To the Editor:
It was exciting to see more than 300 people come out on Sunday, December 11, to tour the museum’s new property in Vineyard Haven. For more than a decade museum leadership has sought to upgrade facilities to meet our stewardship responsibility to care for the collections while also fulfilling the increasing demand from members, residents, students, and visitors to participate in exhibitions, programs, and research.
Our mission states: the museum is dedicated to furthering an interest in, experience of, and appreciation for the history and culture of the Island and its environs. A formal feasibility study completed in the spring confirmed that the Marine Hospital/St. Pierre School property meets this mission and can one day offer sufficient climate controlled space for collections storage, more space for exhibitions and programming, and expanded public and K-12 access for further community involvement. The study concluded that the property allowed for the preservation and adaptive re-use of the 1895 wood frame building as well as the addition of a new collections, exhibitions, and programming facility.
In September, the museum board of directors purchased the property. We were eager to share it with the community and allow people to see our vision for the future. Our long-term objective is to continue to have a presence in Edgartown operating the Thomas Cooke House seasonally, but to move other museum operational functions to the new location.
We are in the process of forming advisory groups to help detail a likely phased construction plan and a new strategic plan. At this stage in the process, we are not able to provide specific dates or dollars for a possible move. However, the board and staff feel that the opportunity presented by the acquisition of the Vineyard Haven property is vital to meeting our responsibility to protect, preserve, and present the museum’s collections. We are convinced that it will be transformative to the institution’s future.
Many thanks to our members, neighbors, and all old and new friends for coming to share our great new view of the future.
Martha’s Vineyard Museum