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Opening old doors ... to new possibilities

Over the past year, leaders of the Cape Ann Museum have developed a plan for the Museum’s White-Ellery property to address the Museum’s needs for expanded collections storage and exhibition and community programming space.

Driven by the necessity to accommodate the growth of the Museum’s art and archival collections and to find a space in close proximity to Cape Ann, leaders of the Museum turned to approximately three acres of property that has been owned by the Museum for many years at the intersection of Washington and Poplar Streets. Presently at this site three historic buildings, the White-Ellery House (1710), an adjacent Barn (c.1740) and the recently acquired Babson-Alling House (c.1740) create an important gateway to Gloucester.

Additional property at the site will house a new 9,500 square foot state-of-the art Collections Center to address the Museum’s critical need for expanded collections and archival storage. An additional 2,500 square feet of flexible exhibition and community programming space has been designed to complement the three historic structures on site and an open green space, accessible for public enjoyment year-round will connect all buildings on the property.

The new building, designed by Boston based firm designLAB, will provide the Museum with new ways to engage, excite and connect with audiences. Ample green space has been reserved at the site and will include sitting walls, lawns and a pathway linking all buildings. New indigenous plantings as well as an outdoor sculpture park are also envisaged.

Construction of the new facility has commenced and is expected to open to the public in June 2020. The project is a critical component of the Museum’s 2018–2023 Strategic Plan and commitment to enhance the Museum’s facilities by providing room for future collections and archival growth in the lead up to the Museum’s 150th anniversary in 2023 and beyond.


(above left) Fitz Henry Lane (1804–1865), View of the Babson and Ellery Houses, Gloucester, 1863, oil on canvas (22 x 36 in.), signed and dated lower right: F H. Lane 1863, Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, Mass., Gift of Roger W. Babson, 1937 (779.02); (right) Babson-Alling House, 1889.

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