100 Mile Museum: The Sandwich Glass Museum
By: Joanne Briana-Gartner, March 2, 2012
JOANNE BRIANA-GARTNER - Natural light plays off a display at the Sandwich Glass Museum.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. But tell me you already knew that.
I have been interested in all things Titanic since high school. Whenever I was suffering from a particularly nasty case of teenage melancholy, I would pop my copy of "A Night to Remember" into the Betamax, turn off all the lights, and wallow in the sadness of the great ship going down.
In addition to Dr. Robert Ballard and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution—who were both instrumental in the 1985 discovery of the Titanic—Cape Cod has another, more immediate connection with the ship's sinking.
On the night of the collision, the RMS Carpathia contacted Titanic to let their wireless operators know that messages to the ship were backing up at the Wellfleet Marconi station. After receiving the message, the Titanic sent the Carpathia the startling news that the ship was sinking.
What started out as a message to inform quickly turned into a rescue mission as Carpathia changed her course and began steaming towards the floundering ship.
Museums in your backyard
And where did I learn this juicy bit of Titanic lore? At lecture at the Sandwich Glass Museum, of course.
Winter is the perfect time for cultural pursuits of the museum variety. It's cold out, so there's no guilt about spending a beautiful day indoors.
Unfortunately, here on Cape Cod, all the museums are closed for the season.
Or are they?
Like hibernating animals, Cape museums are slowly starting to wake up, perhaps with fewer days and shorter hours in the late winter an early spring.
If you go...
February-March: Open Wednesday through Sunday, 9:30 AM to 4 PM
April-December: Open daily from 9:30 AM to 5 PM
Admission: $6 for adults, $1.25 for kids aged 6 to 14, free for 5 and under. Group rates available.
In addition to the Sandwich Glass Museum, the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis is open Thursdays through Sundays and the Zion Union Heritage Museum in Hyannis is open Thursdays through Saturdays. The Cape Cod Maritime Museum officially opens for the season on March 6.
The Sandwich Glass Museum is an especially good choice for the gray days of March because inside the museum, color abounds. And not just your average eight colors like in a box of school crayons, it's more like the Crayola 64-color set.
Colored glass in turquoise, jade, purple, pink, amber, ruby, lime, canary yellow, cobalt, peacock, and forest green are on display, as are examples of work by the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company (1825-1888) and revolving exhibits from contemporary glass artists.
The museum is a contemporary facility that skillfully mixes state of the art with the traditional art of glass blowing.
There's plenty to see at the Sandwich Glass Museum, but possibly my favorite was a small display in the ladies room of glass nursing apparatuses that included a glass nursing bottle, a bosom shell (nursing pad), and a breast pipe (a glass breast pump)!
Now I have seen everything.