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See the new home of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum

Photo courtesy of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum

On June 28, 2019, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum will kick off a weekend of events, including its Grand Opening Gala, a special variation of its annual “Evening of Discovery.” This celebration will include drinks, dinner and an auction, along with speakers and entertainers whose names will remain surprises. The new facility in the Marine Hospital has allowed the museum to expand not only in square feet of exhibition space but also in terms of opportunities. For example, the newly constructed Linneman Pavillion houses the fully restored lens of the Gay Head Light, surrounded—perhaps ironically—by an exhibit about shipwrecks. Fuller says that this piece was one of the critical challenges in the move. She explains: “It’s an 1854 original, first-order Fresnel lens made up of 1,008 glass prisms. With the help of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, we commissioned lampist James Woodward to restore it for us; it was pretty badly corroded.” This incredibly complex and fragile item, as the centerpiece of the pavillion, “is the jewel of our collection,” says Fuller. 

New climate control and security systems set the stage for this summer’s flagship exhibit, “Benton’s Martha’s Vineyard,” which will feature Thomas Hart Benton paintings on loan from other institutions and private collectors. Benton, at the forefront of the Regionalist art movement, often painted local subjects during his more than 50 summers on the Vineyard. “Martha’s Vineyard has never done such an exhibition,” Fuller says. “It allows us to thank the island and showcase what’s never been seen here before.”

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