An archaeologist, a lawyer and civil rights activist, and an interior designer were each honored this week at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum medal ceremony. The evening proved that the lives of each honoree transcended any one title.

“All of the recipients demonstrate leadership to the Island, to our country, to the world in at least one of the following areas: historic preservation, fine and performing arts, literature, community activism and education,” said Heather Seger, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, at the opening of the event. “As you hear about tonight’s medal recipients, I think you’ll hear pieces of all three in all of their stories.”

On Monday evening in the museum courtyard Richard (Dick) Burt, the late Vernon Jordan and Nancy Vietor were celebrated for their lives and work.

James Richardson 3rd presented the medal to Mr. Burt.

Matthew Stackpole presented award to Nancy Vietor. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“It’s my pleasure to talk about Dick and I’ve known him for decades. It’s a very ancient history,” Mr. Richardson said with a laugh.

Mr. Burt’s start in archeology began when he was a child living on Arrowhead Farm, Mr. Richardson told the crowd. His skill at finding arrowhead sites as a young boy was so adept that he helped William A. Ritchie’s exploration of the Island which led to the book, The Archeology of Martha’s Vineyard.

Mr. Burt graciously accepted his award. “Archeology has been with me all my life,” he said.

The award to Vernon E. Jordan was presented posthumously by Mr. Jordan’s longtime friend Charlayne Hunter-Gault and accepted by Mr. Jordan’s daughter, Vickee Jordan-Adams.

Mr. Jordan died in March at the age of 85.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault presented award for her friend Vernon Jordan. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Ms. Hunter-Gault said she wanted to spend her time at the podium talking about one of his core values instead of his “extraordinary resume” as a civil rights activist and a lawyer.

“I am moved today to honor Vernon’s core value, that I think he would want you to remember him by,” she told the crowd. “The value that would explain why he had such an impact all over the world and to me. The value that made him so successful in whatever endeavor he chose to embrace. That core value was faith.”

Ms. Jordan-Adams thanked the museum board for the honor bestowed upon her father.

“I can tell you that this Island means so much to all my family,” she said. “This is home. This is where we got to spend quality time with Pop Pop and Grammy. This is where we got to celebrate their birthday and tell jokes and do silly things and learn to play golf.”

Nancy Vietor is an interior designer, painter and a gardener. She has also raised over $750,000 for the museum’s Cooke House Legacy Garden in Edgartown.

James Richardson presented award to Richard Burt. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“If you would just bear with me for a second let me just start by saying a few words,” said Matthew Stackpole when presenting the award to Ms. Vietor. “Boring, passionless, introspective, devoid of spirit and imagination, humorless, non-communicative, unreliable, egocentric, without talent, a follower, a non-risk taker, a quitter and no fun to be with.”

“These are all adjectives or phrases that have never appeared in the same sentence with the name Nancy Vietor,” Mr. Stackpole finished after startling the crowd and the medal recipient herself.

Ms. Vietor thanked everyone, while also urging others to give back.

“What I recommend about volunteering is you meet all sorts of people you wouldn’t meet otherwise, and you throw yourself into it, and you have to listen to other people’s point of view,” she said. “I found that that’s a great stretch for people to be able to come together and hear and relate to each other and determine which way the ship is actually going.”