The Collectors

The Asian art collection of David Billings and Beverly Hall Billings is a testament to the evocative power of the past to inspire the present. David, who lectures on Chinese art, is frequently immersed in research, keen to understand the context and history of pieces in the collection. Beverly, a photographer, combines knowledgeable support, an artistic eye, and a fascination to learn the stories that animate each artifact. This exhibition contains but a sampling of their collection of over 2,500 objects, many of which are on public view here for the first time.

Collecting the beautiful and unusual began differently for each of them. David’s curiosity was triggered by a serendipitous gift of a book on Chinese art; Beverly grew up inspired by her father, Gerry P. Mack, a pioneering collector of Chinese snuff bottles. She came to Nantucket decades ago from New York City and now tends the gardens and koi ponds that set the stage for their home and museum. David, a gifted raconteur and writer, is also an avid gourmet chef. 

Accompanied by their two irrepressible corgis and a bevy of cats, David and Beverly generously enjoy sharing their time, infectious enthusiasm, and passion with others.  They will tell you, “the dynamic process of collecting has taken us on the ultimate treasure hunt of a lifetime.”



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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