Four Vineyarders honored with the Martha’s Vineyard Medal


The Martha’s Vineyard Museum honored four recipients on July 25 at the museum’s 99th annual meeting. This year’s recipients of the Martha’s Vineyard Medal were Gus Ben David, Kib and Tess Bramhall, and Juli Vanderhoop.

“Since 1923, the museum has been the ‘safety deposit box’ for the images, stories, objects, and voices on the Vineyard,” a press release from the museum states. “As the premier institutional storyteller of the Island, the museum introduced the Martha’s Vineyard Medal in 2009. The medal is awarded annually to leaders in the community in recognition of their outstanding commitment to preserving the history, arts, and culture of the Island.”

Gus Ben David is a teacher and naturalist, and was director of Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary for more than 30 years. Ben David founded the Osprey Project, and created the World of Reptiles and Birds.

“He has been a remarkable leader of the successful effort to increase, protect, and monitor the endangered osprey population on-Island,” the release says. Ben David is responsible for installing the first viable nesting sites for osprey on the Island. Today there are more than 100 pairs of nesting ospreys here.

Kib and Tess Bramhall have lived on the Vineyard for more than 60 years, most of which have been as year-round residents. As a couple, they have been instrumental in advancing conservation efforts on the Vineyard, the release says. Kib is known for his paintings of the Vineyard, many of which have preserved a record of what the Island looked like before the waves of development at the end of the 20th century. Additionally, according to the press release, he played a significant role in the Trustees of Reservations’ protection of Wasque and Cape Poge.

“Tess’s love of the Vineyard’s natural beauty and her commitment to helping protect it was a key factor in her decisions to become a board member and then president of the Vineyard Conservation Society,” the museum’s release says. She was a founding member of the M.V. Conservation Partnership, and most recently she created the Land Fund, which has helped provide important bridge funding for various conservation efforts.

Julianne (Juli) Vanderhoop was born and raised in Aquinnah, following generations of her family’s footsteps as leaders in the community and of the Wampanoag people. After leaving the Vineyard for college to study aeronautics, she became a commercial pilot, only to later find a heart murmur that canceled a passion for flying. She has raised a family while working as an Island EMT, an early childhood educator, and most recently the owner and creator of the Orange Peel Bakery. “A member of the select board of Aquinnah and serving as a board member for many Island nonprofits, she is passionate about affordable housing and marine habitats,” the release states.

Visit for more information about upcoming programs and exhibits. The museum is open year-round. Summer season hours are Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is free to members; admission for nonmembers is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, $5 for children 7 to 17, and free for children 6 and under. Islander rates are available.