1800 House Survey Responses

I have been coming on island since 1966, I have been a member of NHA since we bought a house in 2005. One of my joys has been walking the streets of town and admiring its history and visiting NHA properties and taking classes at the 1800 house The facility is perfect for hosting several classes at once in a building filled with history. That history has been honored by the classes taught there. My personal favorite property is the Greater light. I discovered it in the early 1970’s on my walks from our rental ( the Stable ) on Lily street. At that time its garden was open but the building was empty and unused. I was delighted by its restoration a few years ago, seeing it back as it was originally used was wonderful. The decision to sell the 1800 House ( which I understand was Gift to the NHA ) not only gives up a perfect place for classes, but moving the classes to the Greater Light has ruined the restoration work and essentially turned it into a warehouse. It seems to me, that NHA has lost its direction and has changed it priorities. It saddens me, but these changes may also cause it to lose my support.
Thank you for visiting the Nantucket Whaling Museum.
~Kathleen Wixted Francis

I believe that the 1800 House should stay in the control and ownership of the NHA. Nantucket is losing so many historic properties to total interior demolition. I am sure your events and education teams can develop uses for this property. I am sorry about losing James Russell… he made huge positive impression on this community.
Thank you, Susan Hostetler

I am angry that selling a gifted property is even under consideration. Many islanders have donated items to the NHA, and this is a slap in the face to all, and leaves little motivation to donate anything else. Many islanders have volunteered time and goods to benefit the NHA, why even bother now, if you’re just going to sell properties?
~Anne and Henry Terry

I believe that further study is needed on the 1800 house. The 1800 house seems to me to be a great set-up for classes with the requisite space and parking. I share many of the other respondents concerns about moving the classes to Greater Light and the viability of such a decision. Greater Light is one of my favorite NHA properties and I am thoroughly disappointed that it is no longer open to the public as a property to be viewed (as it would have been when the sisters lived there) and has been gutted of its furnishings. It’s always one of my annual stops and where I had always taken guests to the island because I found the history, architecture and stories just so fascinating. Please bring it back to its former glory.
~Susan Cosper

Dear NHA Leadership,

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts. The selling of the 1800 House seems to be inconsistent with the values and mission of the NHA. It also raises questions about the future direction and purpose of the NHA. More transparency around the decision-making process for selling this beloved and significant property as well as the intended “better use” of the sale proceeds would be welcome. I, for one, can’t think of a better use of the organization’s resources than the preservation of the 1800 House and the programming that has taken place there but I remain open to other points of view. The NHA’s relevance lies in the role it plays in protecting and promoting the history and identity of Nantucket Island (a national treasure), both of which feel at risk in this current moment.

Respectfully yours,
David M. Roche

I was not in attendance at the Annual Meeting but as someone who has had the pleasure of serving on many boards, after reading the survey comments and hearing about the discussion, it seems the NHA Board has a fiduciary duty to engage in a strategic property plan that analyses all of the NHA properties and assesses how they serve the core mission. All non-profits must look at the pros and cons of property ownership but with an organization with ownership of properties and historic items at its core, I would think it would be very important to make sure you analyze all properties and determine which best serve your mission, and if NHA is in need of funding, what can be de-accessed to better serve the mission of the organization as a whole. This appears to be a piecemeal approach vs an overall strategic plan.
~Diane Bradt

Dear Friends at NHA,

I would like to add my thoughts to the conversation….

Over the years, I’ve loved taking classes through the NHA. My time at the 1800 House learning new and creative skills and connecting and extending my Nantucket community is a wonderful aspect of my NHA membership. The house (and accessible parking) is so well-suited to the education component of the NHA mission. I hold a strong hope there is a way to keep that property in your collection and not make the decision to sell it through the deaccessioning process. I believe it adds value to collective portfolio of your holdings and there are very few associations who take the responsibility to preserve the history of this island to the extent that NHA is able to pursue. At this moment, the pressure not to let go of pieces of the past feels more important than ever as the island confronts more crowds and more pressures that seem to be in conflict with this island’s true history.

