Heritage Museums & Gardens Season Opening

Indy 500 Race Cars, unique visitor experiences and more head the line-up for the 2018 season
Courtesy of Heritage Museums & Gardens

Imagine having exclusive access to the expansive gardens and exceptional exhibits, the opportunity to not only see an Indy 500 car up close, but actually to sit in one, to be enchanted by the work of children’s illustrator Wendell Minor, to take classes with world renowned horticulture experts, and to have exclusive after-hours access to a great exhibit and food truck cuisine. These and other new and unique experiences are available to visitors during the 2018 season at Heritage Museums & Gardens.

“We’re taking our mission of exploration, discovery and learning to a new level in 2018,” said Ellen Spear, President and CEO at Heritage Museums & Gardens.  “This year’s special exhibits were created to promote family engagement. We are particularly excited to present a look at the world’s largest one-day sporting event – the Indy 500 - with cars from the Indianapolis International Speedway Museum. Wendell Minor’s America will be uplifting for families and inspiring for budding artists and the gardens will be in full bloom soon with our expansion of the North American Hydrangea Test Garden and what we think will be a spectacular Rhododendron Festival.” 

Heritage Museums & Gardens opens for the season on April 14, 2018, with its special exhibit, Start Your Engines! Cars and Stars of the Indy 500 (April 14- October 8). This is the first time an Indy car exhibit of this size has come to New England. Visitors will be able to explore 107 years of Indianapolis 500 race history. Get up close and personal with 20 Indy racers and pace cars, and the stories of the men and women with a need for speed. Sit in a real Indy race car, experience the traditions of Victory Lane and the storied history of the largest single-day sporting event in the world. The exhibit will feature cars from the inception of this famous race to the 2016 winning car.  The exhibition is supported by West Parts & Supplies, Inc., Nauset Disposal, Anonymous, Cape Cod Climate Controlled Storage and Cape & Island Distillers.

In Wendell Minor’s America (April 14- October 8), we celebrate the artist’s four-decade career as a preeminent illustrator of children’s books, each inspired by his love of history, art, science, and the natural world. Artworks gleaned from his expansive visual chronicles and commentary reflecting on his collaborations with our nation’s most prominent authors, scientists, and historians, showcase a quarter-century of unforgettable picture book art. The exhibit is organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Heritage’s 2018 outdoor installation, Commemorations (May 20- October 8), features works of art, set within the gardens and grounds of Heritage, in which artists respond to the current national conversation about public commemorations and who is depicted in statues and monuments in the public square.  In our current cultural climate, we have witnessed renewed interest in public commemorations as citizens question the relevance and symbolism of public monuments, buildings, and honors. In this outdoor installation, supported by funding from the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, we invited nine artists to pay tribute to a hero, a role model, a fellow human being, or an event whose story will engender dialogue about the purpose of public commemorations.

Our Spring Heritage Highlights mini-exhibit will be exploring Immigration. In this exhibit, located near the carousel, visitors will be able to view items from Heritage’s collection connected to the American immigration story. Each object has an origin story of its own to tell. How did it get here? Who made it? What does it reveal about how immigrants influence our everyday lives? These items include a hand-carved wooden bicycle that is believed to have been made by a Chinese immigrant living in San Francisco in the late 19th century, a purse by José Reyes, a premiere maker of the famous Nantucket lightship purse baskets, a frog footman carousel figure made by Gustav Dentzel an immigrant from Scotland as well as a clockwork cart and horse with driver toy created by German immigrants, Althof, Bergmann and Company who was a leading American manufacturer of fine mechanical toys during the late nineteenth century.

Also part of Heritage’s 2018 season are a number of new activities, including Hidden Hollow’s™ enhanced Splash area with a waterfall and naturalized streams for learning and fun. Heritage’s focus on family-friendly activities and entertainment includes Family Fun Fridays, which begins on Friday, July 27, 2018, and takes place on Fridays through August 17, 2018, free rides on the vintage carousel, and special performances throughout the season. Heritage’s renowned gardens will be in bloom for The Rhododendron Festival (May 26-June 3, 2018) and The Hydrangea Festival, which runs from July 6-July 15, 2018. Also opening on April 13 is The Adventure Park at Heritage, which includes five different aerial trails between the treetops and an interpretative nature path below.

Heritage is grateful for the support of the 2018 lead sponsor, The Arbella Insurance Foundation. More information is available online at heritagemuseumsandgardens.org or by calling 508-888-3300.

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