59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum
Medal Winners, 2012



Watch the Martha's Vineyard Medal ceremony here.



2016 MV Medal Winners (from left to right): Robert S. Douglas, Catherine (Kay) Mayhew, and Len Butler.









Since 1923 the Martha’s Vineyard Museum has been the “safety deposit box” for the images, stories, objects and voices of Martha’s Vineyard. The stories we tell are thorough and vivid because our collection is acquired from people who relish their connection to the Vineyard and trust we will preserve it for generations. The culture and lifestyle on the Vineyard is unlike most communities due to the natural beauty, commitment to preservation, and historical richness.

As the premier storyteller of the history, arts, and culture of Martha’s Vineyard, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum introduced the Martha’s Vineyard Medal in 2009. The Medal is awarded annually to leaders in the community to recognize their outstanding commitment to preserving the history, arts, and culture of Martha’s Vineyard. 

Criteria for the Medal includes demonstrated leadership on Martha’s Vineyard in one or more of the following areas:

  • Historic preservation
  • Fine and performing arts
  • Literature
  • Community activism
  • Education

2016 MV Medal Winners

Len Butler
Presented by Richard Skidmore

Len Butler was building committee chairman for the Gay Head Lighthouse move. He is a senior site supervisor and founding member of John G. Early Construction where he has worked on countless Vineyard homes since 1972. Len navigated a number of complex problems involving many stakeholders to move the Light hundreds of feet back from the eroding cliffs. He oversaw geological studies and studies of erosion rates, helped solicit bids for moving the Lighthouse, and consulted with Nantucket where a similar group moved the Sankaty Light in 2007.  Len was eager to educate the community about the Lighthouse move, especially Island schoolchildren. Moving the Light became Len’s day job. He was known as Aquinnah’s “steady hand on the tiller,” a responsibility that consumed countless hours.


Robert S. Douglas
Presented by Denys Wortman

Capt. Robert S. Douglas is the designer and builder of the topsail Black Dog schooner Shenandoah, which he captained for 48 years. He became involved with boats summering and sailing on Martha’s Vineyard as a youth. In the early 1960s, he began working at the Harvey Gamage Shipyard in Maine where he designed and built Shenandoah to take guests on charters around New England. Bob always wanted people to experience sailing in the wind, on the water, and without 20th century technology. He moved to the Island full time in the late 1960s. Later, as the market for adult passengers declined, he began focusing on kids’ cruises. Countless Island school children have had the experience of spending days on Shenandoah learning about life at sea.

Catherine (Kay) Mayhew
Presented by Anna Carringer

Catherine (Kay) Mayhew has been involved with the MV Museum since it was the Dukes County Historical Society. She served on the Board and was also Vice President and Secretary. Kay volunteers over 600 hours a year as the Museum’s genealogist, helping people find their family history through various sources including the Museum’s archives. She has an encyclopedic memory of families on this Island. Kay is the former president of the MV League of Women Voters and currently writes the weekly Tisbury column for the Martha’s Vineyard Times.


Past Winners:

2016 Recipients:
Len Butler
Robert S. Douglas
Catherine (Kay) Mayhew

2015 Recipients:
Pat Gregory
Patricia Morgan
Cynthia Riggs

2014 Recipients:
Renee Balter
Dorothy Bangs
Richard Paradise

2013 Recipients:
Sheldon Hackney
Olga Hirshhorn
Murphy Family (Stan, Polly, Chris, and Barbara)

2012 Recipients:
Athearn Family
Geraldine Brooks
Tony Horwitz
Hugh Knipmeyer

2011 Recipients:
Marian Halperin
Francine Kelley
S. Bailey Norton, Jr.

2010 Recipients:
David McCullough
Arthur R. Railton
Tobias Jonathan Vanderhoop

2009 Recipients:
Ray Ellis
Tom Hale
Della Hardman
John Walter