Thanks for your consideration,
Amy Schroeder

The NHA’s mission to preserve, protect and share Nantucket’s culture, artifacts and history has been of huge importance to all who love this island. In past decades, the NHA’s historic properties were of steady interest to the visiting public. As a worker in the Peter Foulger Library in the late 1970s, I was offered summer housing in a servant’s bedroom tucked away in the Macy Christian House on Liberty Street. My cat and I moved in as the sole occupants of this old structure.

The experience of living inside a meticulously restored ‘house museum’ was thrilling. That summer, I could see from the faces of visitors coming and going during the day that other people were also stunned by this 250-plus year-old piece of living New England history. A few years ago, the house was suddenly emptied and converted to dormitory space for workers. Many in the community were shocked and deeply concerned. Of course all workers need housing, I know I did — but here? Why was this done to the second-oldest structure owned by the NHA, one filled with amazing furnishings?
Not long after, the Hadwen House was emptied and transformed from a whaling-era mansion to an offshoot of the Whaling Museum, one that shares well-done encapsulations of island culture. While the exhibitions are dramatic and informative, the sense of entering an old home is gone. And now we learn that the 1800 House, a beautiful piece of vernacular island architecture, has been suddenly emptied, and the NHA members asked to agree with its sale.

There are several reasons any decision to empty and/or de-accession the NHA’s historic properties is so appalling.

One, these properties were left to the NHA by private families as irreplaceable pieces of living history. They were a rare gift, complete with evocative furnishings and given with the future public in mind. Is it right for a historical association to sell an old ‘house museum’ in order to invest in new construction? This feels like a breach of trust.

Two, Nantucket is losing many of the antique interiors of its oldest remaining houses. This irreplaceable loss is happening on a daily basis. While the exterior of the island’s built environment is protected by the HDC, the interiors are not. Witness the dumpsters we have all seen in the Historic District, ones filled with old boards, windows, stair treads and doors. I do believe that if the NHA put greater emphasis on the fact that many of these old interiors are still with us in the community as living history — a glimpse of the past in need of recognition, actual restoration and protection — fewer owners would be gutting these handmade structures. It seems likely that some of the destruction of these very old living spaces is due to a lack of awareness.

By highlighting the ongoing value of the antique buildings the NHA now owns — both inside and out — this wonderful organization could undoubtedly inspire others to do the same.
~Blue Balliett

Every time there is a new Executive Director at the NHA, there has been a study of the properties owned by the NHA, the purpose being to keep only those which served the core mission of the NHA. Under the Tramposch/Sherlund administration, there was a 10 year capital campaign to raise money to maintain those properties in proper fashion. The 1800 House was one of these properties, as it has been for 71 years.

The 1800 House has celebrated the rich legacy of Nantucket artists and artisans and “fostered an appreciation of” them in accord with the NHA Mission Statement for 16 years by providing instruction for decorative arts and other classes. For that reason and the comradery it provided for those who participated, it is beloved by many Nantucketers. By way of example, we own a needlework sampler made on Nantucket by Mary Brown Starbuck in 1797 and so some of our favorite 1800 House offerings are the many needlework classes. How better to appreciate an historic Nantucket object than to learn how and why it was made? The 1800 House provided an array of classes for a variety of subjects — all of which enhanced our understanding of the ways of our forebearers or enabled us to decorate our homes with Nantucket themed objects which we treasure.

Some other points to consider are:

  1. One is reminded that the 1800 House itself is important as an early nineteenth century classically proportioned, symmetrical 2 1/2 story building — a style unique to Nantucket when it was built.
  2. The architecture is important as is the fact that it is an important part of the evolutionary tale of how life was lived in Nantucket at that time.
  3. The 1800 House is also important as a gift from a patron of historic preservation.
  4. One would note that there is an inherent inconsistency in a historic association selling off beautiful historic properties used to fulfill part of it’s mission in order to build a new, non-historic structure.
  5. The NHA should consider the issue of who, like Louise Melhado did in 1950, will want to give important property, real or personal, to NHA knowing that a future administration might sell it to replace it with a new property, to fund another acquisition or some other reason without a clearly stated rationale for superseding the decisions of administrations past and will stand the test of time? Not us. Hopefully there is something that we, as NHA members, have not yet been made aware of for the planned sale of the 1800 House.
  6. We must be mindful that beyond the actual facts of history, there is the matter of the lessons told and insights given to us by NHA’s historic properties. Clearly, the story of Nantucket, and the United States for that matter, is presented by these NHA buildings. In addition, the NHA properties themselves are gateways to our learning about issues such as immigration, adversity, diversity, change and acceptance, wealth and hardship, community, responsibility, resilience and perseverance, and so on. People sat in some of these houses and lived their lives dealing with the then current issues of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slavery and human rights. The perspective taught by this history is a great legacy for our children and grandchildren to have as they experience life.

