If you are a fan of American art then you’ll want to head to the village of Cotuit on Cape Cod to check out the Cahoon Museum of American Art. At the museum, you’ll have the opportunity to see inspiring art exhibitions both inside and outside the museum. The museum is home to a vast collection of American art that dates from the 18th century to contemporary art.
This unique museum was originally the home and studio of Cape Cod folk artists Ralph and Martha Cahoon. In 1945 the Cahoons purchased and restored the 1782 Crocker homestead which is now the home of the Cahoon Museum.
Martha’s father was a Swedish immigrant who taught her the art of hand-painting elaborate designs and scenes on furniture. Her husband Ralph, also a folk artist joined her in this endeavor, painting chairs, dressers, tables and smaller items which they sold. Many of the original pieces can still be seen in the museum today, along with murals on the wall and hand-painted floors.
New Exhibit at the Cahoon Museum
From October 5 to December 23, 2022, you’ll have the opportunity to see the works of sculptor Robin Tost. She creates mischievous sculptures from cast-off metal and automobile parts. Each one of her pieces is a tapestry of metal items carefully woven together to create an inspiring piece.
At the Cahoon Museum of American Art, you’ll see dozens of Tost’s pieces including her inspirational Spirit Bear which is a large metal sculpture along with the Phoenix and Cecelia the Serpent in the Streetside Outdoor Exhibit.
Robin Tost’s History
Robin first discovered her unique artistic style on a biking trip to Vermont. The region she was exploring had been hit by factory closures and many people were selling items to make ends meet. She saw women selling quilts to make extra money. The quilts inspired her to start collecting recycled metal to create her own tapestries. In her view, her art blends metal, which is known as a man’s material into a women’s metal patterned quilt. Each cut of metal is inspired by traditional quilt patterns. She cuts the metal and uses a drill press to make holes. Then she sews the metal pieces together using wire.
The Creation of the Spirit Bear
When Robin decided to create a bear sculpture, she wanted a special bear. A bear that symbolized wisdom and more.
The Spirit Bear was inspired by the beliefs of the North coast Native Americans who revere white spirit bears who live on a nearby island. Bears are considered wise creatures and healers.
To create her large Spirit Bear, Robin first built a model from newspaper and masking tape. She took the model to a metal shop to have a metal frame created. Once she had the metal frame, she started to cover it with her patchwork of metal. Many of the pieces on the Spirit Bear, such as the bear’s ears, are fashioned from kitchen colanders. The stars on the bear are also fashioned from a colander. The rest of the bear is made from scrap metal that she found to create a striking white and silver bear. The creation of the bear took nine months.
If you would like to see Robin’s Spirit Bear and other sculptures, we encourage you to visit
The Cahoon Museum of American Art, open now Wednesday thru Sunday 10am-4pm.
There are many other interesting museums on the Cape to explore and re-explore as the exhibits are always changing.