Virtual NHA

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During these unprecedented times, the Nantucket Historical Association is sharing digital resources weekly to enrich the lives of our members and friends at home through video lectures, kids activity kits, our transcription program, history articles and more! All the information in our newsletters is being gleaned from the resources presented below. We hope you’ll dive in, enjoy, and give your mind a rest from thinking about today’s challenges.

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Happy Thanksgiving from the NHA! This photo is Tony Sarg's turkey balloon in the Macy's Day Parade, circa 1920s. PH8-74-1
Thank you for your continued support of our exhibitions, programs, research, and properties.

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In honor of Native American Heritage Day, here is a video from our collection: Extraordinary Nantucket Woman: Wonoma, Wampanoag Healer and Legendary Hero.
Wonoma lived during the mid-1600s, the daughter of Wauwinet (and granddaughter of Nickanoose), was a young Wampanoag woman with knowledge of medicinal plants and their healing powers. Island legend, memorialized in 1876 in a poem by Nantucket poet Charlotte P. Baxter, tells of the maiden Wonoma, whose skills as a healer were known even among the western people, who lived beyond the tribal dividing line of Madequecham Valley. This is a love story that tells of Wonoma's heroism in preventing war between two Nantucket sachems.

Produced for the Nantucket Historical Association for the 2010 exhibition “Sometimes think of me: Notable Nantucket Women through the Centuries” at the Nantucket Whaling Museum.
Extraordinary Nantucket Woman: Wonoma, Wampanoag Healer and Legendary Hero

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The Festival of Wreaths - HAVE YOU SEEN IT YET? Stunning display at the Whaling Museum! Now through Saturday, November 27 (Closed Sundays and Thanksgiving Day). Watch our video for just a peek at some of the fantastic wreaths - all designed by local talent! The Auction is OPEN, and all bidding is online 24/7 at Bid for a one-of-a-kind wreath and support the NHA! Come on down to the Whaling Museum this weekend and see them in person. The NHA is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Sunday. The auction ends Saturday, November 27 at 8 pm. ...

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The Sankaty Head Lighthouse was built in Sconset in 1850 to help ships navigate Nantucket's treacherous waters. This instruction manual written by B. F. Isherwood, chief engineer of the U.S. Navy, includes detailed specifications and instructions for safely operating the lighthouse including how to maintain its French Fresnel lens, lamp, and revolving carriage. After 20 pages of technical and general instruction, Isherwood ended his manual with this charge, "No instructions, however, can supercede, the necesaity [sic] of care, fidelity, intelligence and resource in the Keeper". As an experienced whaling captain, Alexander D. Bunker would have known well the importance of the lighthouse when he became its first keeper in 1850. To learn about his tenure, see his journals which are also included in the Sankaty Head Lighthouse collection at the research library.

Instruction manual for Lighthouse Keeper, in the Sankaty Head Lighthouse collection, Nantucket Historical Association.
Gift of the Friends of the NHA in March 2014.

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Last week on Tuesday, November 9, the NHA completed this impressive whalebone installation in front of the Whaling Museum. The jawbones once belonged to a baleen whale and stand over 17 ft high.
The jawbones are the lower jawbones of a 65-foot blue whale that died at sea and washed up on Nantucket's south shore in July 1948. Salvage rights to the whale's body were claimed by George H. "Bunt" Mackay, who kept the jaw. His estate donated it to the NHA in 1976. Prior to 1972, it was legal to keep whale bones found on the beach, but the Marine Mammal Protection Act now prohibits people from keeping such things without applying for a federal permit.

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Happy Veterans Day to those who have served in the United States Armed Forces!
On this day in 1918, the U.S. Army Headquarters sent Captain C. Raymond Cabot this dispatch ordering him to end his attack at 11 a.m. Earlier that morning, the Allied Commander had signed an armistice with Germany, which ceased hostilities on the Western Front at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Although not the formal end of World War I, November 11th was commemorated annually as Armistice Day in the U.S. until it was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
Gift of Roger Cabot.
Telegrams: World War I, 11 November 1918, in the Telegram Collection, Nantucket Historical Association.

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Did you know that the large boulder at the entrance to the NHA Research Library is an artifact in the collection? In the mid-eighteenth century, Benjamin Tashama (d. 1770), the Wampanoag preacher and schoolmaster, placed the stone at the entrance to his house. It was in this house that he taught reading and writing to Wampanoag children prior to the 1763–64 epidemic that killed many people in Nantucket’s Native community. After losing his wife and students to the epidemic, Tashama remarried and lived the last years of his life in the island’s New Guinea neighborhood. Captain Edward C. Joy (1806–1894) moved “Tashama’s door stone” to his farm in Siasconset in the mid-1800s, and then to his house on Liberty Street. His daughter, Mary G. Joy (1834–1917), gave the stone to the Nantucket Historical Association in 1906. It was placed outside the Fair Street Museum in 1917.

Benjamin Tashama’s door stone. Gift of Mary G. Joy, 1906.31.1
The door stone being installed at the Fair Street Museum, July 24, 1917
NHA photo, SC45

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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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