Artifact Collections

A selection of items from our collections are now viewable online.

Search our artifact collections>>
Browse our artifact collections>>
Overview of NHA collections through time>>

The collections of the Nantucket Historical Association represent the wealth of Nantucket history from its earliest days to the present. A portion of the NHA collection is regularly on display in our current exhibitions, as well as in our historic houses. The bulk of artifacts not on display are housed at the Bartholomew Gosnold Center, a secure storage facility.

Artifact Collections
The artifact collection represents many definitive aspects of Nantucket's history. Those aspects cover whaling, land and sea transportation, Quaker religion, fine and decorative arts, farming, commerce, and architecture. These holdings encompass all media, including textiles, glass, wood, metals, works on paper, paintings, and whale ivory. The NHA's collection includes over 700 paintings, almost 800 prints and drawings, 150 baskets, 400 lighting devices, 800 pieces of scrimshaw, over 2,500 whaling tools and implements, over 6,000 pieces of furniture and decorative arts, and the complete skeletons of a 40 foot Finback and a 47 foot Sperm whale. There is a total of 30,000 artifacts in the NHA's collection.

 

Primary Source Collections
In addition, the NHA Research Library contains an extensive collection of manuscripts, maps, books, documents, and photographs relating to Nantucket and maritime history. For more information on the holdings of the NHA Research Library, click here.

For a list of frequently asked questions about NHA artifacts, click here.