“It’s Really Happening!”

Despite Mother Nature and the Steamship Authority’s best efforts to slow progress, the new Martha’s Vineyard Museum is humming along at the old site of the former Marine Hospital. We’ve had lots of progress as the calendar turns from winter to spring. Let’s take a tour…

Vehicles and Vessels

Just like that, we have a building! Last time we checked in, the foundation had been poured for the new home for our largest objects in the collection. The Vehicles and Vessels building is now entirely constructed. The next step for this building is to bring in the ceiling trusses, which will allow us to remove all the temporary wall supports that are currently protecting the building from Mother Nature’s relentless northeast winds. This building was constructed earlier in the construction timeline to be used as a storage facility for materials this summer and as a place for job site meetings in the warmer months once the contractor’s trailer is removed for necessary site work. We can’t wait to let the curators loose on it, and see the building come to life.

Construction of the Vehicles and Vessels building was captured on our time lapse web cam. We encourage everyone to log on and play around with the calendar dates to see it being built.

Drone shot showing the newly constructed Vehicles and Vessels building behind the 1895 Marine Hospital. Taken on March 20th. Courtesy of Denys Wortman.
Exterior of the Vehicles and Vessels building on February 28th. Interior with temporary supports on March 9th.
The Ulysses Mayhew Peddler Wagon, one of the objects that will move to the new Vehicles and Vessels building.

Two of the objects that will be featured in this new building are the Edgartown hearse, which will be restored this summer using Edgartown CPA funds generously approved by the residents of Edgartown at last year’s town meeting, and the Ulysses Mayhew Peddler Wagon. The hearse or “undertaker’s wagon” was given to the town in 1830 and used for many decades. Ulysses Mayhew was the original owner of Alley’s General Store. Restoration of the Peddler’s Wagon is on the warrant at next week’s West Tisbury town meeting, and we would so appreciate the residents of West Tisbury supporting its historic restoration. To learn more about its importance, click here.

Fresnel Lens Pavilion

The Fresnel Lens Pavilion can finally be seen above ground! Just yesterday a large crane moved steel into place now that the foundation walls have all been poured. Dirt was being backfilled around the foundation as well, and you can now walk through the 1895 Marine Hospital into the Fresnel Pavilion from the basement. We expect to see a lot of progress on this addition in the next few weeks and have moved the time lapse web cam to focus on its construction during this time period.

Progress on the Fresnel Lens Pavilion from February 28th – April 4th.

Basement Progress

Compact collection storage area before the concrete was poured March 14th.

One of the places that has seen the most progress in the last month has been the 1895 Marine Hospital basement. The brick was all repointed, and the floor dug down to make more room for collection storage. All of the mechanical equipment has begun to be installed, bathrooms are being plumbed, and metal door frames are even starting to go in. One of the most exciting days in March was the day we had the concrete floor poured. These images show long columns where concrete was not poured. These are tracks for the future collection storage racks. The storage shelves will be able to move back and forth creating compact storage that will be able to house more of the MVM collection. Everyone looks forward to housing the collection in this new space!

We have a floor! March 19th.

Moving Upstairs

Future MVM Library on the second floor of the Marine Hospital.

On the first and second floors, there is one acronym that best summarizes the past month: HVAC! The HVAC crews have been hard at work running ducting to every room in the building. Electricians have completed the wall and floor rough electrical allowing for spray foam insulation to be sprayed next week. Fire protection has been installed in the attic and second floor and has begun in the first floor. The new staircase that will run from the basement to the attic was constructed and installed making it a lot easier to travel between the floors. The original 1895 staircase has been saved for access between the first and second floors, but all the railings and banisters have been covered to protect them during construction.

We’ve also seen the historic doors saved from the original 1895 Marine Hospital being restored. These doors will be re-installed with their original transom windows and used throughout the building. Rick Convery and his crew are making them all look beautiful!


Original 1895 doors before and after lead paint removal.

Marine Hospital Exterior

Shingling on the upper half of the Marine Hospital is complete. The clapboard siding on the lower half of the building is slowly getting a good sanding. The roof is being prepped, and if Mother Nature cooperates, will be completed this month. The original porches on the front of the building have also been getting much needed restoration work. The porch railings were badly rotted in some areas, but are being fully restored. We are so appreciative of the residents of Tisbury for supporting their restoration with CPA funds. It is fascinating to see the new wood perfectly integrated with the original porch railings.

Side porch restoration work underway. April 4th.

More Hard Hat Tours!

We had a great first public hard hat tour and have added more to the calendar. Our next tour will take place on Friday, April 13th at 4pm. Reservations are required, and participants must be prepared to wear hard hats and sign insurance waivers. We will have additional hard hat tours on May 11th, June 8th, and July 13th. To reserve a spot, call Madison at 508-627-4441 x119.

Preparations Continue in Edgartown

Meanwhile back in Edgartown, we’ve been doing a lot of cleaning, organizing, and preparing for the move. The professionals from Museum and Collector Resource who are packing, moving, and unpacking the collection will be back next week for further preparations. The disassembly of the 1854 Fresnel Lens will begin at the end of the month, so the mechanisms and prisms can be properly cleaned and restored before being reinstalled in Vineyard Haven.

The galleries will re-open to the public on Saturday, May 26th and be open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from noon to 5pm through September 3rd. The Cooke House will open at the Summer Opening Party on Friday, June 22nd. The Research Library will remain closed all summer as it will house the Fresnel Lens. Research appointments can be made by calling Bow Van Riper at 508-627-4441 x115. After Labor Day, we will close operations in Edgartown to move to Vineyard Haven. We appreciate everyone’s understanding during this time of transition. It’s certainly an exciting time to be involved, and we’re so appreciative of everyone who is coming along on this journey!


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