Now, clearly, since the decision was made to move the activities of the 1800 House to Greater Light, the mission itself is recognized by the current NHA administration as important to the NHA because the classes were not terminated with the use of the 1800 House itself. But why did that happen? Greater Light is not a good venue for craft classes: the space is small, lighting is bad for close work and crafts classes, and there is no parking — all facts suggesting that the 1800 House is a much more suitable venue.

Even more disturbing than emptying the 1800 House property is what was done to the Greater Light property by moving the 1800 House classes there. Clearly Greater Light is an important part of Nantucket history. The story of how the 1790s barn was converted to a summer home by the Monaghan sisters in the 1930s and how they lived there and were regarded by their neighbors is a unique and fantastic part of Nantucket history. Acquired by the NHA in 1970, the garden has been a beautiful and meaningful space for quiet contemplation for many of us for decades. Many Nantucketers, including us, spent a lot of money restoring, refurbishing and enhancing Greater Light in 2012 to make sure this part of Nantucket history is “preserved and interpreted” in accord with the NHA Mission Statement. Over the winter, the NHA administration put the Monaghan sisters’ furniture and collections in storage in Gosnold Center and silenced the telling of the sisters’ and their world’s story. Beyond that, as Beverly Hall’s charming retelling of the sisters’ story attests, the story of the house is also a spotlight on the human predisposition to suspicion of “washashores”, fear of change and lack of acceptance — currently important subjects for us all to address. Why did that happen? To us, it is tragic.

So, in summary, without consulting the membership, the 1800 House is now vacant and ready for sale and the contents of Greater Light are in storage and their story is mute. This is, to us, a very sad situation and a dangerous precedent.

Furthermore, we understand that the NHA is not in need of additional funds at this time which makes this situation all the worse. But if we are mistaken and the NHA does need money now, why would it not sell small landmarked properties like the Pony Field and/or the Tristram Coffin Homestead Site to the Land Bank as it did the Folger property before selling a historic building? We are concerned.

In closing, we endorse the suggestion made at the recent Annual Meeting that the NHA administration form a task force to evaluate the future of the 1800 House. Given that there is a worrisome rumor that Greater Light and Thomas Macy Warehouse might be next on the block, we think they should go further and undertake an in-depth study of the history and importance of all the historical buildings under their stewardship before they decide to sell anything. Perhaps reviewing the records of past administrations’ decisions not to sell them would be instructive. We also very much hope that the contents of Greater Light will be restored to the property in the very near future. If the sale of 1800 House goes forward, perhaps the classes could be moved to one of the school properties until the new addition to the Whaling Museum is completed.
Respectively submitted,
Max and Pamela Berry

Please do not let go 1800 house. It is important for NHA, Nantucket citizens, to keep this house as part of Nantucket’s history.
~Lucia Epstein

After a decade of learning everything from weaving to silversmithing to sailors valentine making at the 1800 House, I was saddened to hear of its proposed sale. While it may resemble an ordinary house from the outside, itis nothing of the sort. This hub of creativity and fellowship is a gathering place of people across all of the generations and is a symbol of this sense of community and craftsmanship. The accessible parking and ample indoor and outdoor space allows people of all ages and walks of life to participate in this special bond. Selling this property is not simply the sale of a house; it is a statement that being accessible to all types of people with their unique and varied interests, as they celebrate the decorative arts of our beautiful island, is no longer a priority for the NHA. I strongly urge that this sale be reconsidered.
~Lindsey Axel

