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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This Friday, June 18, a new featured exhibition, Anne Ramsdell Congdon’s Nantucket Renaissance, opens in the Whaling Museum’s McCausland Gallery presented by @raveisnantucket

In 1925, when Congdon was 52 and her two boys were grown, she re-dedicated herself to art and launched a remarkably successful thirty-year career in painting—becoming the best known and most talented member of the Island’s Art Colony.

Pictured here is a Congdon piece from the NHA Collection, titled Straight Wharf, ca 1930. The exhibit will feature pieces from the NHA collection, as well as private collections. It will also include many quotations from the artist, derived from Congdon’s diaries, which were digitized and transcribed in 2019, when the Congdon family loaned the items to the NHA, giving her paintings a new biographical and interpretive depth. This will be paired with a new interactive screen in the gallery to provide visitors and scholars with ready access to Congdon’s words, thoughts, and daily activities.

Be sure to stop in and visit this exhibition this weekend – you won’t want to miss it! Open daily, 10am-5pm at the Whaling Museum.

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As we wrap up @museumweek its Friday, so let’s have some fun!

Today’s theme is “Caption This”. What can you come up with for John Gibbs and his dog, Peggy, circa 1927?

“Move over Johnny, I’m driving” – Peggy #captionthismw

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Eureka! Or maybe not….

Today’s @museumweek theme is #EurekaMW, so we are sharing a photo from our collection of this mechanical contraption, with a 100 foot long dispensing sleeve, designed to dissipate heavy fog by adding saline chemicals into the air. It was invented by engineer Dean MacDonald and known as The Fog Sweep Machine.

Unfortunately, this experiment at the Nantucket Airport in July 1968, was not successful. As we all know now, nothing can stop this grey lady. Fog happens!

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Have you ever wondered how we digitize our collection of ships’ logs?

Since today’s @museumweek theme is Behind the Scenes, we thought we would show you a quick glimpse of one of our ship logs being scanned here at the NHA Research Library.

After our staff is done scanning each page from a log book, it is then uploaded to the crowdsourcing manuscript transcription service From the Page for anyone to view and transcribe from the comfort of their own home!

Interested in getting started and contributing to our transcription project? Get started with the link in our story today.

Or reach out to Kelli Yakabu, assistant archivist, at with any questions about joining our volunteer transcription program.

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Happy #MuseumWeek! @museumweek

Each day a new theme is presented and today’s theme is #OnceUponATime

#OnceUponATimeMW the NHA acquired its first artifact! Elizabeth Starbuck (1812–99), in whose house the association was organized in May 1894, lent this basket to the NHA within two weeks of its founding, and her heirs donated it permanently in 1928.

The basket was woven by Rachel Swain (1771–1863), Elizabeth’s mother, for use as a bassinet to hold her infant children. According to early museum records, Rachel “was the mother of eleven children, and at the advent of each child, this basket was used, and then laid away until occasion again called it into service.”

The basket’s association with birth and new beginnings made it an ideal inaugural artifact for the collection, a poetic gesture likely not lost on Elizabeth Starbuck.

Interested in learning more about baskets? Be sure to stop by our historic property Hadwen House, at 96 Main Street, where a beautiful of display of Nantucket lightship baskets is on exhibit by the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum. Open daily! 10am-4pm.

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There are many Nantucketer’s you may have never heard of and today we highlight Diana Jones (1801–1879).

Jones was born in New York and came to Nantucket sometime in the 1820s. Around 1828, she became the second wife of Jacob Jones (ca. 1790–1859), a mariner who later worked as a chimney sweep, whitewasher, and fisherman. They had three children, two daughters who died young and son James William Jones, who also became a mariner.

The family lived on Pine Street in the New Guinea neighborhood. After Jacob’s death and with her son often away for years at a time, Diana supported herself as a live-in domestic servant, working for Nancy and George Cobb until about 1875, when she was 74 years old.

Photo: Diana Jones, ca. 1870. GPN1308.

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Haven’t transcribed in a while? New to transcription?

Check out the log of the ship Alexander, 1820-1824, a new project available on From the Page.

This bound facsimile includes a typed transcription of this voyage to the South Pacific - we need your help to correct and verify the OCR text and make it accessible!

Link in story to get started today ✏️

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Happy Memorial Day! 🇺🇸

We hope everyone takes time this weekend to remember & honor our military personnel who have died in the performance of their military duties while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Photo: Group of veterans surrounding the Civil War Monument on Memorial day, 1893. GPN4230

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Life on remote, windswept Nantucket has always fostered extraordinary women. Intelligent, educated, passionate, and brave, they took on difficult issues involving anti-slavery, women’s rights, suffrage, and times of war. Despite obstacles, they each assumed roles and attitudes that were not common for women of their time.

As part of the updated Road from Abolition to Suffrage exhibition at the Whaling Museum (reopening TOMORROW, May 29) the NHA has brought just a few representatives of this remarkable group back to life to meet our visitors in a new holographic experience!

They’ll tell you in their own words about their own remarkable lives and the people they knew who inspired them.

We hope to see you at the Whaling Museum, as well as at Hadwen House this weekend. Both will officially be open daily starting tomorrow, Saturday, May 29. Tickets are available to reserve in advance online.

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Weaving Nantucket’s Past into Its Future, a new exhibition presented by the Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum will open this Saturday at the NHA’s Hadwen House, 96 Main Street.

Be sure to stop in and explore over 100 Nantucket lightship baskets from the NLBM, NHA, and private collections. Including this beautiful nest of baskets, Essence of Nantucket, made by Michael and Marcia Kane. Scrimshaw by Dorothy Grant Viera O’Hara. 1998-2000.

Each year the NLBM has curated a new exhibit examining some aspect of the lightship basket, recognized as an iconic symbol of the island worldwide. In celebration of the newly formed affiliation between the NLBM and the NHA, the 2021 exhibit is a retrospective of highlights from the past twenty years. Drawing on highlights from the NLBM’s years of illuminating exhibits, the current exhibit traces an arc of artistry and innovation from land based origins to nineteenth-century lightships into the twenty-first-century.

Starting Saturday, May 29, this exhibition will be open daily at the Hadwen House from 10am-4pm. Hadwen House will also feature two other exhibitions highlighting the NHA’s decorative arts and map collection – not to be missed this summer!

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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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