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Vacation Ideas - Marthas Vineyard Museum in Massachusetts

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is both the island’s largest museum and its only research library dedicated to the history of the Vineyard. The museum contains a large collection of cultural artifacts, historic photographs, archival records and genealogical records. The 30,000 items and more are collections that include:

• Archaeological material
• Paintings
• Prints and sculpture
• Baskets
• Coins
• Costumes
• Decoys
• Hunting and fishing and shell fishing tools
• Ethnographic material from all over the world brought to the Vineyard by whalers
• Guns and swords
• Furniture and household equipment
• Medical and scientific tools and equipment
• Musical instruments
• Fossils and botanical samples
• Maritime-related tools
• Sailor’s artwork like scrimshaw and inlaid work
• Ship models
• Shipwreck salvage materials
• Toys and more

The Museum also has a library and archive collection spanning every period of the Island’s complex history. In addition there is a Martha’s Vineyard Museum paper collection containing materials from the 17th century through the 21st century. These collections include items such as:

• Manuscripts
• Ship logbooks
• Postcards
• Island business account books
• Legal papers and land deeds
• Family correspondence

Included with the Library collection is an extensive photo collection of historic images of Vineyard tourism, homes, individuals and communities.

Open mid-June through Columbus Day weekend is the Cooke House built in 1740 and lived in by the Cooke family for four generations. It is the only example of its style of house and period on the Island that has not been modernized. There are 11 rooms of Vineyard history exhibits in the Cooke House.

The Pease House Galleries are open all year and represent 10,000 years on Martha’s Vineyard. This is the Wampanoag Gallery, which explores the presence of the Island’s first inhabitants – the Wampanoag Indians.

The Fresnel Lens Tower is located in the Lighthouse Tower on the Martha’s Vineyard Museum Campus. It is open all year.

The Carriage Shed contains vessels and vehicles such as a restored 1856 fire engine, an Island-built whaleboat, a sleigh, a hearse, a wagon, a Hawaiian dugout canoe and surfboards. You will also find pieces of the Martha’s Vineyard Railroad, historic murals and many other interesting items from the Island’s past.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is also steward of three of the Island’s lighthouses. These are Gay Head, East Chop and Edgartown lighthouses. The lighthouses are not just historic sites of the days that have gone by. They still send a light out into the night and also offer visitors spectacular views of the majestic cliffs of Aquinnah, the beauty of Vineyard Sound and the elegance of Edgartown Harbor and Chappaquiddick.

The East Chop and Gay Head lighthouses are open for sunset tours from mid-June to mid-September for admission price of $3 per person. The Gay Head Light in Aquinnah is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. The East Chop Light in Oak Bluffs is open only on Sunday evenings. The tours begin 1 ˝ hours prior to sunset and continue ˝ hour after sunset.

The lighthouses also offer a unique atmosphere for wedding ceremonies, although receptions are allowed, you can contact them at 508-939-9155 for more information regarding wedding ceremonies.

Catboat Charters on Vanity

Reservations of parties of one to six are accepted for sailing in the morning, afternoon and at sunset beginning in the month of June. The charters are taking a break for the 2007 season, but should resume their schedule in the year of 2008. Call the museum at 508-939-9155 for more information. The Catboat was built in Edgartown by Manual Swartz Roberts in what is now the Old Sculpin Gallery on the waterfront. As you coast silently up Edgartown Harbor and Katama Bay on the Catboat you can feel a sense of what life sounded and felt like 75 years ago. The catboat was totally restored in year 2000 and offers guests a relaxing sail. Normal cruises are usually two hours in length. Picnic dining is encouraged. Cost per hour is $20 per person, two hour minimum and there is room for six or a quiet trip for one.

Source: Martha’s Vineyard Museum Tour Guide

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© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved

Written by: Connie Limon. For more vacation ideas visit http://smalldogs2.com/VacationIdeas For a variety of FREE reprint articles and special topic articles rarely found elsewhere visit Camelot Articles at http://www.camelotarticles.com

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