Martha’s Vineyard Museum earns Preservation Massachusetts awards

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The Martha's Vineyard Museum in Vineyard Haven. — Courtesy M.V. Museum

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum (MVM) is the recipient of two awards from Preservation Massachusetts, the statewide nonprofit historic preservation organization dedicated to preserving the commonwealth’s historic and cultural heritage, according to a press release from the museum.

MVM received the Robert H. Kuehn Jr. award as well as the 2020 People’s Choice award. The awards were announced as part of a virtual ceremony held Oct. 22, a recording of which can be accessed at the following link youtube.com/watch?v=1dA3kIxtnuw.

The Robert H. Kuehn Jr. award, given annually, recognizes an extraordinary project that melds collaborative partnerships with creative and cutting-edge ideas for the rehabilitation and active reuse of historic buildings. With 11,330 total votes, the museum is also the 2020 People’s Choice award winner. Introduced last year, this award allows the public to vote on their favorite project from the list of buildings receiving the Preservation Massachusetts awards.

Voting remained neck-to-neck for a month, with MVM oscillating between first and second place. “Martha’s Vineyard Museum is grateful to everyone who voted and encouraged others to vote,” said interim executive director Heather Seger. “We want to thank Preservation Massachusetts for these prestigious awards and acknowledge the team at Oudens-Ello Architecture, led by Conrad Ello, who led the project team for almost a decade.”

Following the completion of a feasibility study, the museum purchased the 1895 Marine Hospital and former St. Pierre School in fall of 2011. After many years of planning, fundraising, archaeological excavation, and hazardous material abatement, MVM broke ground in May 2017. They began with the process of restoring the 1895 structure, adding a modern glass pavilion to house the 1854 Fresnel Lens from the Gay Head Lighthouse, and adding a large barn to display oversized objects in the collection.

“To everyone in the community who believed a run-down building that once served as a mariner’s hospital and summer camp could transform into a state-of-the-art museum and gathering place, thank you,” Seger added. “Whether you live on Martha’s Vineyard year-round, come in the summer, visit on a day trip, or simply support us from afar, it is our greatest joy to see the project complete and people enjoying it. Thank you for breathing new life into our newly restored home.”