Friday, May 22, 2015

Aptucxet Trading Post Museum

Name: Aptucxet Trading Post Museum
Tribe: Mashpee Wampanoag
Location: 24 Aptucxet Road, Bourne, MA 02532
Type: Historic site
Visiting Info: open Memorial Day through Columbus Day weekends, 11am to 3pm (4pm in July/August), Tues-Sat. Closed Sunday and Monday. Admission $2-$10.
Contact: Website, telephone 508-759-9487

While there is some debate about the exact history of the site, the Aptucxet Trading Post is believed to be the first post built to facilitate trade between the English pilgrims, the local Native tribes, and the Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam.

The current building is a replica constructed over the top of the original foundation, which was excavated by archaeologists in the 1920's. The stone foundation is said to date back to 1627.

The site is historically important because it would have been the first place that English pilgrims were able to buy supplies that were not imported from Europe by their parent company and an early place for them to acquire goods they needed to pay off their debts to their corporate backers. The Wampanoag people introduced wampum - a traditional trade good made from quahog shells - which was adopted by the settlers as the standard local currency.

The grounds around the museum include a Wampanoag Garden where they grow native plants such as squash, beans, corn, sunflowers, Jerusalem artichokes, gourds, and tobacco. There is also a kitchen garden of herbs and medicinal plants and a wildflower garden.

Other features of the quirky collection of buildings onsite include a replica windmill and salt works, both of which were important structures at the Cape's colonial settlements, and Grover Cleveland's personal train station for his summer home in Bourne, Grey Gables.

Tickets are purchased at the Sagamore Information Booth Gift Shop at the entrance to the site near the parking lot.


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