- Location: 158 Polpis Rd, Nantucket, MA 02554, US
- Contact: 508-228-1885
- Social Media: Facebook
- Website: eganmaritime.org/shipwreck-lifesaving-museum
In the 19th century, hundreds of vessels braved the waters of Nantucket Island every day, navigating without the modern nautical technologies that we know today. Fog, storms, and hazardous shoals caused over 750 shipwrecks in the vicinity of Nantucket, prompting the establishment of the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum.
This museum serves as a reminder of the Islanders who risked their lives to rescue shipwrecked mariners. These brave individuals were part of organizations such as the Massachusetts Humane Society, the U.S. Life-Saving Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
The museum is open for the 2023 season: May 26th – October 9th, and is located on Polpis Road, just 3.5 miles away from Nantucket Town, and can be accessed by car, The WAVE, or their free Shipwreck Shuttle service, which runs from June onwards.
The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum, a branch of the Egan Maritime Institute, contains an impressive assortment of more than 5,000 relics and artifacts stemming from the area’s shipwrecks over the past 300 years. Among the items on display are surfboats from that era, beach carts, Fresnel lenses from both Brant Point and Great Point lights, a variety of photos, models of historic life-saving stations, and models of ships that have been wrecked in the past few centuries.
In addition, the museum also provides visitors with visual media, films, videos, and lectures about the storms at sea that have caused the more than 750 shipwrecks near Nantucket.
The museum is situated at the edge of Folger’s Marsh, and the grounds are open for visitors throughout the year. The public is welcome to take in the scenic views, have a picnic, or watch the wide variety of birds flitting around the marsh.
People of all ages can explore the museum and enjoy several programs designed to honor and promote Nantucket’s maritime history. Their Programs calendar will provide more information on these events, so make sure to check it out!