NHA Presents New Exhibitions in the Hadwen House

NANTUCKET, MA – The Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) is excited to present four new exhibitions at the Hadwen House this summer, in addition to the outdoor sculpture exhibit, The Art of Seward Johnson.

Each exhibit tells a different story. Decorative arts from the NHA collection are paired with a partner exhibit with the Nantucket Preservation Trust exploring Nantucket’s architectural legacy. The NHA continues its multi-year exploration on the theme of rights and race in an exhibit looking at slavery and suffrage on the island, while celebrating Herman Melville’s 200th birthday with an examination of diversity aboard a whaleship.

“Throughout the new exhibits at the Hadwen House, we hope to engage visitors through many channels—visual, auditory, text, and digital interactive display, and bring the stories and the people of long-ago Nantucket to life again, through the objects they left behind,” says Dan Elias, NHA guest curator.

On the first floor, guest curator Elias has created four decorative arts galleries to present the scope of the NHA collection featuring fine furniture, clocks, china, clothing, quilts, and silverware.

The second floor features an exhibit curated by Michael May, Executive Director of the Nantucket Preservation Trust, exploring the architecture of Nantucket from the earliest days of European occupation through the end of the 19th-century. May tells the story of the development and flourishing of Nantucket vernacular architectural styles, from the lean-to house through the typical Nantucket house, to the Classical Revival and finally the resort palaces of the late nineteenth century.

In four galleries on the second floor, Elias and Barbara White, NHA Research Fellow, present From Slavery to Suffrage: Two Centuries in the Political Education of Nantucket that traces the island’s significant efforts against slavery and for women’s right to vote, highlighting the people and events that marked the struggle. Melville at 200: Moby-Dick Lives! is co-curated by Melville scholars Jamie Jones and Elias. In this bicentenary of his birth, the exhibit traces Melville’s lifelong interest of Nantucket and his portrayal of the multi-racial characters on a whaleship.

Special thanks to Artists Association of Nantucket and Seward Johnson, as well as the Nantucket Preservation Trust for partnering on these exhibitions and to the Nantucket Garden Club for their efforts in making the garden open and accessible to the public.

An NHA member opening for the exhibit will be held at the Hadwen House, 96 Main Street, on Tuesday, July 2, at 6 p.m. The exhibit will be open to the public daily, June 28 – October 16, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  NHA members can sign up for the opening event by emailing membership@nha.org or calling (508) 228-1894, ext. 116.


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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