If you’re planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard and you have yet to explore the new Martha’s Vineyard Museum in Vineyard Haven you must add it to your itinerary now. This beloved facility sits in a storied building, perched above the Lagoon in Vineyard Haven, having recently completed a massive $31 million restoration project. The Museum offers sweeping water views, an impressive collection of Island history, a cafe featuring local treats and a world class schedule of arts and culture programs. Whether you go for the views, the exhibits, the building itself or the food, just make sure you go!
Location, Location, Location
The Museum is situated overlooking Lagoon Pond and Vineyard Sound in Tisbury, or Vineyard Haven. The campus is a ten minute walk from the Steamship Authority’s Vineyard Haven terminal and an eight minute walk from Five Corners.
The building itself is of historical significance and is a striking property that can’t be missed. A lighthouse once existed on the front terrace and, in 1895, the Coast Guard ordered the construction of a 29-room Marine Hospital on the property later adding onto it in 1938. Before the Museum purchased the property in 2011, the site was owned by the St. Pierre family who operated the St. Pierre School of Sport, a camp that many Island kids visited every summer. Today the Museum features a permanent exhibit “On This Site” which details the life of the building before it became the Museum, where you can listen to oral histories from some of the patients and nurses who spent time there as well as some of the memories of the campers who called this campus home during their childhood summers.
In addition to “On This Site” the Museum offers several other permanent exhibits that highlight fascinating Island history and the impressive collections the Museum has acquired. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum preserves and exhibits fine art, furniture, photographs, textiles, manuscripts, and everyday objects that Vineyarders have made and used.
The museum also offers a regular rotation of current exhibits as well as online exhibits including oral histories from Martha’s Vineyard veterans and fishermen over the years and the remarkable journal of a young girl’s life on a whaling ship in the 1800s among other things.
Programs and Events
In addition to visiting the Museum to tour it’s space and galleries you also have the opportunity to attend special events, classes, exhibit openings and more. Be sure to get on the Museum’s email list to receive updates on what’s happening. Upcoming winter events include:
The Museum Cafe
The cafe is as diverse as the Museum itself, offering a variety of delicious food brought from eateries across the Island. Visitors can access the cafe without paying for entry to the museum, and can enjoy a snack or lunch, while gazing out across Vineyard Haven Harbor and Lagoon. Once inside, visitors to the cafe can’t miss the incredible Fresnel lens hanging above, which was once part of the Gay Head Lighthouse. This spectacular artifact features over 1000 individual glass panes, and is one of only 39 first-order Fresnels remaining in the U.S.
Things to Know When Visiting
Group rates are applicable for parties of 10 or more, and private tours can be arranged with advance notice.
Photos: Courtesy MV Museum
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