NANTUCKET HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION: WHALING MUSEUM  Nantucket, Massachusetts

After two years of restoration and new construction, the Nantucket Historical Association’s Museum Center re-opened its doors to the public in 2005 with 28,000 square feet of new exhibition space.

The galleries blend old favorites (scrimshaw, figureheads and a whaling boat) and new experiences (audiovisual theaters and interactive media stations) through a series of dynamic and intimate spaces including a Nantucket History Gallery, Whale Hunt Theater, and a Children and Family Learning Gallery.

Complete restoration of the 1847 candle factory was among the main goals of the museum re-design. In this historic building, whale oil was pressed and processed into lamp oil and molded into spermaceti candles, and the building still smells of this operation. In the candle factory, unimposing installations and simple graphics illuminate the history of lamps and lighting that Nantucket’s whaling heritage made possible.