Opening March 13, 2019 to the public:
Our Own Beat: 200 Years of Island Music
Hidden Treasures: Selections from the Permanent Collection
An Extraordinary Atlas: Joseph H.W. Des Barres' Atlantic Neptune
Community Exhibit: Lost and Found
Jewelbox Exhibit: The Thunderbird Daybook
Cabinet of Curiosities: The Museum's Collection of Ship Models
Music is powerful. It brings people together and creates communities. It preserves moments in time and connects us to our past. It inspires. This exhibit explores musical Island moments over the last 200 years through objects, images, and listening stations. Come and see the organ that was played every Sunday at the Bradley Memorial Church in Oak Bluffs, listen to Maynard Silva playing the blues, and play a brinquinho,a musical instrument originally from Portugal that is played each year in the Feast of the Holy Ghost parade.
The collections of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum hold more than 15,000 objects. From archaeological material to textiles, maritime objects, decorative arts, and natural history, they all tell the stories of our Island. These objects are the heart of the museum, and for nearly a century the museum has been collecting, caring for, and sharing them with the public. Our move to Vineyard Haven offered an opportunity to take a closer look at things that have been stored out of sight for years, and this exhibition features some of these hidden treasures of the collection.
Among the most beautiful objects in the museum's collection, this exhibit features charts that are a part of the Atlantic Neptune, a monumental atlas that was published between 1777 and 1781. Never before seen together, these charts depict in remarkable detail the waters around Martha's Vineyard during the 18th century.
In the years between when the museum purchased the Marine Hospital building and when construction began, a number of local artists found inspiration in both the building's crumbling facade and its rich history. This exhibition features five artists whose work captures the building at this moment in time. Artists included: Heather Neill, Bob Avakian, Bonita LeFlore, Jean Schnell, and Sybil Teles.
A mere thirteen-by-eight inches and twenty pages, this Thunderbird Daybook contains a record of the transactions of Matthew Mayhew's store on South Water Street in Edgartown from 1780 to 1785. One of more than 165 business account books in the Museum's archives, it is unique because of the design impressed into its hide cover. Though the book had been in the archives for many years, it was not until 2002 that an observant curator noticed the subtle image of a Thunderbird extending from back to front on the cover. The Thunderbird, an ancient American Indian deity, is a giant eagle-like being. It causes thunder by flapping its wings, throws lightning bolts from its eyes, and is seen as a guardian spirit of Indian people. Thunderbirds were important to many tribes across North America, and this is one of the finest examples from New England
The Jewelbox exhibit spotlights one thing – one story or one object. it gives visitors the opportunity to have a quiet, intimate moment with something from the MVM collection – an object that has a compelling story to tell, but perhaps hasn’t yet found its way into larger Museum exhibits. New acquisitions are often featured in this exhibit.
The Cabinet of Curiosities is a unique 20' glass display case that can feature more delicate objects from the MVM collection than traditional exhibition spaces. The objects in the case rotate five times annually.