In the 19th Century, hundreds of ships passed by Nantucket Island each day, all navigating without the benefit of modern nautical technology. Unpredictable storms, dense fog and strong currents often caught even the most experienced sailors off guard. Treacherous shoals and inclement weather led to over 700 shipwrecks in the surrounding waters of Nantucket, causing the area to be dubbed “a graveyard of the Atlantic.”
The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum preserves the memory of those Islanders who risked their lives to save shipwrecked mariners. These men served in organizations devoted to maritime rescue, such as the Massachusetts Humane Society; United States Life-Saving Service; and the United States Coast Guard.
The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum features permanent and changing exhibitions that will fascinate both children and adults. Permanent exhibits are devoted to the history of Nantucket lifesaving; famous shipwrecks and rescues; life-saving equipment; the daily routine at a life-saving station; and the workings of the United States Coast Guard in modern day.
From a collection of over 5,000 artifacts, other highlights of the museum include period surfboats; beach carts; vintage photographs; and a Fresnel lens from Brant Point Lighthouse and Great Point Lighthouse.
158 Polpis Rd, Nantucket, MA 02554
When the Museum is open, there is a FREE Shipwreck Shuttle from Nantucket Visitors Services located in downtown Nantucket at 25 Federal Street to the Museum at 158 Polpis Road. The museum may also be reached easily by car, The Wave Shuttle/Polpis Route or via the Polpis Bike Path. We are just 3.5 miles from Nantucket Town.
Monday to Saturday: 10:am-5:00pm. Sunday: Noon-4pm
Blue Star Museum: Free admission to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve.
Free to Members
Seniors and Students: $7
Youth 6-17: $5.00
Children under 6: Free
Included with museum admission, every visitor enjoys:
Included with museum admission, young patrons enjoy:
Weekly children's programs in July and August