The Martha’s Vineyard Museum has officially removed the majority of its collection from Edgartown and relocated to the refurbished former 1895 Marine Hospital in Vineyard Haven.
In the works for several years, the $31 million project will expand their exhibit space, programming area, storage space, and library thanks to the 29 rooms in the old hospital. Plans also include a year-round café. While the official opening will be scheduled for next summer, a soft opening is planned for early January.
Half the Edgartown property was sold to raise money for the new building but the c. 1740 Thomas Cooke House will continue to be a house museum open to the public. Plans are in the works for a new colonial garden with an interpretive history trail. Both Thomas Cooke and his son lived in this house and used one room for their business as collector of customs from 1799 until 1830.
As a neighbor in the immediate area, we have had the benefit of watching the progress of this remarkable Museum from start to finish. It is another example of an Island that can and does pull together when there is a job to be done.
The original building was obscured from view with dense, overgrown frontage overlooking Lagoon Pond. It always reminded me of a haunted house and its past history confirmed my feelings. Once it was purchased, the front was opened up and the new building started to emerge. It is now a landmark site with a renovated building designed with sensitivity to the location and views from everywhere. Driving by it several times a day, I am still very impressed that we will have a world-class museum of appropriate size on our Island. Kudos to all who have worked hard and continue to do so. I look forward to volunteer work at this great, new institution.
Follow their progress at mvmuseum.org.