The 1800 house is an important part of the NHA portfolio.  It could become a fascinating house museum, decorated with items now stored in the Gosnold warehouse, enlivened by costumed interpreters and offering lessons in Nantucket crafts.  Please do not sell this treasure.
~Prudy Crozier

I have taken classes at the 1800 house for at least 10 years. The 1800 house is a great location. First it has available parking which makes bringing supplies easy. As a maker of sailors valentines I bring my supplies to enhance my pieces. There is no parking at greater light. Second if it a long day the group stops and has lunch in another room. We have become great friends. The interest between classes is enhanced and encourages future enrollment. I did a whale carving class that required activity inside and outside. 1800 House was a perfect location for this class.

I am against selling 1800 house. As a donor to the NHA I am disappointed in your proposal.
~Linda Cassady

I am a former Board member, 1800 House instructor, and parent of a former docent. The 1800 House is the best site the NHA has to teach the arts and crafts courses we were told would continue. There is parking, natural light, separate rooms (to enable the teaching of multiple courses simultaneously) and a garden, all in a historic setting. You heard from current instructors that Greater Light, with only one room, poor lighting, and no parking, hasn’t proved suitable for teaching arts and crafts. At the meeting, a disingenuous chart showed three heavily advertised visitor sites (Whaling Museum, Hadwen House, Greater Light) compared to the 1800 House, a school. 1800 House was listed as having the fewest number of visitors—as if that’s a relevant factor— by a hefty margin. Prior to Greater Light being home to arts and crafts courses, the 3 sites were listed on the NHA website and map as places to go. The 1800 House wasn’t. The 1800 House address is only given when looking at the arts and crafts catalog. The 3 advertised sites had paid docents. They counted the number of visitors. The docents also asked if the guests have been to the other advertised sites. The 1800 House did not have docents…and again, is not advertised as a site. There is no way to know how many people enter, so the chart shown couldn’t have been accurate. Is it fair to ask opinions regarding the future of the 1800 House after misleading the membership? What if number of minutes spent at each site was the criteria? 1800 House would surely surpass Greater Light (before classes were moved there), and Hadwen (before baskets moved in), which is how things were when the 1800 House was alive. If number of visitors is a criterion, there are properties with even fewer visitors, such as the Pony Field.

Still, neither of these criteria, number of visitors or minutes spent, are part of the NHA Mission. Judging by how often instructors are thanked by former students, years after teaching, I would say the programs offered at the 1800 house meet the goal of the mission: “The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.” It is wise for a charitable institution to have many different entry points to engage interest and support. It was through the 1800 House that my family and I got involved with the NHA- and I know we are not the only family to fall in love with the NHA through the 1800 House programs. I believe the arts and crafts courses should be returned to the 1800 House as their best home. The combination of the 1800 House with the arts and crafts programs has demonstrated the ability to fulfill the NHA mission.

~Ana Ericksen

I preface my comments by saying that I worked for the NHA for 13 years, oversaw the booking of our speakers, guests and workers at the Thomas Macy House, 99 Main Street, took several crafts classes at the 1800 House and availed myself of many Member offerings at all the NHA properties, learning about my Native heritage and history, not taught much (if at all) in school when I was growing up. I keep my NHA Membership current to continue learning and taking part in classes and other events, and have brought grand-children in for a tour of the museum, wreath and tree festivals and other diversity events. I feel strongly that it would be a shame for the NHA to lose ownership of The 1800 House because so many who have enjoyed learned an historical craft there, have loved learning about the house itself and seeing the evidence of past inhabitants through the story of different wall layers in the main downstairs class room. Whether looking out from the inside or in from the outside, the wonderful windows give one the actual sense of what our historic ancestors saw daily in the wavy glass. The stairways and floor boards also speak to the age of the wonderful building which is currently in NHA stewardship and has been maintained so well by them up to this time. This all begs the question, would whoever may buy it respect and maintain this amazing building with the same integrity as the NHA has?

