The Cooke House:
Thomas Cooke House, Open mid-June through Columbus Day weekend.
This Colonial house (c. 1740) was built by and lived in by members of the Cooke family for four generations.
The house is the only example of its style and period on the Island that has not been modernized. The Cooke House has 11 rooms of exhibits of Vineyard history.
Topics presented include:
- Colonial Archaeology
- the history of the Cooke family
- the tool shed
- the Colonial herb garden
- changing Vineyard landscapes
- disappearing wildlife and extinctions
- "Crossroads" a timeline of Vineyard history
- Custom's office
- early schools and education on the island
- the early development of Wesleyan Grove Campground and Island tourism
Pease House Galleries, Open All Year:
10,000 Years on Martha's Vineyard
The Wampanoag Gallery explores the presence of the Island’s first inhabitants. It displays spearpoints that are thousands of years old, a 3,000 year -old soapstone vessel, a 700 year- old ceramic vessel, woodworking and other tools. The exhibit also addresses the physical and environmental changes to this area and the adaptations made by the Wampanoag to environmental as well as the deleterious effects of English colonization. Information about the Wampanoag Tribe today is available.
The Fresnel Lens Tower: Lighthouse Tower on the MVM Campus, Open All Year
This lens was designed and manufactured in France in 1854 and consists of over 1,000 individual prisms. It was exhibited in the Paris Exposition of Industry in 1856 and was subsequently purchased by the United States government. The present lighthouse tower was constructed by the Society in 1951 when the original, Fresnel Lens from the Gay Head Lighthouse was removed by the Coast Guard. In a bid to save the lens, Island school children helped raise money to relocate the lens to the MVM campus. Visitors may view the actual lens as well as information on the history of the lens. Visitors may view the lens and its original clockwork mechanism as well as historic images and information about its history.
Kids' Space: Pease House Galleries, Open All Year
This gallery is dedicated to the artwork and research projects of Island school children of all ages. New materials appear in this gallery each year. Educational Programs are also held in this space.
The Carriage Shed: Open All Year
This building contains vessels and vehicles such as a restored 1856 fire engine, an Island-built whaleboat, a Nomansland boat, a sleigh, a hearse, a wagon, a Hawaiian dugout canoe and surfboards. There are quarter boards from famous shipwrecks, pieces of the Martha’s Vineyard Railroad, historic murals, whalebone weighing frame and many other interesting items on display.
The Tryworks: Open All Year
This outdoor exhibit is a replica of a "trying out "station was located on the deck of a working whale ship. Two enormous kettles were enclosed in a brick heating unit. The tryworks served as a processing station for the rendering of whale oil. On board a ship, a whale's blubber was boiled, or "tried", to extract the oil.