What to Do

Nantucket Whaling Museum

The Nantucket's Whaling Museum is perhaps the jewel in the crown of the Island's historic landmarks.
Originally built in 1848 to process sperm whale headmatter into candles, the building lives today to tell the story of Nantucket's golden past.
Key exhibits include the 46- foot-long skeleton of a sperm whale that washed up on Nantucket in January 1998. The skeleton hangs in the museum's Gosnell Hall, positioned as if ready to dive below the waves.

The reconstruction of the skeleton was over seen by Dan DenDanto of Bar Harbor, Maine. It was his eighth and most difficult reconstruction.
On the walls of Gosnell Hall are portraits of the men - masters and mates - who led the hunt for whales. The NHA's impressive collection of whaling tools including harpoons, lances, and cutting-in tools and a fully-rigged whaleboat are vividly displayed.

The two-year renovation of the museum building that was completed in June 2006, allowed visitors to better see two crucial pieces of the building, the two-story beam press, used to press oil from sperm whale's spermaceti, the building's original tryworks, used to process the spermaceti into oil and finally into candles. The beam press, used to press oil from the spermaceti, is the only beam press in the world exhibited in its original location.

The skeleton, beam press and tryworks are not the only larger than life exhibits. The museum is also home to the original 1849 fresnel lens used to light the Sankary Head lighthouse.

Of tinier scale, but no less important, is the museum's exceptional collection of scrimshaw and whale baleen artifacts and displays of whaling era household goods and clothing, along with an exception collection of period paintings.

To top it all off is the Museum's rooftop observation deck, allowing visitors to look down on the harbor, enjoying the modern view while imagining what it was like to see the harbor filled with whaling ship masts.

Key exhibits include the 46- foot-long skeleton of a sperm whale that washed up on Nantucket in January 1998. The skeleton hangs in the museum's Gosnell Hall, positioned as if ready to dive below the waves.

The reconstruction of the skeleton was over seen by Dan DenDanto of Bar Harbor, Maine. It was his eighth and most difficult reconstruction.
On the walls of Gosnell Hall are portraits of the men - masters and mates - who led the hunt for whales. The NHA's impressive collection of whaling tools including harpoons, lances, and cutting-in tools and a fully-rigged whaleboat are vividly displayed.

The two-year renovation of the museum building that was completed in June 2006, allowed visitors to better see two crucial pieces of the building, the two-story beam press, used to press oil from sperm whale's spermaceti, the building's original tryworks, used to process the spermaceti into oil and finally into candles. The beam press, used to press oil from the spermaceti, is the only beam press in the world exhibited in its original location.

The skeleton, beam press and tryworks are not the only larger than life exhibits. The museum is also home to the original 1849 fresnel lens used to light the Sankary Head lighthouse.

Of tinier scale, but no less important, is the museum's exceptional collection of scrimshaw and whale baleen artifacts and displays of whaling era household goods and clothing, along with an exception collection of period paintings.

To top it all off is the Museum's rooftop observation deck, allowing visitors to look down on the harbor, enjoying the modern view while imagining what it was like to see the harbor filled with whaling ship masts.


Visitors learn of the Island's whaling history while sitting under the skeleton of a sperm whale.



Need to know

Address:15 Broad Street

Organization: Nantucket Historical Society

Telephone: 508-228-1894

Website: www.nha.org

Hours:

Sunday - Saturday 10 A.M. - 5 P.M.;

Thursday 10 A.M. - 8 P.M. (until Labor Day only)

Don't Miss:

Sperm whale skeleton

Beam press

Scrimshaw collection

Tickets:

Adults: $15

Seniors: $12

Children (6 to 17) $8