NHA launches New Online Collections Catalog

NANTUCKET, MA – The Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) is excited to announce the launch of a new way of searching our collections of books, manuscripts and artifacts. The NHA has committed $250,000 over two years to this major initiative. Connie and Tom Cigarran of Nashville and Nantucket spearheaded the fundraising efforts. The online catalog contains more than 70,000 collection records which are now accessible through a single search.

For 125 years, thousands of donors have built the NHA’s collection one donation at a time. This new search function allows for a visitor to search by donor name. The NHA encourages all those who have given items and artifacts to the organization to rediscover and survey their contributions. Most artifacts have thumbnail photographs attached so that donors can see an image of their donation. View digitized logbooks and other manuscripts with associated transcripts, and similarly enjoy historical videos and listen to audio recordings directly within the catalog record, including oral histories with associated transcripts.

Students can easily access information both from the database and via the NHA website. The website has hundreds of articles on Nantucket history, which when combined with the online catalog provides the student a much greater resource. History topics can be searched here.

The catalog has been carefully designed for the casual visitor interested in learning more about Nantucket history through the NHA’s extensive collection. The functionality available to the public now includes a simple search of the entire collection, including artifacts, manuscripts, logbooks, books, images, and audio/visual materials. Quick access to popular searches have been created, including, for example, this “quick search” for Tony Sarg items in the NHA collections.

Advanced searching for researchers allows for more targeted searches based on collection types, creators, dates ranges, digital materials, and objects on exhibit throughout the NHA campus. There is an ability to zoom in on digital content for more detailed examination, for example, this scrimshaw tooth from the whaleship Susan. Click on any image and “view in full window.” Also there is the ability to create and print lists of materials of interest.

Director of Digital Initiatives Mary Novissimo and Al Novissimo spearheaded the development and design of the new system, and will manage the ongoing upgrade process. Research Library Associate Director Amelia Holmes (aholmes@nha.org) and Chief Curator Dan Elias (delias@nha.org) look forward to hearing from you regarding attributions and descriptive information.


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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