The Martha’s Vineyard Museum announced this week that the museum and its research library will temporarily close to the public on Jan. 2, as the staff and a professional moving company prepare to move to their new location at the old marine hospital in Vineyard Haven.

Exhibit galleries will open again on May 26, 2018 for a final summer at the Edgartown location. The Edgartown location will close to the public for good on Columbus Day, 2018. The research library will remain closed throughout the summer.

“We had to pick a time to do it,” said museum executive director Phil Wallis. “We have 17,000 artifacts, so to get them all prepared for moving is quite an endeavor.”

The staff will get help from Museum and Collector Resource, a specialty firm from Concord.

“They’re a professional moving and storage company,” Mr. Wallis said. “We’ve been working with them for years.”

He described a complicated moving job. The artifacts that will remain on display next summer must be packed last. The rest of the collection must be packed and staged inside the museum in the order they will be moved to the new location. The galleries, library and work spaces will be used to stage the collection before them move.

“It’s a combination of staging, so that we can move everything into the new building when it’s ready,” Mr. Wallis said. “It’s last in, first out. We need to make sure that all 17,000 artifacts are stored in a way that allows us to do that, as well as have the appropriate exhibits for the summer. So it’s quite a jigsaw puzzle. That’s what we’ll be working on for the next few months.”

Among the most delicate items to be relocated is the original 1854 Fresnel lens from the Gay Head Lighthouse, which will be moved into the research library for staging next April.

The light is assembled from 1,008 separate prisms. The entire Fresnel lens will be taken apart, each prism serviced, packed, and reassembled when it gets to its new home.

In a news release, museum operations director Katy Fuller said construction progress on the new $24 million museum remains on schedule. The museum plans a soft opening at the new location some time in 2018, and a grand opening in the summer of 2019.

“The staff appreciates the public’s understanding and flexibility during the transition, and looks forward to opening the new museum with the Island community next year,” said Ms. Fuller.