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Pilgrim Monument, line drawing by Ewa Nogiec
Provincetown History: The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum


The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum on top of High Pole Hill commemorates the Pilgrims' landing in Provincetown in 1620 and the signing of the Mayflower Compact. The Monument is the tallest all-granite structure in the US and is modeled after a tower in Siena, Italy. Reached by a system of stairs and ramps, the observation area at the top affords views of much of Cape Cod.

The Cape Cod Memorial Association, a private organization, built and operates the monument and museum which opened in 1910. The Association began collecting historical materials in 1892 and continues to receive donations. The Ladies Research Club of Provincetown (descendents of Mayflower passengers) also collected local art and artifacts. In 1924 they purchased the Lancy Mansion at 230 Commercial Street and opened an historical museum. When the Club disbanded in 1956, their collection was transferred to the Association.

The present collection includes items from major periods in Cape Cod and Provincetown history including a captain's cabin from a whaling ship and artifacts from Admiral MacMillan's arctic trips.

In the gallery illustrating the Pilgrims' stay in Provincetown, there is a quarter-scale diorama of the Mayflower executed by artist Courtney Allen. One of the creators of the Sixes and Sevens nightclub on Lewis Wharf, he also was responsible for the scale model of that wharf where the first production of a Eugene O'Neill play was presented.

The Museum houses a collection of early Provincetown art, displaying selected items as part of their theme exhibits. Works such as Ross Moffett's "Iowa Farm" and Henry Hensche's "The Unwilling Model" may be seen there, as well as "White Roses and Delphiniums," the work of Marion Campbell Hawthorne, wife of Charles Hawthorne.

 

from PROVINCETOWN: THE ART COLONY A Brief History and Guide by Nyla Ahrens, published by Provincetown Art Association and Museum, 1997. Revised edition published 2000. Available in print at Provincetown Art Association and Museum Store.


© Nyla Ahrens

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Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum

 

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Fishing Boat line drawing by Ewa Nogiec

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