The Whaling Museum is part of the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA), which is the world’s most comprehensive resource and principal steward of Nantucket history, and tells the inspiring stories of the island through its collections, programs, and properties.
The NHA’s vast holdings contain thousands of paintings, prints and drawings, baskets, lighting devices, scrimshaw, whaling tools and implements, furniture and decorative arts, historic properties and sites, plus the complete skeletons of a 47-foot sperm whales.
Together they illustrate Nantucket’s illustrious past and make relevant connections to audiences today. Among its 18 historic properties located in Nantucket town are the 1686 “Oldest House”, 1746 working mill, 1806 gaol, 1838 Quaker Meeting House and 1845 whaling mansion Hadwen House.
The NHA’s flagship Whaling Museum was expanded in 2005 into a state-of-the-art exhibition and interpretation center, and is the essential starting point for visitors to begin exploring island history.
An original short film, Nantucket, was made exclusively for the NHA by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Ric Burns, which serves as a gateway experience to the island. A Discovery Room engages children and families in both self-guided and educator-led learning experiences.
The NHA has the highest level of accreditation by the American Association of Museums, an honor bestowed upon approximately 1,000 museums among 33,000 nationwide. Named a finalist for the National Medal of the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2015 and 2016.
The NHA Research Library is a Special Collections repository of primary resources focused on Nantucket history.