Saltzman Cabinet of Curiosities
Creating Amity Island
In the spring of 1974, Hollywood descended on the Island. Martha’s Vineyard had been cast to play the fictitious Amity Island in the now classic film Jaws. In this mini-exhibit, a teaser to our 50th anniversary exhibition in 2025, discover behind-the-scenes details of the production, including the challenges of filming on location and the ways in which the Island's community was involved in the process.READ MORE
The Grain Family Gallery
The Unique Voice of the Martha’s Vineyard Deaf Community
From 1694 to 1952, Martha’s Vineyard - and specifically the towns of Chilmark and West Tisbury - had an unusually large population of people with hereditary deafness.READ MORE
Contemporary Wampanoag artists and artisans help us picture the world of their ancestors, the first inhabitants of this Island, by making objects using old and new materials while drawing on old and new techniques.
Mary Norton Sampler
Mary H. Norton made this sampler in Holmes Hole (now Vineyard Haven) when she was around 12 years old.
Though most familiar in the form of whales’ teeth carved with pictures of ships, scrimshaw was an extremely varied art.
Mary Drake Coles learned to paint during childhood summers on Martha’s Vineyard, in her teens in Provincetown, and later at Smith College, in Paris, Majorca, Haiti, and New York.
Zeb Tilton Portrait
Benton found inspiration on Martha’s Vineyard from his first visits to the Island in the 1920s until his death in 1975.
Dancing Dolls (Brinquinho)
Mary Paiva Drouin, the daughter of a first-generation Portuguese immigrant family, recalls how her family’s cherished “dancing dolls” in traditional Portuguese dress were paraded through the streets of Oak Bluffs during the Holy Ghost Festival.
One of the earliest Jewish families to settle here, the Brickmans operated a shoe business on Main Street in Vineyard Haven that became Brickman’s department store.
Dial Telephone Service Comes to Aquinnah
This photograph, staged in May 1955 to celebrate the introduction of dial telephone service in Chilmark and Gay Head, captures the tension between tradition and modernity.
In 2017, the Museum exhibited photographer Mila Lowe’s “Local Immigrants Project.” Lowe undertook the project to document the wide diversity of recent immigrants to the Island.
Luce Dressing Box
Captain Richard G. Luce presented this box to his daughter, Abbie Bradford Luce, upon returning from one of his many long voyages.
Life preserver from the City of Columbus, which crashed on the underwater rocks of Devil’s Bridge in January 1884 when a gash was torn in the hull and seawater rushed into the steamer.
Priscilla Pearl Necklaces
Manufactured in Hyannis at the Priscilla Laboratory, these glass and herring scale “pearls” were named “Priscilla Pearls” and sold around the country through mail order and at Lina Call’s Priscilla Pearl Shop in Edgartown.
Owned by E. Gale Huntington, this violin was possibly carried around Cape Horn on a voyage by Menemsha fisherman Lyman Cottle.
A sloop: the backbone of Island ferry services before steam power.
Monohansett (1862), depicted in this painting by J. P. Winegar, was the first reliable steam ferry to serve Martha’s Vineyard.
Fall River Line Advertisement
Palatial “night boats” like Plymouth connected New York and Martha’s Vineyard.
“Enchanted Isle” Poster
This 1934 travel poster promoted the Vineyard as a playground of the rich and stylish.
Islander, which operated from 1950-2007, revolutionized ferry service to the Vineyard.
Island Queen Advertisement
Summer “excursion boats” like the Island Queen carried day tourists to Oak Bluffs.
Provincetown-Boston Airlines Timetable
Provincetown-Boston Airline was the Island’s leading air carrier for 40 years.
Islander and Island Home
Islander (1950) passes her successor Island Home (2007) in Vineyard Haven Harbor.
Hard-wearing satinet cloth: the West Tisbury woolen mill’s signature product.
Vanderhoops at Aquinnah Circle
Harrison and Selina Vanderhoop selling Wampanoag crafts at Aquinnah Circle.
King’s Paint Mill
Clay pigments from King’s Paint Mill in Chilmark tinted the houses of southern New England.
Bricks on Pier
The signature product of the Roaring Brook brickyard awaits shipment to the mainland.
Erford Burt Bass Boat
One of Erford Burt’s signature “bass boats” in the basin at Burt’s Boatyard on the Lagoon.
Model of the SS Drottingholm
Van Ryper offered its customers affordable “models of ships on which you’ve sailed.”
Dairy Cooperative Bottle
Martha’s Vineyard Cooperative Dairy helped the Island’s small farmers, but could not compete with mainland producers.
Chilmark Chocolates Sign
Chilmark Chocolates was known for its delicious product, and its community spirit.
Black Dog Catalog
The Black Dog began as a year-round restaurant, but became a lifestyle brand.
