Current Exhibitions


Those Who Served
November 5th, 2019 through January 17th, 2020
The Adele H. Waggaman Community Gallery

During World War II, the entire Vineyard community mobilized to support the War effort, both on the home front and overseas. The Island was a bustling center of military activity. One square mile of land at the heart of the State Forest was taken by the federal government to construct the US Naval Auxiliary Air Facility (now the Martha’s Vineyard Airport) for training new pilots and refresher courses for seasoned airmen.

The military maintained installations at the Vineyard’s high-ground on Peaked Hill in Chilmark and at a facility in Katama. Ground and air training maneuvers were carried out along the Island’s north and south shore beaches. Vineyard men and women served abroad in every theater of the War. At home, Civil Defense and United Service Organizations (USO) were active in Island towns.

The personal stories and perspectives of Vineyard people who survived the War years are a part of the Museum’s oral history collections. These stories bring alive the horror and confusion of battle, the exhilaration of victory, and the shared sacrifice and anxiety experienced by those on the home front.


Northern Connections: Martha’s Vineyard and the Arctic
December 5th, 2019 through February 9th, 2020
The Grain Family Gallery

Whaling, trade, and exploration brought Vineyarders to the frigid north during the 19th and early 20th centuries. This exhibit explores Vineyarders’ experiences and examines the impact this connection had on both the Vineyard community and the people and environment of the far north.


Treasured Beacon: The Edgartown Harbor Light
October 29th, 2019 through January 19th, 2020
The Chris and Bob Cox Gallery

For generations, the Edgartown Light has stood watch over the waters of Edgartown Harbor. Today the conical white tower is beloved both for its beauty and the important role it plays in guiding sailors safely home. Eighty years ago though it looked quite different and its fate was the subject of intense controversy. Through historic images and newspaper clippings, this exhibit looks at the history of the Edgartown Harbor Light, the transformation it underwent eighty years ago, and the importance it holds to our Island community.


Face Value: Vineyard Portraits from the 21st Century
August 20th, 2019 through January 5th, 2020
The Warren and Marilyn Hollinshead Gallery

Photo portrait of Charles Giordano with boxing gloves

West Tisbury’s Dan Waters uses a traditional large-format camera to capture detailed black-and-white images of the human landscape he has come to know. His aim is to make and preserve a highly personal record of everyday Island faces. The larger-than-life portraits in this exhibit are intended to be placed in the museum’s climate-controlled vault, where some day they may provide the best remaining clues of who we were.

Photo caption: Portrait of Charles Giordano, 2019


The Art of the Hunt: Martha’s Vineyard Decoys
October 29th, 2019 through April 26th, 2020
The Bette and Richard Saltzman Cabinet of Curiosities

In the 19th and early 20th century, wild ducks, geese, and other birds served as an important part of the annual cycle of food on Martha’s Vineyard. Vineyarders placed decoys in ponds and along the shore, hoping to lure the wild birds close enough to shoot. The decoys they used came from all over the country, but many Islanders also carved their own. See a selection of decoys from the Museum collection from carvers including Henry Keyes Chadwick, Elmer Crowell, William E. Dugan Sr., and more.