Monday, July 1, 2013
Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum
Taking a crew of cousins to any place requires a special vehicle. We are so lucky to get a ride on Grandpa's Grand Willy's, Nantucket Edition. Today our destination was Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum, which is located on Polpis Road, about 3.5 miles outside of Nantucket Town, toward Polpis and Wauwinet.
On our way to the museum we passed another cool old truck!
The Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum is open from May 23 through Columbus Day, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Admission is $6.00 for adults, $4.00 for youth 5 – 17, and free to children under 5. Free admission to active duty military and their families.
Our crew of cousins ranged in age of 5 through 14, plus adults. This was a second time for most of visiting the museum, but when our family went last year, we didn't happen to go during a guided tour. This time a tour was starting just as we stepped in, and we got a lot more out of our visit. Our guide, Mr. Dick, was knowledgeable, and did a wonderful job explaining the artifacts, and the rich history of shipwrecks and lifesaving efforts here around Nantucket Island.
When you first walk into the museum you see this magnificent painting of beach patrol using breeches buoy, which is a rope-based rescue device used to extract people from shipwrecked vessels.
All the red dots on this map show the shipwrecks Nantucket Island has witnessed. Over 700 shipwrecks have occurred off the coast of Nantucket during the maritime period. The Massachusetts Humane Society established huts and outfitted them with firewood and provisions to sustain survivors until local townspeople came to their rescue. By 1806, there were 18 huts along the coast and on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
It was fascinating to hear about the breeches buoy. It was used when the seas were too rough to launch a surfboat to rescue lives. The beach patrol would use a harpoon to shoot a line over to the ship in distress. Sometimes it took several tries for the crew on the ship to get the line and breeches buoy established.
The passengers and crew would be hauled to shore one by one using the breeches buoy. Check it out hanging from the ceiling.
Here is a miniature replica depicting a lifesaving scene.
The Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving museum isn't huge, but it sure is packed with a lot of history and artifacts.
We spent about an hour and a half there, but could have easily doubled our time, if we had thought to bring sandwiches with us. The museum grounds actually had picnic areas set up for that. (It was also kind of sprinkly, so we wanted to make sure we got home before our crew got too wet.)
One room had a small exhibit on lighthouses and lighthouse keepers, and their families.
This room also had a little bit of a play area for the younger guests, and some wooden ships kids could play with (which I didn't get in the photo).
We definitely recommend a visit - or a homeschool field trip to Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum. You can start by reading about five of the shipwrecks right here.
Nantucket also has a fantastic whaling museum, but we probably won't review it this summer.
Kävimme tänään Nantucketin haaksirikko-ja hengenpelastusmuseossa. Todella mielenkiintoinen vierailu, vaikka olimmekin käyneet siellä viime vuonna. Tällä kertaa saimme oppaan, joka osasi kertoa paljon lisää historiasta. Suosittelemme!