Museum sells parts of Edgartown campus

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The Martha's Vineyard Museum is selling portions of its Edgartown campus, marking the end of its 90-plus-year tenure in Edgartown. — Susan Safford

After more than 90 years, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum officially ended its tenure in Edgartown by selling two-thirds of its former School Street campus.

The museum divided the property into three lots, selling two of them for $2 million each, according to transactions at the Dukes County Registry of Deeds. The money will help fund the museum’s new Vineyard Haven location.

Stephen and Sheila Schlageter of Summit, N.J. purchased Lot 2, which contains the museum’s former office and storage buildings. Paul and Chari Polley of Sarasota, Fla., purchased Lot 3, which houses the museum’s former gift shop and gallery.

Instead of putting the properties out on the open market, the museum contacted Gerret Conover of Landvest Martha’s Vineyard, who solicited the Schlageters and the Polleys and brokered the deal.

The lot containing the historic Thomas Cooke House will remain under museum ownership. Museum director Katy Fuller said the historic 1740 colonial house and grounds will most likely operate seasonally as a legacy garden.

“It’s kind of our little park-like gift to Edgartown,” Fuller said.

Fuller, who has been with the museum for more than 10 years, said leaving the Edgartown campus was bittersweet.

“It’s been our home forever. It’s sad, but we also knew that that campus could never get a school bus down the road, there wasn’t parking, the collection not having the right climate control, and enough space for exhibits and collections. We knew we couldn’t stay, but it was still sad to leave it after all that time,” she said.

The museum is planning a soft opening on Jan. 17.

“We were adamant we wanted it open in the winter for the Islanders,” Fuller said. “It’s the Island’s museum, so we want them to come use it as soon as they can.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Can’t help but find it a little ironic that a non profit organization dedicated to the rich history of the island decides to sell it’s former campus privately in a backroom deal to two seasonal families hidden from the public. I get it, this is the real world, they wanted as much money as possible quickly and in return can attempt to save face by gifting a small piece to the town, a park that will likely receive little visitors given it’s location off main street. Funny thing is if these lots were considered for affordable housing or anything in that likeness the neighbors would come out in droves complaining about increased traffic and noise, this however is quite all right. Don’t worry I’m sure there will be more and more articles written and people talking about the housing crisis, a problem that will go away with more physical places to live, not through expensive studies and political sound bits

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