Martha’s Vineyard Museum Appoints a New Director

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum has named David Nathans, of Princeton, N.J., as its new director. He will take over from Keith Gorman in late August.

Mr. Nathans, the founder and director of the Sydney Company, a marketing and business development firm with a focus on museums and cultural arts organization, will relocate to the Vineyard, according to a museum announcement.

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Museum Explores a Possible Move to Site of Former Marine Hospital
Lauren Martin

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum has taken an option on the former Marine Hospital in Vineyard Haven, giving the museum’s board until the end of January to decide whether the historic property perched on a hilltop above the harbor could serve as the new home for the Island’s historical collections.

The marine hospital went on the market in April with an asking price of $3.19 million.

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Gone Whaling: A Child’s Eye View of Life on a Whale Ship
Megan Dooley

“It is Sunday, and a very pleasant day. I have read two story books. This is my journal. Goodbye for today.”

So opened six-year-old Laura Jernegan’s journal, in an entry dated Dec. 1, 1868, as she set sail on a three-year sea expedition with her family aboard the whaling vessel Roman.

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New Chief Curator Is Part Of Museum Reorganization

Bonnie Stacy has been named chief curator at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

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New Director Aims to Make History Hip
Peter Brannen

As Island residents go kicking and screaming into the future, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum has always served as a refuge in turbulent times. Here the centuries mingle and Island life never changes. In one room, romantic maritime tableaus etched by idling seamen in the jawbones of sperm whales recall the glory of Martha’s Vineyard’s seafaring past, while in the next gallery the indelible 20th century folk art of Stanley Murphy revels in the workaday triumphs of a rural Island community.

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Museum Open House Unveils New Location’s Ample Charms
Holly Nadler

It’s the most famous Island landmark hardly anyone has ever seen. Built in 1895 as a marine hospital, the old plantation-style manor, with gray shingles, white trim and a sweeping balcony, on its 4.4.-acre hilltop, once commanded a view of Vineyard Haven harbor. At some point over the years the building acquired a white clapboard façade, enhancing its resemblance to Tara in Gone with the Wind. Across the broad lawn, a ring of pine and oak trees grew tall, obscuring the water vistas, and, at the same time, the long deserted building too.

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Agricultural Society, Polly Hill Join Forces to Buy Vineyard Museum Land
Lauren Martin

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is close to selling the West Tisbury land once envisioned as its future home to the neighbors, the Polly Hill Arboretum and the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society.

The sale is likely to be completed by the end of the week, arboretum executive director Tim Boland said. Surveying work was underway and everything was going very positively, he said.

“We both could see real utilitarian needs [for the land] ... and we feel strongly about keeping it in the agrarian spirit,” Mr. Boland said of the unified purchase with the agricultural society.

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Shipwrecks Below Island Waters Are Museums Unto Themselves
Peter Brannen

A mile and a half off East Chop, 50 feet down, is a 380-foot World War I British freighter laden with motorcycles, steel billets, railroad car wheels, candles and clothes, still waiting patiently for delivery to the front lines in France. It is the Port Hunter and for photographer and anthropologist Sam Low it was a teenage playground.

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World War II Veterans Exhibit Breaks Free to the Internet

In celebration of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum has launched a new online exhibit sharing the stories of Vineyard World War II veterans.

Those Who Serve: Martha’s Vineyard and World War II, began as an exhibition in the Museum during 2009 and 2010. The exhibit’s popularity resulted in an oral history book curated by Linsey Lee. Short audio excerpts of those interviews have now been put together with archival photos in an online exhibit allowing people all over the world to hear the stories.

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Museum Set to Buy Marine Hospital
Mike Seccombe

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum expects to sign within days a purchase and sales agreement to buy the former Marine Hospital in Vineyard Haven for an undisclosed price.

The purchase of the historic property, perched on a hill above the harbor, would mark a major step in the museum’s long quest to find a new home for its historical collections outside of Edgartown.

Museum executive director David Nathans said yesterday morning he hoped to have a deal completed by week’s end.

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