The Martha’s Vineyard Museum will open its latest and last exhibit in its Edgartown location on Monday, Dec. 11, during a reception from 5 to 7 pm. “Merry and Bright,” an exhibit featuring holiday cards, will be on display in the museum’s Spotlight Gallery during regular hours until Friday, Dec. 22.
The museum has archived hundreds of holiday greeting cards dating back to the late 19th century. Many of the cards are fragile, so only a few originals will be displayed. The rest have been scanned and printed, and will be showcased on a wall of cards in the museum’s small gallery room, according to Anna Barber, the museum’s curator of exhibitions.
A large chunk of the cards were found in the recently torn-down Bradley Memorial Church in Oak Bluffs, which was one of the first African American churches on Martha’s Vineyard. The Denniston family, who owned the church, let the museum collect what they wanted from the building before it was torn down. “The house was a time capsule,” Ms. Barber said.
Some of the cards have never been displayed to the public before. Island artists such as Stan Murphy, Herald Smith, Sarah and Lucy Adams, and the Whitings have donated collections and individual cards to be organized and catalogued by the museum.
“It’s really fun to see how people made holiday cards over the years,” Ms. Barber said. “They’re really sweet and special.”
From watercolor scenes of winter landscapes to lively festive gatherings, museumgoers can imagine how the Island holidays once were.
The Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center will be loaning a private collection of dreidels to accompany the holiday display. Islander Nancy Salon has been collecting dreidels from all over the world for more than 40 years.
“I’m so excited to share my dreidels,” Ms. Salon told The Times. “They’re unique, and one of a kind. I can’t even count how many I have.”
The dreidels will only be on display during the gallery’s opening reception.
The M.V. Museum will close for the season on Dec. 23, and get ready to reopen in their new Vineyard Haven location this spring. For more information, visit mvmuseum.org.