The Nantucket Historical Association has over 15,000 artifacts in its collection reflecting the variety of island life from the native Wampanoags and the earliest European settlers through the pinnacle of whaling to it’s special place as a destination for today’s discerning visitors. This topic explores just some of these unique objects.
- What is a swift?
Swifts are used to wind skeins of yarn into balls. Historic examples are often elaborately constructed, sometimes consisting of more...More Read more from What is a swift?
- A Short History of Nantucket Baskets
There are four distinctive elements that define a Nantucket lightship basket. The basket is woven on a mold; the staves...More Read more from A Short History of Nantucket Baskets
- Beinecke-Stackpole Collection
Costume historian Julie Beinecke Stackpole has generously contributed a collection of artifacts from the estate of her mother, Mary Ann...More Read more from Beinecke-Stackpole Collection
- Cartes-de-Visite – the first pocket photographs
One of the most immediate ways to experience history is to give it a face. Hairstyles, lace collars, jewelry, literally...More Read more from Cartes-de-Visite – the first pocket photographs
- Daguerreotypes : First Photographs
In the vault of the NHA Research Library, there are several boxes filled with small wood or leather cases, each...More Read more from Daguerreotypes : First Photographs
Harpoons were not intended to kill a whale, but to attach a line by implanting the harpoon’s barbed head into...More Read more from Harpoons
- Pie Crimper
Pie crimper, nineteenth century Unknown maker Ivory, ebony, tortoiseshell, brass Gift of Robert M. Waggaman 1991.101.202 Pie crimpers are devices...More Read more from Pie Crimper
- Preserving the Prehistoric Pottery of Nantucket
On a visit to the Whaling Museum, the first exhibit typically encountered is a display of Wampanoag artifacts. While these...More Read more from Preserving the Prehistoric Pottery of Nantucket
- Processing History
One of my favorite things to do is receive and arrange new donations, especially collections of photographs. I’ll be sitting...More Read more from Processing History
- Scrimshaw Swifts… not so quick after all.
The intricately made scrimshaw swift is a grand, eye-catching device, a masterpiece of folk art. Even the simplest and plainest...More Read more from Scrimshaw Swifts… not so quick after all.
- Ship’s Logs and Journals at the NHA Research Library
“Tuesday June the 16th [Day] 482. Commences with moderate trades, course S at 4 PM Long. by Chro. 137.37.15, Course...More Read more from Ship’s Logs and Journals at the NHA Research Library
- The NHA’s First Artifact
“The basket’s association with birth and new beginnings made it an ideal inaugural artifact for the collection.” This basket is...More Read more from The NHA’s First Artifact
- The Walter Folger Clock
The Honorable Walter Folger Jr. (1765-1849) was a self-taught mathematician, scientist, and astronomer, as well as a lawyer, inventor and...More Read more from The Walter Folger Clock