MV Museum History


Anonymous Donor Buys Painting for Island Museum


A painting of a well-known Menemsha-based trawler by Heather Neill has been given to the Martha’s Vineyard Museum by an anonymous donor. The eight by four-foot painting, titled Strider’s Surrender, evokes the decline the local fishing industry.

The Quitsa Strider II is owned by respected Island fishermen Jonathan Mayhew. In a move symbolic of the dire state of the local fishing industry, Mr. Mayhew sold his federal permits last year, giving up his license and putting up the vessel itself for sale.

Historical Society Makes Headway in Plan to Restore Oscar Pease’s Catboat, Vanity

The Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society doesn’t have a whaling ship for its museum, nor a schooner. Although there is plenty of maritime history connected to the Vineyard, such great vessels would be too much of a burden to maintain. But the historical society does have an attractive old catboat and soon it will sail again.

Island History Comes Alive in Vineyard Voices

Vineyard Voices: Words, Faces and Voices of Island People. Excerpts from Interviews by Linsey Lee. Photographs by Linsey Lee and Mark Lennihan. Martha’s Vineyard: the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society, 1998. 296 pages. $29.95, soft cover.

Society Wages Campaign for Lighthouses

Lighthouses define the character of Martha’s Vineyard. They guide people from land and sea to the same shorelines, sheltering them under beacons of home.
Today, the Island’s lighthouses are deteriorating. Bricks are crumbling in the breeze, and iron is flaking away in the salt air. Before long, these landmarks could be reduced to brittle, rotting shells.

Historical Society Studies Genealogy of the Portuguese

More than 2,000 Portuguese family histories are included in a manuscript being prepared by the Dukes County Historical Society.
The document chronicles the arrival of Portuguese immigrants to the Vineyard, particularly the whaling crews recruited in the Azores and Cape Verde in the 19th century. It includes mention of approximately 7,000 individuals and 2,350 families, whose descendents today make up a significant portion of the Island’s year-round population.

Dukes County Historical Society Has Big Plans for Addition in Edgartown

The Dukes County Historical Society has solved the space problem it has been struggling with for most of its 66 years with the purchase of the John Vinson House on School street.
Saturday the society will open the property to the public as part of the Christmas in Edgartown celebration with a smattering of exhibits showing the Vineyard’s long and interesting history, as well as the history of the historical society.

Historical Society Held Annual Meeting Aug. 19

At the 60th annual meeting of the Dukes County Historical Society on Aug. 19, the members enjoyed an instruc­tive talk by Jonathan Scott on Chilmark’s Pre-Revolutionary War Houses, of which there are more than 75. By present­ing slides of structural details, Mr. Scott described the various unusual aspects of Vineyard colonial architecture. He also demonstrated the techniques for dating old houses. Mr. Scott is the author of The House that Gave Tea Lane Its Name in the August Dukes County Intelligencer.

Wealth of Treasures Convey Sense of Island’s Rich Past at the Historical Society’s Museum

Hens’ gravestones, a scrimshaw toothpick, a spittoon of General Grant’s, a plank from the Constitution and a spanker for naughty boys are among the many curiosities on display at the Duke’s County Historical Society museum on School street in Edgartown.

Relics on Exhibition

Some of the relics from the Port Hunter that were salvaged this summer by a group of young and enterprising Vineyard skindivers from that “ghost ship” sunk on Hedge Fence Shoal in November, 1918, have been presented to the Dukes County Historical Society. They are now on display in the Squire Cooke House, and serve as real life illustrations of the two informative articles written by Sammy Hart Low which appeared in the Gazette recently, illustrated by pictures he had taken.

Our Living History

The Dukes County Intelligencer is well on its way, according to Gale Huntington, its editor. The quality of the publication may possibly be judged by a sample of some of its surplus. These items were rejected by Eleanor Mayhew when she wrote her account of Christiantown:
May 6, 1743