Sandwich, MA is the oldest town on Cape Cod, and the Sandwich Glass Museum at 129 Main St in Sandwich is devoted to preserving the history of the town and its place in American glass production. The town itself was incorporated in 1637 and was settled by the English. Deming Jarvis, a Boston businessman chose Sandwich for his glass company because of the many ideal points it had to offer. There was a shallow harbor that could be used for shipping the finished product, local timber that could be used as fuel for the furnaces, and local hay and grass to use as packing material. He got master glassblowers to work for him from his former place of employment as well as England and Ireland.
The museum is open in the summer from April 1 through December 31st daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. It is recommended that visitors don't come later than 3:30 pm so that they may see everything in the museum. The museum is closed in January and is open on a Wednesday through Sunday schedule from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm in February and March. Admission is $5.00 for adults, $1.25 for children ages 6-14 and free for children under 6. They offer group rates for bus tours. The museum is on the corner of Rt. 130 and Tupper Rd across the street from Sandwich Town Hall.
The Sandwich Glass Museum offers walking tours in summer and fall. There are docents that relay the stories of this unique village and it's past. The tours are free, but donations are welcome. The length of the tour is about one and a half hours and begins at 9:30 am on Wednesdays in July and August and Saturdays in September and October.
There are many permanent exhibits at the Sandwich Glass Museum such as Hannah Rebecca Burgess in The Dining Room where local glass objects are displayed. The Color & Chemistry room tells of how glass is created with colors to make the factory's glass more appealing. The demonstration lasts about two and a half minutes and is very educational.
A Multi Media Theater is the setting for bringing the inhabitants to life to show what life was like in New England during the Industrial Revolution. The Sandwich Glass Factory produced the finest pressed glass in the world and this production explains how the founder did it. The presentation lasts around twenty minutes and runs every half hour during the day. The Levine Lighting Gallery shows off Sandwich Glass' lighting devices. There are displays that use candles, whale oil, kerosene, camphene and Edison's electric lights.
Natural light helps to display the more than 5,000 pieces of glass made in the factory during the Industrial Revolution. Vases, glass jars and other beautiful objects grace the shelves. The glassblowing exhibition is one of the more popular exhibits in the museum. The traditional furnace is part of the backdrop for watching a professional glass blower ply his trade. A twenty minute demonstration occurs every thirty minutes with a question and answer period following the demonstration.