The Mission of the Martha's Vineyard Museum
The Martha's Vineyard Museum inspires all people to discover, explore, and strengthen their connections to this Island and its diverse heritage.
A Brief History of the Martha's Vineyard Museum
The Martha's Vineyard Museum was originally known as the Dukes County Historical Society. It was founded in 1922 and incorporated the following year. The founders first acquired revolutionary era documents, which started the collection.
In 1996, the Society's name was changed to the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society to reflect the main emphasis of the institution's collections which are strictly those concerning Martha's Vineyard. The only other town within Dukes County is Gosnold on the Elizabeth Island of Cuttyhunk, which now has its own museum and historical society.
In 2006, the organization decided to change its name from the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society to the Martha's Vineyard Museum. The new name was intended to better reflect the organization's mission and its extensive holdings of three-dimensional objects, archival documents, historic books and photographs, paintings, and museum exhibits.
Realizing the need for better collection storage, improved access, and more space for exhibitions and public programming, the Museum purchased the former 1895 Marine Hospital in Vineyard Haven in 2011 following an extensive feasibility study. A $31 million capital campaign was quietly launched soon after to raise funds to renovate the historic structure and add onto it. The campaign went public in June 2016. At this time, Museum leadership hopes to open the doors at the new facility in late 2018. The historic 1740 Thomas Cooke House will remain in Edgartown and will be open to the public seasonally as a historic house.