I’m sure I’m not the first to ask about considering other options for the building, like office space, with the recent loss of space in the main office and down-sized, cramped spaces there and at the Research Library, which was over-crowded the last I knew. What about housing for employees and/or Seasonal Interns, with the reduced housing at Hadwen now? If classes were to resume there, allowing Greater Light to have space again for Hannah and Gertrude’s full appreciation, would it be feasible to give tours of 1800 House on one week day and weekends to increase revenue there? Can you rent the back yard for small afternoon teas, intimate dinners, etc.? I think it would be a shame to let the building go to others without assurance of keeping its historic value in place by reserving the way the home is now, without gutting or refurbishing it to take away its colonial charm.
~ Julie Kever

I support the Board’s recommendation to deaccession the 1800 House. Unfortunately, the cost of maintaining properties is high and growing. Tough decisions are needed to maximize the assets and preservation of the collection.
~Michael Milone

I strongly believe that the 1800 House, for which endowment monies were raised to maintain and improve over a 9-year period, IS a core NHA property, much more important because of its historic character than any new building could be. Many people are passionate about the 1800 House, and, if the NHA had been proactive about maximizing the usage of 1800 House, significant monies could have been raised to improve the building and the crafts class program. I’ve offered to do just that and to help with a campaign to make the classes offered at the 1800 House the best on the East Coast. I object to the NHA leadership having effectively mothballed the 1800 House by moving the crafts classes to a property much less suited for same (Greater Light) and by therefore frustrating the very purpose of Greater Light (telling the story of the Monaghan sisters and of the arts colony on Nantucket). For those who say the classes could be held in still other NHA properties, I say, conduct a rigorous analysis of that view. There is no better property for holding classes than the 1800 House. I also strongly object to the notion of a historical association selling a historic property to raise money for a new property. I know that the board of the NHA intended to do just that. In the museum world deaccessioning a collection to buy or build something else is strongly frowned on, unless there are truly exigent circumstances. There are no such circumstances in this case. As NHA board leadership stated at the July 9 members’ meeting, the NHA has never been in a stronger financial position. If the NHA intends to construct a new building, have that building used in the best possible way, not just becoming the repository of whatever the NHA has to put somewhere. Raise new money for a new building, don’t sell off collections to do so. At the July 9 members’ meeting, I and others offered to serve on a Task Force to analyze the best possible use of the 1800 House. I hope the NHA board leadership does just that. I also hope the NHA does in fact take a hard and new look at its previous desire to sell the 1800 House, understanding that there is strong resistance in the community to doing that. If the NHA board leadership doesn’t address this with a truly fresh look and instead continues to repeat the same things it stated at the July 9 members’ meeting, there will be substantial pushback from the membership — and there should be. I also hope that NHA board leadership does not in the future use as an excuse to deaccession the 1800 House that it “costs us money to maintain it every year.” Yes, that’s true, just like it costs the NHA money to maintain every one of its properties every year. Not a single property of the NHA is a profit center. And the NHA is, after all, a nonprofit. I will applaud the NHA board leadership if it well and truly reassesses its prior decision. Even very well-intentioned folk can make mistakes, but it takes a lot of character to acknowledge same.
~Franci Neely

I don’t understand the timing of the proposal to sell the 1800 House. The NHA has no permanent executive director now. Until it does, its strategic vision is on hold. Selling such a beautiful property at this time makes no sense. Further, the NHA has just acquired the Basket Museum and its assets and will be selling its former home. Surely, this has been and will be a significant contribution to the NHA’s coffers. Why the rush?
~Pamela Perun

I am not opposed to the sale of the house if the (ever diminishing) programming can be continued elsewhere. As I understand it, the house is not of great historical value so it’s not a great loss and I’m sure the proceeds from the sale can be used more wisely for something else.
~Ann Gund

I hope you will reconsider this decision. It is a very hands on “participatory” experience that will draw potential caring actively involved people to the NHA!
~Susan Burke

I worked at the 1800 House from 2006 to 2013 as one of two program managers.

