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Nantucket Whaling Museum picture in Nantucket
Peter Vanderwarker / Nantucket Historical Association

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  • Museums Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.3
Overall
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  • Value
    2.5
  • Facilities
    3.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

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Landlubbing vacationers might not see its appeal, but still, the Whaling Museum does well with history lovers and Herman Melville fans. Some of its more impressive displays include a Fresnel Lens from the old Sankaty Head Lighthouse and the 46 foot-long sperm whale skeleton that hangs from the ceiling. There's also an impressive collection of scrimshaw art: Whalers created these elaborately engraved (or carved) pieces out of spare whale bones and teeth to pass the time at sea.

While the museum's scenic rooftop deck is a big hit, it's the various educational programs that really win visitors over. One TripAdvisor reviewer says: "Make sure you plan your visit to coincide with the Whale Hunt presentation. The 40-minute talk was so engaging that about two dozen 13- and 14-year-old students were mesmerized -- no texting, posting or whispering!" Also popular is a storytelling presentation on The Essex, the local whaling ship that inspired Moby Dick.

The Whaling Museum sits in a former candle factory in Nantucket Town. Admission starts at $17 for adults, with discounts for children, seniors and groups of 20 or more. Hours of operation vary by season, but the museum is typically open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Be sure to check the museum's information page on the Nantucket Historical Association's website before you go. 

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#5 Jetties Beach Northern Jetties is pretty similar to its southern, sandy counterpart, Surfside. Both bustle with activity in the summer and are loaded with beachside perks like food carts and public bathrooms ... Read more » Michael Galvin / Nantucket Chamber of Commerce

#6 Whaling Museum Landlubbing vacationers might not see its appeal, but still, the Whaling Museum does well with history lovers and Herman Melville fans. Some of its more impressive displays include a Fresnel ... Read more » Peter Vanderwarker / Nantucket Historical Association

Surfside Beach picture in Nantucket
Brant Point Light picture in Nantucket
Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge  picture in Nantucket
Cisco Brewers picture in Nantucket
Jetties Beach picture in Nantucket
Nantucket Whaling Museum picture in Nantucket
Surfside Beach picture in Nantucket
Brant Point Light picture in Nantucket
Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge  picture in Nantucket
Cisco Brewers picture in Nantucket
Jetties Beach picture in Nantucket
Nantucket Whaling Museum picture in Nantucket

Surfside Beach, located on the southern shore, is one of the most popular beaches on the island. shell belle / Flickr

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A sperm whale skeleton measuring 46-feet in length hangs in the Nantucket Whaling Museum. Peter Vanderwarker / Nantucket Historical Association

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