The ancestors of the Wampanoag people who live here now fished using harpoons such as this one, which was found along the shore in Aquinnah.
Joseph Belain Portrait
Over the course of 20 whaling voyages, Aquinnah-born Joseph Belain (1848-1926), served as harpooner, second mate, first mate, and twice as a replacement master.
Whale and Porpoise Oil Samples
Beginning in the mid-19th century and ending in the 1940s, William F. Nye Company of New Bedford refined and processed whale and porpoise oil for various purposes.
Nomansland Codfish Box
Salted and dried cod was sold to Fischer Brothers of Vineyard Haven, who packaged it in wooden boxes like this one and sold it locally as well as shipping it to New Bedford and Providence.
Before the 20th century, eels were caught and eaten in great numbers by islanders, who captured them in the fall and winter using pots like this one.
Menemsha Swordfishing Fleet
Equipped by a tall mast for lookouts and a long narrow platform for the harpooner jutting out from the bow, “Sword boats” supplied a market in which swordfish was seen as a delicacy.
“Dorothy and Everett” Weathervane
Using the vessels he knew as inspiration, local fisherman Jimmy Morgan made weathervanes and sold them in his small shop in Menemsha to supplement his income.
Photograph of Fishermen
Fishermen could once make a good living selling the fish they caught in net traps along the northwest shore of the Vineyard.
Chart of Holmes Hole
This view of Holmes Hole (now Vineyard Haven) harbor in 1781 looks familiar at first glance, but a closer look reveals unfamiliar features.
The Harbor of Holmes Hole
Twelve years before this chart was drawn in 1847, the citizens of Holmes Hole blocked Bass Creek with a worn-out schooner filled with rocks, making way for Water Street and Union Wharf.
Martha’s Vineyard Railroad Train on the Beach
The Martha’s Vineyard Railroad operated from 1872 to 1896, carrying passengers from the Oak Bluffs steamer wharf to the outskirts of Edgartown, then to Katama.
1938 Beach Road Flooding
This photograph, looking down Beach Road toward Five Corners, was taken during the 1938 Hurricane.
Bathhouse Debris on Oak Bluffs Steamer Wharf
Bathhouses were a fixture of Oak Bluffs — a monument to the social customs of a bygone era — until September 1944, when the Great Atlantic Hurricane struck the Island.
Bunker on South Beach
This concrete structure, used to train World War II naval aviators, originally stood in the dunes behind the beach; by the late 1960s or early 1970s, it stood at the water’s edge.
Moving the Gay Head Light
The brick tower of the current Gay Head Light was built in 1856, and by the early twenty-first century, erosion had left it dangerously close to the edge of the cliffs.
Join us for a fascinating panel discussion exploring the intricacies of Martha’s Vineyard’s housing crisis where Dan O’Connell, Dylan Fernandes, and Tucker Holland will provide guidance on next steps in the Island’s pursuit of finding solutions.
Join us for an afternoon of seasonal crafting! This hands-on program offers a range of crafting activities, from ornament and garland creation to wreath making and card design, all using natural and recycled materials. As you craft, immerse yourself in a cozy environment and learn how Islanders of long ago celebrated this time of year. A perfect blend of education and fun, this workshop is ideal for craft lovers of all ages. Create and celebrate with us!
Unlock the power of memoir writing at the Museum and dive into the role of Martha’s Vineyard as a muse for memoirists. Our stories hold immense value, and even if you think you don’t have one, you do, you may just need a little help with the first steps. Join Island authors Sherry Sidoti, Nancy Slonim Aronie, and Bill Eville as they invite you into the world of personal storytelling.
We welcome you to revel in a cozy evening of music fitting for this time of year, when light is in short supply. Prominent local musicians Rose Guerin and Jeremy Berlin will bring their joy and jazzy swing to the Linnemann Pavilion for a special night for all to gather and enjoy the sounds of the season.
Start your 2024 off right with January’s Lunch Lecture with Jason Mazar-Kelly. Jason, known by his moniker YogiJay, will delve into the practices of yoga and mindfulness, illuminating their transformative potential in supporting your mental health. Join us to gain insight into the therapeutic benefits of these practices, discover practical applications, and experience guided meditation.
VISIT OUR CAMPUS
With an exciting slate of exhibits, guest speakers, and community events, there’s always something new to discover at MVM.
OPEN 10 – 4
TUESDAY – SUNDAY
Explore maps, manuscripts, objects, photos, oral histories, and much more.
FEET FROM THE
Our Vineyard Haven campus is just a 10-minute walk from the Steamship Authority terminal.
YEARS OF SERVING THE ISLAND COMMUNITY
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“We believe in the mission and vision of the MV Museum. We want our grandchildren to love and appreciate this Island’s history, art, and culture as much as we do, so it is very important to us that the Museum continues to grow and thrive!”BARBARA COUCH