Heritage Museums & Gardens Celebrates 45th Anniversary Sunday, June 15 with Fun for the Whole Family

June 10 2014

June 10, 2014 (Sandwich, MA) – Heritage Museums & Gardens (HMG) is celebrating its 45th Anniversary on June 15th with Heritage Heyday – a day of music, games, exhibits, gardens and activities for the whole family. Everyone is invited to enjoy classic lawn games and performances from the Regency Brass Ensemble and a family music selection from DJ Ooch. Visitors are encouraged to go on an outdoor adventure at the Museum - roam the gardens, discover the ten Big Bugs sculptures and learn fun facts along the way about everything from plants to insects.

To celebrate Heritage’s 45th anniversary and the Town of Sandwich’s 375th, HMG admission is free on June 15, 2014 for Sandwich residents with proof of residence. Also in celebration of Father’s Day, all dads will be admitted free of charge.

Since Heritage opened on June 15, 1969, its museum exhibits and its vast grounds have delighted and educated more than 4 million visitors. “Visitors from around the country and the world have enjoyed all that Heritage has to offer. Perhaps it’s the joy of being outside together, or seeing new traveling exhibits, or perhaps it’s the beauty of the gardens that helps people make special memories here. All of these moments are important to us and we know they are important to our visitors,” says Ellen Spear, President and CEO of Heritage Museums & Gardens.

To further that goal and in celebration of this 45th Anniversary, HMG has established the Heritage 45th Anniversary Fund.  The fund supports education and outreach in tribute to Heritage founder, J.K. Lilly, who envisioned Heritage as “…an outreaching force for education…,” pointing the way for the Museum to become a model 21st century learning center.

Donations to the Fund will support seven horticulture interns to advance their undergraduate and graduate study, provide subsidized admissions, and support educational outreach including school tours and targeted classes for K-12 students. This will help further Heritage’s mission of making learning accessible to all.

Heritage History
• The land that is home to Heritage was originally used by native Wampanoag for planting crops.
• In 1677, Lydia Wing Hamilton Abbott was the first resident to live on the land.
• Charles Owen Dexter was the next owner of the land. He bought the property, then known as Shawme Farm, in 1921. Mr. Dexter and his wife spent summers at the farm and for the next 15 years he worked in his garden hybridizing plants. He started with vegetables and expanded his interests to rhododendrons, for which he is internationally known.
• The Lilly family, originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, spent their summer vacations in Falmouth, so when Josiah Kirby Lilly III wanted to found a museum dedicated to his father, Josiah Kirby Lilly, Jr. and his collections, he chose Cape Cod and purchased the land that is now Heritage in 1967.
• Since Heritage opened on June 15, 1969, over 4 million visitors have enjoyed HMG’s gardens, programs, and exhibits.
• Heritage is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums and is an award-winning destination for Cape Cod residents and visitors from around the world.

More information is available online at or by calling (508) 888-3300.

About Heritage Museums & Gardens
Heritage Museums & Gardens, celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, is comprised of three galleries and 100 acres of gardens located in historic Sandwich, Massachusetts. It includes galleries for American Folk Art and a vintage carousel, automobiles and traveling exhibitions.
The automobile gallery includes an impressive collection of American automobiles housed within a replica of the Shaker Round Barn. The gardens feature a collection of thousands of rhododendrons, including the renowned Dexter variety, whose typical bloom time is from mid-May to mid-June. Other horticultural areas of interest include: holly, daylily, herb, hosta, and heather gardens, as well as more than a thousand varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers.
The grounds also include the Old East Mill, a windmill built in Orleans, Massachusetts in 1800, and extensively restored in 1999-2000, a labyrinth designed by Marty Cain, one of the best-known labyrinth designers in North America, Hidden Hollow™, the Hart Family Maze Garden and the Cape Cod Hydrangea Garden.