January 9, 2019 –The Cape Cod Museum Trail began modestly four years ago as a collection of 12 museums, sponsored by First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union. As 2019 begins, there are 75 museums featured at an ever-expanding website along with the Trail’s array of social media, from Facebook and Twitter to an e-newsletter reaching 8,000 subscribers. Now a 501c3 nonprofit, the Cape Cod Museum Trail is dedicated not only to promoting all the museums, but also supporting them with an array of resources.
“It’s amazing how many museums on the Cape span so many worlds – from the arrival of the Pilgrims to underseas exploration, from archaeology to modern art,” said Peter Muise, CEO of First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union, which has nurtured the trail’s development and last year successfully guided it toward nonprofit status.
That diversity is the theme for the third annual Festival of Museums scheduled for Saturday, April 6 at the Hyannis Youth and Community Center. Nearly 60 museums are expected to participate with booths and activities. “This totally free celebration offers a fun-packed day of surprising and exciting events and activities aimed at igniting your imagination,” said Muise. “So, whether you’re a mom or dad looking for something to do with the kids, a group of friends looking for a new experience or an art or history enthusiast, come along and join us.”
Up to 1,000 people have attended the previous festivals, which makes the day a unique and powerful way for the museums to reach audiences in ways they can’t do alone. “What’s really impressed us has been the amazing diversity of attendees,” said Leslie Poulin, the Museum Trail’s director. “They’re all ages. They come from across the Cape and as far as New Bedford and Boston. And they’re interested in so many different aspects of Cape Cod – history, science, nature, art, maritime life. “Because it’s so interactive, kids love it,” she added. For a museum, it’s an invaluable opportunity to connect with people who might not even know about it – or realize the extent of its offerings, explained Poulin.
The Festival also is a once-a-year opportunity for all the museum’s directors, staffs and board members to congregate in one place at one time to meet, learn about each other and explore collaborative opportunities, noted Muise.
Many of the participating museums escort Festival visitors back hundreds of years to the very roots of Cape Cod. You can visit the 1736 Manse House in Dennis, for example, and sit in on a writing class, where the children learn script using the tip of a goose feature. Or eat a piece of warm apple pie just baked by a volunteer in authentic 18th-century garb in the home’s giant hearth. “Not only are we able to help these vital community institutions during their seasons, but the Trail’s website brings their museum experiences to visitors globally year-round,” he explained. “We are able to publish stories and photo galleries in January and February to sustain the museum experience even in the dead of winter.”
First Citizens’ sees its investment in the Museum Trail first as a community commitment, but then as a smart business strategy. “We have so quickly become part of our member museum’s own worlds – connecting to hundreds of their visitors and followers, including those online,” said Muise. “It’s a very organic, and we believe a special way for the Cape community to learn about First Citizens’ values and priorities,” he emphasized. The Museum Trail’s major presence is as an ever-expanding web site that features individual sites for each museum; a comprehensive calendar of events, exhibitions and classes; stories and photo galleries. Because it has grown so rapidly and features so many events and stories, the website recently was redesigned to let visitors find what they want by museum, interest, date and town.
“And all this is absolutely free to all our member museums,” Poulin emphasized. This includes a staff in place to write stories and photograph activities occurring at the museums that are featured at the museum trail’s website and social media. “It’s become clearer every year that most of our museum members are hungry for more marketing support and infrastructure,” said Poulin. “For example, whenever we write an article for our website, we offer up the same content to our individual museums for their own promotional needs. If a museum calls and actually needs a story written or a press release produced, we will try to accommodate them,” added Poulin. “We want to be a virtual one-stop place for everyone to visit, learn and experience together,” said Muise. “And that’s what is so exciting about the April 6 Festival. “We bring it all alive for everyone to be in one actual location at the same time.”
About The Cape Cod Museum Trail
The Cape Cod Museum Trail is a convenient, easy-to-navigate, one-stop location to plan your vacation or just stay current every month with a calendar of scheduled activities, events and exhibits. Enjoy the trail on a computer, tablet or mobile phone. Subscribe to the Cape Cod Museum Trail newsletter for the latest news and information. The Cape Cod Museum Trail is a subsidiary of First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union and was launched in late 2014.