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Best Local History & Culture in Martha's Vineyard

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Martha's Vineyard Museum & Historical Society

The Martha's Vineyard Museum and Historical Society is devoted to the history and culture of this small Massachusetts island. Explore the island's fascinating past and learn about the people who lived here. The historical society first came together in 1922. Today, the museum and society are housed in historical buildings that are wonderful to walk through. Visitors to this museum can trace back their ancestry through the Historical Society's extensive genealogical services. There are special exhibits, classes, seminars, workshops, and movies hosted here throughout the year.

Edgartown, MA, United States
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Vincent House Museum

Experience three centuries of island life in this unique museum. The house was built in 1672 and is considered to be the oldest dwelling on Martha's Vineyard. With its wide floorboards built low to the ground and central chimney, it is a perfect example of classic full-Cape architecture. It was moved to its present location and restored in 1977. Several walls have been left open to demonstrate early colonial building techniques. Five rooms are furnished in the evolving styles of home decor; from the basic necessities of the first settlers to the more opulent Federal look from the 19th century.

Edgartown, MA, United States
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Edgartown Light

One of the many lighthouses on Martha's Vineyard, the Edgartown grounds, managed by the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society, are open to the public. The view from the grounds is breathtaking. The lighthouse, built in 1875 and refurbished in 1985, is an example of Cape Cod style, with three rooms on the first floor and two on the second. It is 45 feet high, made of cast iron and continues to operate as a navigational aid. The walkway leading to the lighthouse is called the "bridge of sighs" because it is said that long ago, when men would leave on sailing trips, their girlfriends and wives would stand on the walkway and look out over the horizon to where their loves had gone.

Edgartown, MA, United States
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East Chop Light

The lighthouse, on the bluffs near the historic town of Oak Bluffs, has been standing since the 1800s. The present tower, standing at 40 feet tall, was constructed in 1875, but the original dwellings and outbuildings have since been demolished. The gleaming white tower was painted a deep, chocolate brown in the past. The flashing green light serves as a marker for the U.S. Coast Guard. The grounds are open to the public and the interior is occasionally open for tours. It is presently operated by the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society.

Oak Bluffs, MA, United States
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Gay Head Lighthouse

High atop the beautiful cliffs of Gay Head rests a magnificent lighthouse. It has been operational since 1799 and stands at a height of 51 feet (15 meters). In the year 2015 due to erosion problems, it was necessary to move the lighthouse 129 feet (39 meters) back from where it was originally built. From the top of the lighthouse you can still enjoy beautiful views of the sea, the Aquinnah cliffs and nearby areas. The lighthouse is open seasonally and is open to public only during designated hours, hence it is advisable to call before visiting.

Aquinnah, MA, United States
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