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2016 Appeal Letter


Wunee keesuq!                                                                                   Keepunumuk 2015
                                                                                                        (Harvest Time)

Dear Friends of the Aquinnah Cultural Center,

The ACC has just completed a milestone year, as 2015 was our 10th season in the Vanderhoop Homestead!  Every year we have seen new growth, new exhibits, programs and events, as we continue to create ways to tell people about Aquinnah Wampanoag history and culture.  The ACC has many stories to tell and many ways to tell them, and in working to reach our multiple audiences the house is our canvas and palette, our platform and our foundation for bringing our stories to the public.  We write to ask your support with this very important work that keeps this history alive.

In keeping history alive, the Vanderhoop Homestead is far more than the term "house museum" conveys.  It is indeed an old house, filled with a lot of old things:  furniture, paintings, dishes, tools, photographs, books, linens.  But all of those things are much more than just a collection of objects or artifacts, now relegated to gathering dust on a shelf.  Each individual item has its own story; in fact, each could have many stories brought to life again by its place and context in the house and given voice again by our interpretation.  We speak about our ancestors and hopefully they speak through us.  Items are always more than just things:  they are windows through which to view the past, the circumstances, events, actions and activities of their day and times.  Most importantly they are links to the people who made or used them.  All of these things are the paints on the palette that we utilize to show Wampanoag history and culture.

The 2015 palette had some completely new and different things on it!  In addition to our regular events - our 9th Annual American Artisans' Festival, 10th Annual Feast and Fundraiser, and a full slate of speakers and artist demonstrations - the ACC hosted "Captured 1614", an exhibit developed by Wampanoag people for the Plymouth 400, which addresses some of the tougher but little known history of the kidnapping and enslavement of Wampanoag people in the early 17th century.

Ongoing exhibits include the whaling, where we are negotiating the loan of a handmade whale ship model by tribal member and artist Frank James; the Lighthouse, including a short video drawn from our oral histories collection with more recent interviews; and "Ancient Ways", a map project that shows Wampanoag life from the time of the glacial retreat up to pre-European contact, and post-contact to the present day.

Planning for our 11th season includes:

  • A Wampanoag doll exhibit, including 17th century style dolls, Mother Bear's little people, and Phiddie's lobster claw dolls.  Watch for news of our opening reception with a very special guest!
  • The unveiling of the "Ancient Ways" map project.
  • Our 10th Annual Native American Artisans' Festival.
  • Our 11th Annual Feast and Fundraiser, the theme of which is to be developed.
  • Our continuing artists' demonstrations and speakers' series.
As we at the ACC continue planning and building, we ask that you give as generously as you can this year.  While the ACC's season is only four months long, the work that goes into the preparations for that time is ongoing year round.  We continue to seek funding in a variety of ways and it is the support for the "behind the scenes" work during our off season that is critical, as that is the time we create all programming for the next season.  It is the gifts received from all of our donors, whether a visitor coming in the front door, an attendee at one of our many events, or someone who reaches us by mail, that allows us to continue our work and to literally keep our doors open.

Here are a few dates to put on your calendar for our upcoming 11th season in 2016:  Our opening day will be June 11; 10th Annual Native American Artisans' Festival will be July 23; and the Annual Feast and Fundraiser August 13.

We are deeply appreciative of everyone's commitment and support and look forward to seeing you next summer at the ACC!

(Thank you all),

Berta G. Welch

Aquinnah Cultural Center Board of Directors

Tobias J. Vanderhoop                    Adriana Ignacio                 Beverly Wright
Jonathan Perry                          Wenonah Madison         Shelley Carter


Linda Coombs, Program Director
Yannick Gonsalves, Docent (3rd year)
Brianna Randolph, Docent (2nd year)

Aquinnah Cultural Center
10 Black Brook Road
Aquinnah, MA 02535
(508) 645-7900

The ACC is a non-profit organization.  All contributions are tax deductible.

Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) 20 Black Brook Road, Aquinnah, MA 02535-1546
Phone: (508) 645 9265    Fax: (508) 645-3790    Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm
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