The highlight of this museum is seeing the sunshine from outside glance off the dozens of brightly colored glass displays, refracting multicolored lights. That alone is worth the price of admission. But there is so much more, including glass-blowing demonstrations, which last 20 minutes and take place every hour on the hour.

Sandwich used to be known as Glasstown and to see why, you’ll have to visit this museum, which gives a history not only of the glass industry on the Cape but also of the town itself. Sandwich was primarily a farming community until 1825 when Deming Jarves, a Boston businessman, came to town and changed everything. Because of its proximity to a shallow harbor, Jarves chose Sandwich as the base for his Boston and Sandwich Glass Company. The surrounding forest was cut and used to fuel the furnaces and the marsh hay on the coast was used to pack the fragile wares. He brought master glassblowers to the Cape and recruited workers from England and Ireland for his glass factory. The company mass-produced glass products and was very successful. Jarves eventually left the company and started a rival firm called Cape Cod Glass Works, also in Sandwich. The glass industry died down after the Civil War when cheaper glass could be made using coal furnaces down south and in the Midwest. In the 1880s, a union strike led to the closing of Sandwich’s glass companies. Today, the town is embracing its glass history in the form of a newly formed Glasstown Cultural District (you can take a self-guided walking tour starting at the museum). There are also several art glassblowers in town whose studios are open to the public. Their works are sold in the museum’s gift shop.