod, National Seashore science staff, Nauset High School art students, the Outer Cape Artists in Residency Consortium, and the Provincetown Community Compact.

The National Seashore’s Annual Winter Film Series will begin on January 16. Films that were released in 1961 will be shown to provide a popular culture context for the year the National Seashore was established.  In spring, new permanent exhibits at Salt Pond Visitor Center will be dedicated.  When Old Harbor Life-Saving Station opens in May it will be furnished much as it was in 1900, thanks to an on-going fundraising campaign by Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore. During summer “retro” programs, park visitors and neighbors will step back in time for a look at the kinds of ranger-led programs that were offered in 1963.  The 2011 issue of Park News will feature in-depth articles reflecting on the past and contemplating the future of the National Seashore.

The National Seashore’s education partner, Eastern National, is developing several interpretive items that will be available at Salt Pond and Province Lands bookstores. Look for pins and patches, decals, and drinking glasses. Many of the commemorative anniversary items will feature the official logo designed by Joe Fish of Eastham.  A 2010 graduate of Nauset Regional High School, Fish’ logo was selected from a field of 15 submissions presented by advanced art students at Nauset High.

Anniversary activities will be posted to the Cape Cod National Seashore website here.

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