Whaling Museum
Peter Vanderwarker/Nantucket Historical Association

Key Info

11 Broad Street

Details

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

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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