The history of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum is the latest sponsored collection to be added to the Time Machine, the Vineyard Gazette’s online tour through Island history.

The timeline, located at, traces the origins of what is now known as the Martha’s Vineyard Museum to a meeting in 1921 of library trustees from across the Island. What began as an association formed to compile a bibliographic record of all Martha’s Vineyard literature quickly evolved into a historical society to collect and preserve important cultural artifacts.

The Dukes County Historical Society was formally incorporated in 1923. Within two years, it had published the History of Martha’s Vineyard, Dr. Charles Banks’s three-volume cultural genealogy of the Island.

The Time Machine now has about a dozen topical timelines, on subjects ranging from hurricanes and storms to the history of the Island Cup. These chronological collections of historical articles and photographs offer a window into the vast archives of the Gazette, which has been reporting the news of Martha’s Vineyard since 1846. This year, the Gazette invited businesses that have operated on the Island for at least 50 years to sponsor their own timelines. The museum is the latest in a group that includes the Harbor View Hotel, Cronig’s Market and the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association.

The museum timeline includes a news report from 1959 announcing creation of the Dukes County Intelligencer, a journal that continues today to publish articles of historical interest about the Island. It also chronicles some key acquisitions, including artifacts from the 1918 sinking of the Port Hunter, a letter signed by John Hancock and the catboat Vanity, once owned by Oscar Pease.

The historical society was renamed the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society in 1996 and finally the Martha’s Vineyard Museum a decade later. The timeline ends with the May 2017 groundbreaking for the museum’s new home at the former Marine Hospital in Vineyard Haven.

All the collections on the Time Machine can be found at