59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum
Laura Jernegan: Girl on a Whaleship AASLH Wow AwardALA Great Sites AASLH Award of MeritNEH We the People

Discover the story of 19th century whaling and the experiences of a young girl on a whaling voyage.

In 1868, at the age of six, Laura Jernegan went to sea with her father, Captain Jared Jernegan, and her family aboard the 125-foot whaling bark Roman. Together, they sailed the world, and for three years in her journal, young Laura recorded her impressions of life at sea and the work of whaling. Laura's remarkable journal, acts as the centerpiece for visitors of all ages to explore the world of 19th century whaling.

Today, the website tells two stories; one of whaling in the 19th century and the other of Laura’s experiences. The site describes six different types of whales Laura encountered and includes an interactive map of whale ship routes, hunting grounds, and migration patterns. Also included is a timeline of whaling history, narratives, and pictures of historic artifacts, documents, and whaling ships. Laura’s diary is an important part of the Museum's collection on martime history. It is available in its entirety on the website with a magnifying glass that can zoom in on different entries and pages. Martha’s Vineyard seventh grader Molly Houghton narrates the diary online allowing visitors to sit back and listen to Laura’s stories.

Read about this exhibit in the Not Summer 2010-2011 edition of the Martha's Vineyard Magazine.

Visit Laura Jernegan: Girl on a Whaleship