A Brief Nantucket History

By the Nantucket Historical Association

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of Nantucket history.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the cosmopolitan Nantucket that we know today was once home to the center of the whaling industry, one of the world’s most dangerous and gruesome occupations. That story and so many others are told daily at the Nantucket Historical Association’s Whaling Museum, located across the street from Greydon House. The number-one-rated Nantucket attraction on TripAdvisor, the Whaling Museum features an 1847 restored candle factory, a plethora of historic objects and exhibitions, a gorgeous rooftop observation deck overlooking Nantucket harbor, and its most notable artifact: a 46-foot skeleton of a sperm whale that washed ashore on the island on New Year’s Day, 1998 that now hangs in its main hall.

With daily programs like the Whale Hunt presentation and the Essex Gam led by expert guides detailing Nantucket’s rich history, it’s easy to see why travel writer Andrew Harper declared the Nantucket Whaling Museum to be “one of the 10 U.S. places to visit before you die.” Even the smallest visitors can get in on the fun in the Discovery Room, a designated family space in the museum that makes Nantucket history accessible for all ages.

Whether you’re a history buff or just need a break from another scorching day at the beach, there’s something for everyone at the NHA Whaling Museum. With their All-Access Pass admission ticket, visitors are free to explore the museum at their leisure, leave and say, get a bite to eat, and come back later in the day – all on the same convenient ticket. Visit the NHA website for more info on hours and daily programs.