When the 1800 House was restored it was for the purpose of housing an Early American Arts and Crafts program. The original focus was to teach the historic crafts at a level that would become noteworthy. It opened in 2005 with 10 classes offered.  By 2013 the program had grown to 60 classes with several hundred enrollments. It was a bustling program with as many as 4 classes being held at the time. There were instructors from as far away as Michigan. instructors who would call and wanted to come to the program for a class, instructors at the top of their fields. There were classes designed using the archives of the NHA for inspiration. It was a very happy place. People stopped by just to see what was happening.  The classes were designed such that students could learn the skills to complete the class project. Material were available, tools were provided and instruction was at very high levels. The program included painting classes, sailor valentine classes, scrimshawing, half model classes, needlework classes, basket weaving, eglomise and reverse painting under glass to name a few. The instructors were terrific.  The building has its limitations. There should be a replacement staircase installed to safely reach the second floor. There needs to be a bathroom on the second floor. And an additional classroom should be added to the back of the building to allow for woodworking and painting (the messy crafts). NHA needs to decide if it wants to continue to offer classes with the original purpose in mind. The appropriate facility is needed to do that. Greater Light is limited in so many ways for this purpose. And there is no feasible way to rectify that. The 1800 House can be that place.
~Elizabeth Braun

What in-depth studies have been completed to analyze the best way forward with this particular property? For instance, if we continued to use the property for revenue-generating and mission-centric purposes, versus long-term rentals for generating funds for our programs, versus selling the property and investing the funds for future purposes? There needs to be some comparative analyses to support whatever action the NHA Board supports in a comprehensive, yet comprehensible, manner.
~Jeffrey Thomson

Why did the board release information that the NHA was preparing to sell the 1800s house BEFORE it was even voted on? Why did the NHA empty the 1800s house BEFORE the sale was even voted on, rendering it useless? Why did the NHA empty Greater Light of its museum status, rendering it no longer a tourist destination, so that it would be used for classes BEFORE a potential sale of the 1800s house was even voted on? Why hire Mary Emery Lacoursiere, the best arts program teacher and organizer on the island, if she isn’t even given a multi room place, like the 1800s house, where she can host many productive classes? Why did we raise money for the 1800s house if we are not going to use it for the purpose it was intended? Why sell the 1800s house if we were told we don’t need the money? Why impede the 1800s house programs which are beloved by so many and sell out in the summer and are some of the very few programs offered to locals in the winter? Where else can people learn the lost arts of transferwear, sailors’ valentines, calligraphy, silversmithing, whale carving, floor mats, basket weaving and so much more? There was talk of a new location for the classes. Why? When we already have a perfectly good location that was outfitted for art classes with printing equipment, etc etc. and it has good parking. Why recreate what we already have in another dwelling which will be soulless and non historical and will take time to renovate etc. Why isn’t the NHA spending its time working diligently to find a new executive director versus selling something that doesn’t need to be sold and talking to the press about something that not everyone agrees upon and hasn’t even been voted on yet?
~Anne Marie Bratton

As a teacher, and Chairman of the 1800 House Advisory Committee, who has given classes at the 1800 House since 2006 until 2020, I believe I hold a point of view shared by many teachers and students on the island. Nancy Erikson’s vision of a special intimate spot to come to learn a variety of crafts was brilliant, in my opinion. Almost from its inception, the program produced a respectable income for a start-up program, until cutbacks were instituted. The 1800 House produced revenue for the NHA, although not enough to cover the costs of the entire property. The venue was homelike, and well suited to large and small classes. I have had a student who said the program had ‘changed her life’! It is a travesty that it must be sold. The program was growing in reputation. Big mistake!
~Edith Bouriez

It should only be sold with SIGNIFICANT preservation easements added to the deed, protecting both the exterior AND especially the original interior historic fabric. Otherwise it should remain in the collection. I fear if sold it will become yet another interior gut project, with all interior original features lost.
~Rebecca Fellerman

Considering the build out taking place around the island, getting rid of a property seems short sighted. Considering that many people purchasing old properties and then tearing them apart for mass renovation leaving barely any resemblance to the original building, are not concerned with the traditions of Nantucket, it seems foolish to risk such a thing happening to the 1800 house. People can promise to leave it as intact as possible but in my experience unless it is spelled out with pretty severe penalties, those promises are forgotten. Surely you can come up with something useful for the property for the NHA. Widen your vision if need be.
~Georgia Ann Snell

