As Edgartown voters turn to business from funding for schools to harbor repairs next week at town meeting, they will also be asked to restore pieces of the past. One artifact in particular represents a long-ago act of charity.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is asking for $39,250 to restore a 19th-century undertaker’s wagon owned by the museum. The old wagon is in disrepair, with peeling paint and wheels that don’t roll properly.

In the early 1800s the wagon was used to transport the town’s dead, Martha’s Vineyard Museum curator Bonnie Stacy said. It was primarily used on Chappaquiddick.

In 1836 Mary Jernegan donated the horse-drawn hearse to the town in accordance with the will of her late husband, Thomas Jernegan. The will contained instructions to “be kind to the poor and relieve the distressed.”

“It’s kind of a human story,” Ms. Stacy said, “if you think about people, even the poor, having a formal way to get their loved ones from the house, where they would have been, to the cemetery.”

“It was an act of kindness by the woman who donated it,” she said.

Because of the wagon’s age there are few records, Ms. Stacy said, and the museum has relied on the lore that surrounds it. An article published in 1933 indicated the wagon was still used occasionally, she said. It was later found in a barn and donated again, this time to the museum.