New Director Aims to Make History Hip

As Island residents go kicking and screaming into the future, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum has always served as a refuge in turbulent times. Here the centuries mingle and Island life never changes. In one room, romantic maritime tableaus etched by idling seamen in the jawbones of sperm whales recall the glory of Martha’s Vineyard’s seafaring past, while in the next gallery the indelible 20th century folk art of Stanley Murphy revels in the workaday triumphs of a rural Island community.

Museum Open House Unveils New Location’s Ample Charms

It’s the most famous Island landmark hardly anyone has ever seen. Built in 1895 as a marine hospital, the old plantation-style manor, with gray shingles, white trim and a sweeping balcony, on its 4.4.-acre hilltop, once commanded a view of Vineyard Haven harbor. At some point over the years the building acquired a white clapboard façade, enhancing its resemblance to Tara in Gone with the Wind. Across the broad lawn, a ring of pine and oak trees grew tall, obscuring the water vistas, and, at the same time, the long deserted building too.

World War II Veterans Exhibit Breaks Free to the Internet

In celebration of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum has launched a new online exhibit sharing the stories of Vineyard World War II veterans.

Those Who Serve: Martha’s Vineyard and World War II, began as an exhibition in the Museum during 2009 and 2010. The exhibit’s popularity resulted in an oral history book curated by Linsey Lee. Short audio excerpts of those interviews have now been put together with archival photos in an online exhibit allowing people all over the world to hear the stories.

Agricultural Society, Polly Hill Join Forces to Buy Vineyard Museum Land


The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is close to selling the West Tisbury land once envisioned as its future home to the neighbors, the Polly Hill Arboretum and the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society.

The sale is likely to be completed by the end of the week, arboretum executive director Tim Boland said. Surveying work was underway and everything was going very positively, he said.

Museum Set to Buy Marine Hospital

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum expects to sign within days a purchase and sales agreement to buy the former Marine Hospital in Vineyard Haven for an undisclosed price.

The purchase of the historic property, perched on a hill above the harbor, would mark a major step in the museum’s long quest to find a new home for its historical collections outside of Edgartown.

Museum executive director David Nathans said yesterday morning he hoped to have a deal completed by week’s end.

Museum Unveils Designs for New Site

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum would restore the former Marine Hospital’s view to Vineyard Haven harbor in its ambitious plan to relocate there, renovating the hospital building to house museum staff and collections, razing a 1938 brick addition, building a new barn-like structure running for exhibition and storage space, paving a 50-car parking lot and clear-cutting the property’s front lawns overlooking the Lagoon Pond, which have become overgrown in recent decades.

Museum Bullish on Vineyard Haven Move

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum has extended its option to buy the former Marine Hospital property in Vineyard Haven for four months while it evaluates fund-raising sources for what could be a $20 million relocation and renovation effort.

Museum director David Nathans said this week that building on the enthusiasm of abutters, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission and of the community at large, the board of directors voted last Friday to extend an option that expired on Jan. 31 until May. He said the move signals the museum’s commitment to the site.

Former Hospital Site Will Open New Vistas For Museum

A new building has been added to the Vineyard Haven skyline. Well, actually it isn’t new—it’s been there since 1895, but a recent clearing of trees has exposed the 10,000 square-foot former marine hospital to the Lagoon Pond, to cars entering Vineyard Haven via Beach Road and to boats leaving the harbor.

Edgartown Lighthouse Will Be Auctioned; Town Looks to Secure Beacon

The Edgartown Lighthouse, the prominent beacon overlooking the outer Edgartown harbor that has long been a symbol of the town, is going to be put up to bid by the federal government, with the town and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum expressing interest in taking stewardship of the landmark.

New Faces Grace Museum Exhibits: Hands-on History

It is not often a child gets to hold history. That’s why Nancy Cole, Education Director at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, is especially excited for the summer. The museum debuts a Hands-on-History exhibit today, which will bring the past to life through physical interaction. Opening in the old kids’ space of the museum’s Pease House, the exhibit consists of a number of stations at which visitors can hone skills characteristic of the Island’s native Wampanoags, and settlers and maritime figures throughout the ages.