I was at the annual meeting and listened carefully to the arguments pro and con selling the property. I understand that selling the 1800 House seems appealing in the present circumstances with revenues probably down and real estate prices up. However, I am opposed to the sale when I think about the future. Housing, for one, is scarce and the property could be used for staffing and for visiting scholars.
~Barbara White

As a resident of the island, I have a very soft spot in my heart for the 1800 House. All of my adult family members have taken art classes there over the years, learning how to make bent willow chairs and jewelry.  As a director of a local non-profit (Nantucket Lighthouse School), I am grateful for the 1800 House as a venue for events, especially our annual Nantucket Garden Festival. The 1800 House is different from many other town properties because it has indoor and outdoor space.  There are so few places in town like the 1800 House; it would be such a loss for the NHA to sell it.
~Christine Hanson

I have had a long life and have seen disastrous decisions made by Boards of Governors.(Google the Baltimore Museum of Art.  I think boards with relatively short experience with the museum they serve, often don’t know how the public at large might react. THEY ARE THE ONES WHO USE THE MUSEUM/institutions. In this particular case there was no sufficient effort to gauge the public effect which (if they can see through the propaganda) seem to be very much against moving the extremely popular craft and education classes to that TREASURE ,The Greater Light. To take the furnishings (and history) out of that unique house is shortsighted and from what I hear, extremely unpopular. I feel that Boards are often insulated .They give a lot of time to the job and do incredible work keeping the NHA going and improving —-,but maybe they are not always totally aware of ALL SIDES when making an irrevocable decision.
~Eleanor Reade

I believe that a carefully thought out preservation restriction should be placed on the house and only then should it be sold. I believe that it is the responsibility of the NHA to protect the architecture of the building for the community.  The deaccession policy of the NHA is unclear. Thank you for asking.
~Caroline Ellis

I have never visited the 1800 House but have read about it on the NHA website. I oppose selling it. I’m certain a sale would result in another luxury renovation for short term rental. There are plenty of those on Nantucket but historic homes open to the public are in short supply.

I favor keeping the home. I am reading Anna Gardner’s biography which I purchased in the NHA gift shop. The 1800 House could be dedicated to the women on Nantucket active in the abolitionist movement in the 1800s. I am grateful for the NHA’s efforts to preserve and present Nantucket’s rich history to visitors. This house seems entirely consistent with this mission.
~Louise Schneider

As a new member of the NHA, but having enjoyed many aspects this association has presented to the public over the years I offer my humble opinion that this property represents an era of Nantucket that is increasingly hard to envision given all the development, even in just the past 20 years. Thus, retaining 1800 House allows for a true enriching of the present of NHA and for the people on Nantucket by its recalling of a more humble past.
~Rosie Silberman

Hi – thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposal to deaccession the 1800 House. I live in Australia, am a Member of the NHA and am a Whaling Researcher who has had the privilege to stay at the 1800 House on a number of occasions (usually for two weeks at a time and usually in the Off Season (ie October or November)). It has been a great privilege, one I have treated with respect and treasured as it has so greatly assisted my research into the hundreds of Nantucketers who sailed with the British Whaling Fleet. In return I’ve contributed articles to Historic Nantucket and other NHA publications as well as contribuetd finacially and in kind through donation. There is no doubt, that without the opportunity to stay at the 1800 House, I would probably not be able to as successfully pursue my research. From the point of view of both of living costs on Nantcuket but also the serendipity which comes with browsing Collections rather than having to use them online. I doubt the greatest discovery I’ve made at the NHA Research Library could have be made digitally. It was a reference to a pitcher in a 1930s article and it was only when I realised it was a reference to Chinese porcelain rather than baseball that a whole series of events fell into place to enable me to locate something I had been looking for for over 20 years. Even as a professional librarian (Library Director, Griffith University) who specialised in big data and digital collections etc to the researcher there is still a difference when one works with digital and paper based collections. So, the convenience of being able to walk to the Research Library and shop for food etc each day has been invaluable. That said, I understand the value locked up inside the 1800 House and the great things that the NHA might do with any funds realised. So, if as part of deaccessioning the 1800 House NHA in some way might find a way to continue to support researchers like myself through some type of scholars accommodation so that we can continue to work with NHA’s rich collections in person as well as online and in turn contribute back to the story of Nantucket is all I would ask. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
~Dale Chatwin

