Museum Pieces: Gathering place

There is so much to learn and understand about the past, and plenty to do now. 

An opening reception for Charlie Giordano's exhibit is scheduled for next Friday. —Charlie Giordano

“To know how much there is to know is the beginning of learning to live.”  –Dorothy West

Take another second to read that quote again, and let the words sink in. This is a thrilling statement. There are so many stones to turn over, and the fact that we won’t all turn over the same stones means we all have different things to share about what we find. When we share our discoveries with one another, the results are transformative. The M.V. Museum encourages these exchanges — they’re critical to our mission of being a place where we can gather and feel seen, appreciated, and energized. What would you love to learn about? What would you like to see? We can come alive inside the museum.
I have never fallen into rabbit holes like the ones I have since moving into my position at the museum. I’m grateful that I get to work in such a wondrous atmosphere, and I want you to feel it too. I threw a few questions to my colleagues recently in order to learn more about what they love about their job, and the museum as a whole. Kate Ridenour, our associate director of audience engagement, said, “I love working with so many funny, creative, thoughtful, kind, and immensely talented people, who all genuinely want to make this the best museum it can be, and I want to share this museum with as many people as possible.” Brien Heffler, our visitor services manager, agrees: “It’s the people! I have never before had the privilege to work with such a dedicated team, so unified in a common goal and committed to helping one another. My smile coming into work is genuine here.” Bow Van Riper, our research librarian, says, “I love that I get to work in a historic building, surrounded by books, and they pay me to learn stuff, and the museum shows love by preserving and sharing the history, and memories of community members and institutions gone by, for present and future generations to discover.” Brien adds that the museum “shows love for the Island by being a welcoming, year-round space for all of the community (and communities) of the Island.”
Come and check out the museum for yourself. There are both tried-and-true programs and new ones being generated all the time that will keep you coming back. Coming up on Tuesday, Feb. 13, the museum will host a Galentine’s Day Speakeasy celebration. Register online at There will be gift bags for the first 40 people who register, several door prizes, appetizers, and beverages — including some mocktails — vintage Valentine making using replicas of valentines from our collection, a pop-up exhibit curated by Anna Barber that will include diaries, a locket, love letters, and other rarely seen objects from the past 200 years, live jazz music from Jeremy Berlin and Rose Guerin, and a warm, festive, welcoming environment. No matter what kind of love you are feeling, or not feeling, this could be just what you need to feel happy. Struggles are real, but we don’t have to suffer alone; it’s way more fun to do it together.
Things to remember: Come see the Clifford exhibition with your whole family, up through July 14. Come and check out the Friday Reset tomorrow night, Feb. 9, between 5 and 8 pm for a night of games, crafts, puzzling, and nibbling on food provided by Aquila MV. Plus, get your team together for some old-fashioned trivia with Ray Whitaker, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. The Friday Reset will continue through the end of April, and pick back up in the fall. Save the evening of Friday, Feb. 16, for the opening reception of the exhibition “Clearly Misunderstood: C.F. Giordano.” The years of COVID were challenging, but for many Islanders there were also moments of great creative expression. Islander Charlie Giordano will reveal his creations in this exhibit.
Circling back to the words of Dorothy West, we want you to fall in love with the idea that knowing how much there is to know is the beginning of learning to live, and M.V. Museum is a good place to be for both.

Visit for more information about upcoming exhibitions and events. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum inspires all people to discover, explore, and strengthen their connections to this Island and its diverse heritage. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday year-round. Regular hours are 10 am to 4 pm, and summer season hours are 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.