Martha’s Vineyard Museum announces summer schedule


There are 30 educational, informative, and interesting events and exhibits kicking off this summer at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. Each has a unique Vineyard slant, bringing Island life to the fore through history, archeology, and art.

For the second year in a row, Atria Restaurant in Edgartown hosts a wine pairing dinner tonight, May 27, to benefit the Museum. Chef Christian Thornton has put together a five-course meal, each course paired with a wine by Atria Sommelier, John Clift. Seating is limited, so call today to check for availability: 508-627-4441. Dinner is $150; $275 for couples.

This Memorial Day weekend, The Martha’s Vineyard WWII exhibit, “Those Who Serve” expands. In addition to the current exhibit, it adds a new gallery, memorabilia, more oral histories from the men and women who served, and personal artifacts from the Patriots of WWII. The exhibit is pertinent to lifelong Islanders as well as our summer residents.

An interesting and historic film series complements the WWII exhibit, providing participants with an opportunity to view various aspects of the historical context surrounding the war. The first is “The 49th Parallel,” a 1941 film directed by Michael Powell, and designed to educate both U.S. citizens and Canadians about the dangers and escalation of the German war machine. As explained by Richard Paradise of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society (MVFS), “In 1938, 90 percent of Americans opposed all involvement in the war with Germany. ‘The 49th Parallel’ sought to ‘wake up’ Americans to the dangers posed by Nazi Germany.” The film will show on June 7 at 8 pm.

The other two films are “Saboteur,” directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and “Since You Went Away,” directed by John Cornwall. Each of the three films provides a different viewpoint on the war, and each is set during the Nazi wartime regime.

“This provides a more salient viewpoint of the actual wartime experience, rather than the heroic features of later war movies,” comments Mr. Paradise. Both the Museum and the MVFS are pleased to collaborate on this effort. Each film is shown at the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven. They begin at 8 pm and are introduced by Sheldon Hackney, former President of the University of Pennsylvania, Professor of American History, and Chairman of the Natural Endowment of the Humanities.

Adding to the informative nature of both the Museum exhibits and the Museum’s film series is a special event, Katama Airport – WWII Airplanes. Pilots from off-Island bring their vintage World War II airplanes to Edgartown. The event is free for all participants and reveals several of the actual planes used during the war.

The Museum’s Summer Kick-Off takes place on Friday, June 18, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The event includes cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the lawn at the Museum. This event is also free and open to the public. The exhibit, Laura Jernegan: Girl on a Whale Ship, opens that day.

Finally, From Concept to Canvas: Selected Works of Stanley Murphy, is enhanced this summer by a lecture/panel discussion by local artists and friends of the late artist. Mr. Murphy, a self-taught artist, has been an amazing influence on local art. That influence, his life on the Island, and his works are explored during this event, which takes place on Thursday, August 5. A reception follows the discussion in the Pease House Galleries.

According to Rez Williams, a friend and fellow artist of Mr. Murphy, “Stanley was a modest man and a local hero.” He continued, “Stanley tried to keep the commercial aspect of his art at arm’s length and did not attend his own openings.” Yet Mr. Williams believes that Stanley’s art will last.

Each of the exhibits and events is reasonably priced, ranging from free admission to $12 for adults. Museum members receive discounted admission. For more information, visit or call 508-627-4441.

Mary Quinn is a freelance writer living in Oak Bluffs.