Cahoon Museum of American Art – Restoration & Expansion


In the Spring of 2014 Cape Associates joined an exceptional team of professionals to take on the restoration and expansion of the Cahoon Museum of American Art. As a structure that began its life in 1775 as a stately Colonial Georgian home, the building has made numerous transformations, including being run as a tavern and inn for visitors traveling between Sandwich and Hyannis during the 1820s. Evidence of this period includes a large hinged wall on the second floor (to expand or reduce available space for guests) and a large whiskey barrel that was discovered in the attic during restoration.

After five generations under the Crocker family ownership, Ralph and Martha Cahoon purchased the home in 1945. The two artists lived and worked in the home until 1982 when Ralph Cahoon passed. The home was then sold to Rosemary Rapp who purchased the estate with a vision of opening a museum. Since 1984 the property has been known as the Cahoon Museum of American Art.

A capital campaign that was started in 2012 plus a grant from the Mass Cultural Council’s Facilities allowed for the substantial improvements that include foundation repairs and replacement, structural repairs to the framing and all new utilities. With the addition of 3,700 square feet came a large and versatile vaulted ceiling gallery, multi-purpose classroom, workshop space, fine art storage, lobby, outdoor courtyard and a three-story stainless steel elevator.

The Museum’s grand re-opening took place on May 8th and is now open to visitors Tuesday through Sunday. Special exhibits will rotate every six to eight weeks.

“The community response to our historic building restoration and new addition has been phenomenal. Not a day goes by that we don’t receive compliments on the quality of craftsmanship involved in the construction. The details and finishes reflect a high level of skill and care. The entire team at Cape Associates has been wonderful to work with- friendly and professional!” – Sarah Johnson, Museum Director

“I was honored and excited to work on a building that was built in the time of the Revolutionary war. It was both challenging and educational.” – Pat Iachetta, Foreman

“We are grateful to be part of this project, as it is an anchor in the community which showcases local and historic art collections.” – Rich Bryant, Project Manager and Executive Vice President

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