Keeping the island's history alive is the goal of the Nantucket Historical Association. Many of the museums and historical sites on Nantucket fall under the NHA's umbrella, which makes it an excellent place to start when taking a tour of the island. Purchase a membership to receive admission to all of the NHA's sites and immerse yourself in the island's past. Individual memberships provide far more benefits other than just museum entrance fees.
One of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States, Brant Point Light Station is Nantucket Island's historic landmark. Though this iconic structure was established in 1746, it underwent numerous alterations through the ages, with its overall automation being one of the most notable events in its long and illustrious history. Armed with a powerful 5th-generation Fresnel lens, its signals have the capability of traveling distances up to 19 kilometers (12 miles). The monochromatic wooden tower that one sees today was built in the year 1901, and sits at Brant Point surveying all ferries, yachts and cruises from the mainland that pass its picturesque side on their way into the harbor.
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.
Madaket Beach is known for its spectacle sunsets, perfect for a photo or just enjoying the moment. Of course, plenty of visitors and residents alike head to Madaket during regular beach hours for sunbathing and swimming. Please note, surf can be heavy at times and the lifeguards are on duty seasonally. These lovely beach is even accessible via the Madaket Bike Path, which runs 5.5 miles (8.9 kilometers) from town.
The buildings in the Historic District of Nantucket reflect all the charm of an old New England town. It is here where every nook, every alleyway, and every antiquated cottage coyly croons the secrets of the neighborhood's storied past. Its ocean-side Historic District is touted to be one of the oldest in the country. Although the dainty, wood-built buildings may not be the most scenic, their very fabric weaves together stories which date back as far as the 17th Century, some also lending insights into the Civil War. At this olden district, modest, pastel-hued shops, bed and breakfast inns, and traditional restaurants lie strewn across the winding, cobbled lanes, as well as Main Street, a major thoroughfare of the area. Mornings spill into afternoons at this antiquated quarter which is a heartwarming slice of American history. Since cars are discouraged in the laid-back quarter, Nantucket is a pleasant zone traversed only by cycles, bikes, and mopeds.
The renowned Sankaty Head Light is a prominent lighthouse which is constructed on the Nantucket Island in Siasconset, Massachusetts. This 60-foot (18-meter) lighthouse was first lit in the year of 1850 and it is still operational, though now it is automated. The towering lighthouse was incorporated in the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. The grounds are open to the public, but visitors can not enter the lighthouse.
The Whaling Museum is an educational and informative museum that is located in the heart of Nantucket. It provides information on the history of Nantucket as a city. The museum is managed and run by the Nantucket Historical Association. The visit begins with a movie clip followed by a presentation and the tour. Visitors can go through several exhibits, artifacts, elements, articles and other piece of information related to Nantucket city. The museum can be visited until 29th October, 2017. A great place for school kids, historians and researchers.
Let's face it; there's only so much sunlight and heat that you can take before it gets to be a bit much. Luckily, situated in the middle of town is the Nantucket Atheneum, also known as the Public Library. The cards are free if you're a Nantucket resident or property owner, and five dollars if you're neither. The Atheneum offers weekly, and monthly story events in the Gallery, or Garden for children. Check calendar for details and times.
Spermaceti is a substance derived from whales that was once used to make candles. This converted 1846 candle factory is now home to a museum about Nantucket's whaling history - and it's an excursion that can not be missed. It features a tremendous collection of artifacts including the skeleton of a 46-foot sperm whale, the 16-foot (5-meter) glass prism from Sankaty Head Light, portraits of sea captains, a large scrimshaw collection, and so much more!
Keeping with true Nantucket charm, the Aquarium is housed in a quaint, small cottage complete with inviting windowboxes and wainscotted walls. Don't let the casual appearance fool you; inside you'll find serious information about the aquatic life found in Nantucket's saltwater marshes. Interns are on-hand to answer questions on the many varieties of crustaceans and fish found on (and around) the island. Children's activities include hands-on workshops and outdoor excursions.