I have felt for many years that on Martha’s Vineyard, I belong. Even before my parents brought me to the Vineyard as a teenager in the 1970s to live full time we were regular summer visitors to the Island that they had loved since the late 1940s. I graduated from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, and later, married my wife in a small ceremony less than a mile from my current home in Vineyard Haven. My parents are buried nearby, and I too will have my final rest on the Island, though hopefully no time soon.

The Vineyard is where I learned to swim, play sports, caught my first fish and learned many of the life lessons that have shaped me. It’s also where I developed a passion for the causes and missions to which I have dedicated my professional and philanthropic focus. From its woods to its shoreline, Martha’s Vineyard is where I feel at home.

The microcosmic world of the Island is not entirely free from the challenges and dysfunction of all communities, of course. We still have work to do. But at a time when it is all too easy for us to feel separate and different from one another, love for the Island and a feeling of belonging helps us to share a common bond and be connected. It provides us both the space and the ability to explore and understand our varied histories — struggles and triumphs included — and to feel comfortable and confident in our own skin. For me, this sense of belonging provides a foundation and jumping-off point, a starting place of comfort, hope and inspiration.

Part of what makes Martha’s Vineyard special is that it has offered that sense of belonging for centuries to people of innumerable backgrounds and life experiences. Whether they be from the communities of indigenous Americans, European immigrants and their offspring, Africans, African Americans, religious belief or, LGBTQIA, our Island has largely been a shining haven tied together by our shared appreciation for this place we all call home. It has welcomed and nurtured world leaders, artists, scholars, activists as well as those with cerebral palsy, hearing challenges and more.

With all this in mind, my family and I have leaned in to the cultural institution that, in my opinion, offers the greatest opportunity to both celebrate and further build upon that Island tradition of inclusiveness and shared understanding. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum, under the leadership of the new executive director Heather Seger, will soon begin a series of exhibits and celebrations to commemorate its 100 years of existence.

Overall, the centennial is a critical milestone that presents an opportunity for belonging, both for the museum itself, and for anyone from any background who loves the Island. The museum is not a fixed thing, after all, but a living public square that can belong more fully to us all through our support and participation. And through the conversations that we together create at our museum, we all can belong even more fully to the Island we love.

In advance of the centennial activities, this year’s Evening of Discovery will be hosted on Thursday, August 12. In addition, on Tuesday August 10, the museum will offer on its campus a rare opportunity to see award winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s deeply personal and poignant movie about race, family, belonging and the freedom to be oneself on Martha’s Vineyard, A Place of Our Own.

From its earliest residents to the diverse community of today, the museum is a meeting place of people and stories, of narratives and experiences. All the accompanying histories are a part of Martha’s Vineyard, and are a piece of what makes us who we are. Without a doubt, the Island has and will continue to change — both by the touch of nature and that of human hands. Future generations will find a home here, and it will change and shift in ways that accommodate their truths. Their stories will be added to the ones we are writing now and those already written. The museum — our museum — offers us the unique opportunity to both celebrate and question the past and the present, and to be a part of what makes this Island home for countless future Vineyarders.

Through it all, what I hope remains is the sense of belonging that the Vineyard and the museum has given to me and to so many others, that feeling of community that drew my family here years ago and that continues to make this place my home. That’s the gift of an Island where all are welcome, and all belong. None of us can define the Vineyard by ourselves; we belong to it, and it belongs to us all. That’s the community we have built together, over centuries of connecting stories. Being here is belonging here — now, and for generations to come.

David J. Grain lives in Vineyard Haven and Sarasota, Fla.