New Acquisitions & Little Seen Treasures

Nov. 30, 2022 — March 1, 2023

As the Cape Ann Museum moves towards the 150th anniversary of its founding, a milestone we will celebrate in 2025, it is important to occasionally step back and review our history as well as take stock of where the institution is today.

Founded in 1875 as the Cape Ann Scientific and Literary Association, the original purpose of the Museum was “to conduct classes, readings, lectures and demonstrations on scientific and literary subjects,” continuing the work of the Gloucester Lyceum that was founded in 1830 and by the end of the Civil War had evolved into a traditional library. Over the past century-plus, our name has changed several times and, since we took up residency here on Pleasant Street in the mid-1920s and began building our collection, our mission has grown beyond simply giving lectures and demonstrations. The Museum’s commitment, however, to two important things has remained steadfast:  to preserve and share the stories of the best of the area’s artwork, artifacts and archival materials using them as portals into the 400-plus year history of this community; and to maintain a vibrant and welcoming presence in central Gloucester.

BARBARA APARO, Gloucester Linens, 1980, Acrylic on marine canvas. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Abe Rothstein, 1993 [Accession # 2886]

Today, the holdings of the Cape Ann Museum number in the thousands and range from ancient tools used by Indigenous peoples who inhabited this area thousands of years ago to early church, business and family records, and paintings and sculpture made by artists who call Cape Ann home today and in the past. The collection continues to grow and diversify, serving as the backbone of this institution.

On display in this gallery are some of the new acquisitions the Museum has taken into its fine and decorative arts collections in recent years.  Additionally, on display are a few treasurers that came into the Museum’s holdings earlier but are not often shown.  As we approach 2025, the Cape Ann Museum looks forward to continuing to expand its collections and share it with this community in creative and engaging ways.

LAWRENCE FANE (1933-2008), Chamber, 1996, Wood and stain, Gift of Kilmer McCully, 2022 [Accession # 2022.67.1]


For exhibition photos click here.

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