Hadwen House

Accessibility

The Hadwen House has limitations of authentic 19th-century architecture and is not wheelchair-accessible. The public spaces of the house are entered from a path with two steps and the front porch which has three steps with a handrail.

The historic gardens are wheelchair-accessible from Pleasant Street.

Service animals are welcome to visit the Hadwen House. We follow the Federal government’s guidelines on service animals. The NHA welcomes dogs that are individually trained to perform a task or work for a person with a disability, but please leave pets at home.

There is a restroom on the first floor available for Historic Site visitors.

About the Hadwen House

The Hadwen House is a Greek Revival mansion built in 1846 by whaling merchant and silver retailer William Hadwen at the peak of Nantucket’s prosperity as the whaling capital of the world. The home is one of the most elaborate examples of Greek revival architecture on the island and the only publicly accessible mansion of its age in the area.

Hadwen purchased the property on the corner of Pleasant and Main in 1844, and commissioned local builder Frederick Brown Coleman, “an artisan who specialized in intricate carvings and designs for pillars,” to construct the two-and-a-half storied clapboard house with a five-bayed façade, colossal pilasters, and a pedimented ionic portico.

The beautifully-proportioned building and its twin Greek Revival mansion at 94 Main Street were the most ostentatious private dwellings the island had ever seen, and a symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the island’s leading citizens. The imposing structure was donated to the Nantucket Historical Association in 1963 by Jean Satler Williams.

In 1964, the Hadwen House was opened to the public as a house museum, and today continues to host visitors. Further preservation projects will allow NHA to expand on the building’s use and public access.

A formal dining room displays period furnishings and decorative objects, some of which are original to the home, including silverware from Hadwen House’s first owner, reflecting the opulent furnishings and grand lifestyle that had come to replace the island’s once dominant sober Quaker aesthetic. Many of the historic interior features of the house remain intact.

Visitors are also invited to enjoy the ground’s Victorian garden, typical of mid-19th century gardens with an enclosure, border designs, plant variety and succession of blooms with fruit trees and sand paths. The garden is carefully maintained by the Nantucket Garden Club.

Learn more about the history of the Hadwen House

What You Will Experience

Hadwen House, 2012 Hadwen House, ca. 1870, photographer Charles H. Shute & Son

The Hadwen House stands today much as it was when it was built. Hover shows the mansion, ca. 1870 (GPN-schute-50)

The first floor at the Hadwen House showcases the NHA’s decorative arts. The very finest objects in the collection are on display in period rooms showcasing furniture, china and ceramics, textiles, and silver.

The exhibition Melville on Nantucket is structured around three themes:  Melville’s time on Nantucket, Moby-Dick and pop culture, and diversity onboard the Pequod.  Illustrated with objects from the NHA and private collections.  Learn More

In partnership with the Nantucket Preservation Trust (NPT).  Learn about unique buildings dating from the later seventeenth-century settlement period through the early nineteenth-century golden era of whaling in Nantucket’s Architectural Legacy exhibit.  Learn More

From Slavery To Suffrage: Two Centuries of Political Education on Nantucket explores the history of political power on Nantucket.  Explore the story of African-American emancipation and women’s suffrages through original documents, images, and objects.  Learn More

In partnership with the Artists Association of Nantucket, The Art of Seward Johnson is an outdoor sculpture exhibit that highlights the artwork of Johnson, whose lifelike bronze sculptures have been exhibited internationally for decades. Learn More

Enjoy the beautiful Victorian garden, maintained by the Nantucket Garden Club, and offering a stunning venue for weddings and private events. Click on the image for a quick tour of the garden.

Upcoming Programs at the Hadwen House

Afternoon Tea

See all programs

Private Events at the Hadwen House


We ask all of our visitors to conduct themselves in a respectful way at all NHA properties in accordance with the Code of Conduct and all laws and local ordinances.

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.

> >