The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently finished a three-day tour of the Island that included stops at the Gay Head Light, the Vincent House, the former marine hospital, the Flying Horses, the Vose family boathouse on the Edgartown harbor and several other historic sites.

The tour began Thursday with a trip to the Gay Head Light, which in 2013 the trust named to its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places. The designation helped energize fund-raising efforts that led to the successful relocation of the lighthouse in May.

On Friday, members gathered for lunch at the old marine hospital overlooking Vineyard Haven Harbor in the distance, which was once the second busiest harbor in the world, after the English Channel. They were joined by board members of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, which hopes to relocate to the 1895 structure following a major renovation and expansion project in the coming years.

Trust president Stephanie Meeks, council member Randy Bryant at old marine hospital. — Tova Katzman

“Preservation is a catalyst for development,” said council member Randy Bryant, an architectural historian and preservationist from Milwaukee, joined by trust president Stephanie Meeks near the steps of the building on Friday.

Mr. Bryant said the museum project would not only preserve a historic building and setting, but would improve access to Vineyard history through the museum’s collection, which is now housed in a small campus in downtown Edgartown.

“You have papers from the beginning of our nation, signed by Alexander Hamilton and signed by John Adams and Paul Revere,” he said. “And many people don’t know it because they are not accessible,” Mr. Bryant said.

Mr. Bryant stressed the importance of adaptive reuse on the Island and elsewhere. While new buildings may provide modern conveniences, he said, they often lack the character of old buildings.

“We’re seeing it all across the country,” said Ms. Meeks, noting the attraction that many young people feel to historic places.

“People who are in their 20s and 30s are really gravitating to neighborhoods that have historic buildings — and where those neighborhoods are not set aside necessarily as museum properties, but that are actively integrated into their everyday life,” she said.

Earlier on Friday, the group toured National Register-listed homes in Vineyard Haven, then headed to Chilmark to visit one of the oldest houses on the Vineyard, now owned by Doug Liman. Saturday’s itinerary included the Flying Horses and the Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs, and several other houses, including the home of Peter and Gwen Norton in Ocean Park, a replica of the 1891 original.

Lighthouse keeper Richard Skidmore addresses council from sweeping vista at westernmost edge of Island. — Mark Lovewell

The council tours two cities each year, in the fall and spring, and often gets an intimate look at a community’s historic places. On Saturday the group toured the Gazette building on South Summer street in Edgartown, which was the former home of Capt. Benjamin Smith, who led the First Company of the Martha’s Vineyard Militia during the Revolutionary War.

Mr. Bryant, a regular visitor to the Island, had encouraged this fall’s trip.“There was a popular vote for Martha’s Vineyard,” Ms. Meeks said. Next year the group plans to visit Richmond, Va., and Denver, Colo.

Part of what distinguishes the Vineyard as a historic place is its attention to new buildings as well as old ones, Mr. Bryant said. “There is a lot of sensitive building that has occurred and sensitive restoration.”

“You want people to take time and think before tearing down. You want people to take time to think before building, or even developing,” he said. “It’s imperative that that happens.”

Besides buildings and landscapes, the trust also works to protect historic neighborhoods and industrial areas. Its 2015 list of most endangered places includes the South Street Seaport in New York, Little Havana in Florida, and the Grand Canyon, which the trust says is threatened by development proposals such as uranium mining and tourist resorts.

“Everybody in the world has a place that they care about and that they would hate to see lost,” Ms. Meeks said. “It’s a value I think we all share, and I think at its root that’s what preservation is really all about.”