Museum Pieces: Feel free to explore

The museum is the perfect space to listen, learn, and walk a little lighter.


“Would you like your adventure now, or should we have our tea first?” —J.M.Barrie

J.M. Barrie was a Scottish novelist and playwright, best remembered as the creator of Peter Pan. He was someone who stirred up enthusiasm for adventure. Let’s revive that zest for a life full of adventure, and make the effort to head into each day with that mindset. Martha’s Vineyard Museum is a place full of daring tales about those who walked over the land we do now. We all make our mark in this world, and what do we want it to be? How much do we pay attention to how we move through the world? How much do we notice our sensory experiences? It’s the little things we forget about, the smell of grass, the noises that mark the technology of this era, and the process of making … well … anything. We skip right to the end, instead of savoring each step. It doesn’t take any longer to notice our moves while we make it. When I walk through the museum on any given day, I witness Del Araujo, co-founder of Aquila, who runs our First Light Cafe, prepare coffee for patrons with care. He listens, may even remember how you like your coffee, and delivers it with an intentional positivity.

The museum is where we can alleviate stress, boredom, or blocks of many kinds. Inside the gallery spaces, the lighting creates an almost portal-like atmosphere where we can feel what’s beyond the veil, and hear the stories as if historical figures are right there speaking with us. Every object pulls us into a connection with our past that can make us more present and inform our future. Being a community museum, our hope is we all find a little something we like. MVM is in a constant state of listening, learning, and lifting untold stories into the light. Excellence is what we will forever pursue, and we can accomplish great things working together.

Did you know that April is Afternoon Tea Month — a 200-year-old tradition in many cultures and an entertaining part of Island history? This coming Monday, April 29, join us for an “Afternoon Tea Tasting” with Holly Bellebuono, acclaimed herbalist and author, and Melissa Harding, CEO of Vineyard Herbs. Discover the nuances between true teas and herbal tisanes, learn the art of blending and brewing for optimal flavor, and explore the medicinal benefits of various herbs. Research librarian Bow Van Riper will also join to share the lore surrounding Island tea houses, including the one run by the famous Adams sisters. It’s going to be an aromatic adventure!

If you like outdoor adventures, attend “Before the Bite: Insights into Tick Ecology and Safety” with Patrick Roden-Reynolds on Tuesday, April 30, for an exploration of the basics of tick ecology and behavior. Patrick is the director of the Martha’s Vineyard Tick Program, and a public health biologist for the Inter-Island Public Health Excellence Collaborative. His work focuses on education and surveillance of vector-borne diseases and their vector populations. With an emphasis on the “Before the Bite” mantra, Patrick will cover the most important prevention tactics, and provide updates on lone star ticks, alpha-gal syndrome, and other current topics. On Wednesday, May 1, there will be a rare opportunity to be in the room with father and son conservationists Bob and Andrew Woodruff as we present “A Legacy of Conservation and Regenerative Farming.” They are legendary figures in our community who continue to do exciting, cutting-edge things for our Island.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit “Clearly Misunderstood: C.F. Giordano” in our community gallery, you have until May 5. One more heads-up, the Extinct Bird sculptures that have been installed on the front lawn of the museum since last spring will depart on May 9. So, if you want to say goodbye or have a final photo op with them, come on up the hill soon. May is going to be another activity-filled month, so please keep checking the website, and support the museum with a visit! The view is waiting for you!

Visit for more information about upcoming exhibitions and events. 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 for 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.