As one who just participated in a floral workshop under the aegis of the Garden Festival, I am deeply concerned that the 1800 house may be sold. Although the property is owned by the NHA, I personally consider it as a vital part of Nantucket history. One cannot diminish the value of retaining the original finishes and the structure of the building .It is an amazing facility for workshops with the barn and the charming garden. To sell it would be one more indication that Nantucket is falling prey to money rather than the original mission of the Nantucket Historical Association to preserve and foster our history and heritage. Please reconsider the decision to sell the 1800 house – I fear it is a shortsighted wrong decision.
~Nancy Serafini

I feel the 1800 House should remain an NHA Property. Having taught there for a number of years now, I have watched & assisted the facility in its evolution into a dynamic & well-functioning arts & crafts school. A lot of effort by many individuals have gone into this & many wonderful students have passed through.  I feel the 1800 House has served to bring different elements of the Nantucket community together in a positive educational experience.

There have been ups & downs & challenges for sure, but to see the property sold & become a residence or whatever would be a loss to the community.  Personally I have gained much & made many new friends by teaching there & sharing my knowledge & skill of ship model building. Working there has been good experience & I’m hoping it will continue.
~Mark Sutherland

I assume this magnificent house was donated to NHA for use and safe keeping as well as to maintain its historic presence on the island. I am not certain why the creation and presence of the HDC is a variable in your decision to sell. The HDC is an important municipal commission. It protects yours and others properties from changes that are not consistent with Nantucket’s sense of place and the architectural history of the island. It would seem that given what treasures you have in storage, the house could be used as exhibit space. Given the many changes on the island, I would expect that you would work to not add any change but to maintain the neighborhood.
~Esta-Lee Stone

The 1800s house is such a beautiful property… I would prefer that the NHA no sell it.
~Sharon Quigley

I’m Jotham Tausig and a life-member of the NHA. I was surprised that the 1800 house is being considered for sale. Given the Mission of the NHA I would expect that the Greater Light would be considered for sale long before the 1800 house. Why? Because the Greater Light represents a much more narrow slice of Nantucket History than the 1800 House. Doesn’t the NHA exist to explored, educate and share the history of the Island? Given that, isn’t the “Artist Colony” time-period adequately served by the displays in the Whaling Museum??   Over my lifetime (am in my 50’s now) I have visited both properties countless times for many reasons. In that time it has always struck me that the 1800 House was more “Nantuckety” and on-point with the other properties that the NHA maintains. Conversely Greater Light always seemed to be a stretch. It doesn’t lend itself as a demonstration of CENTURIES of life on Nantucket. And it has never had adequate artist displays to begin with – in fact did well known Nantucket Artists even live there?? If the NHA board has its heart set on selling something, I respectfully submit that Greater Light be considered. It’s location, narrow focus on an already short time in Nantucket History and its location doesn’t add much to the Island’s Historical Narrative. The 1800 House and Gardens does exactly the opposite — fitting in nicely with the Hadwen House and other NHA properties. Please reconsider the idea of selling the 1800 House — and explore what selling Greater Light might really do.  Thank you for your time.  Respectfully,
~Jotham Tausig

I believe the 1800 House serves a purpose, education/ teaching important island crafts. I do not believe Greater Light is an appropriate space to provide this service. I would like to think the Monaghan sisters left that beautiful piece property to the NHA for what it is, not a workshop.
~John Sylvia

I think proceeds from the sale could be put to better use.  For instance more interesting programs for school age children. Possibly bringing programs right in to the classroom.  I hope the members will be able to work this out together.
~Virginia Macaulay

1800 House is an extremely useful property to the NHA for its burgeoning crafts programs. There is currently not enough room for all the programs that could take place. There is certainly enough interest. As other nonprofits struggle to find earned income streams, NHA has one firmly within its grasp. NHA could have an even more prosperous earned income stream in which the 1800 House becomes a jewel. It should not be deaccessioned.
~Lisa Huertas


The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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