History & Mission

The mission of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History is to inspire appreciation, understanding and stewardship of our natural environment and wildlife through discovery and learning.

History

The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, was founded in 1954. Our mission is to encourage and advance understanding of our natural environment through discovery and learning. The museum is housed in a 17,000 square foot building on its own 80-acre site and abutted by 320 acres of town- and Conservation-owned land.

The Museum has two floors of exhibits explaining the coastal change creation of Cape Cod, Native American presence; archaeology showing 8,000 years of human activity; native animals and habitats; films, lectures and workshops on a variety of topics are offered year round along with special programs for children especially during school vacation; our KidSummer nature program; an impressive display of indigenous and migratory preserved birds, an aquarium that is a microcosm of the Cape with salt, brackish and freshwater specimens; the Eldridge Arnold birdcarving exhibit; examples of biomimicry and learning through nature to solve 21st century problems; and special, temporary exhibits to enhance the permanent collection. We are surrounded by 300 acres with nature trails meandering through woodland, salt marsh and on the shore of Cape Cod Bay.

Mission

The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History integrates the three strands of its organizational identity - as museum of natural history, nature education center, and steward of conservation land.

As a small museum of natural history, we will preserve, exhibit, and interpret our own collections of natural history artifacts and display relevant traveling and loan exhibits. We may also collaborate with local and regional organizations on co-sponsored exhibits.

As a nature education center, we will engage children and adults in high-quality programs, classes, lectures, panel discussions, workshops, films, walks, field trips, traditions and interactive exhibits that reveal the many facets of the natural world and the reciprocal impacts that humans and nature exert on each other. As befits a nature education center, we will explore our potential as a center for citizen scientists and amateur naturalists, and as a forum for informed discussion of important issues related to the natural world, especially on Cape Cod.

As a steward of 400-plus acres of museum-owned land in Stony Brook Valley and Brewster conservation land adjacent to the museum, including Wing's Island, the salt marsh, and the beach along Cape Cod Bay between Quivett and Paine's Creeks, we will monitor and protect the land and focus our programming on its varied habitats - our outdoor classroom and teaching tool. Programs may also take place elsewhere on Cape Cod and in New England when appropriate.