Nantucket Historical Association
Nantucket Historical Association information
Lonely Planet review
The umbrella Nantucket Historical Association maintains eight historical sites covering everything from farming beginnings to the prosperous whaling days.
The NHA's most famous property, the Nantucket Whaling Museum , occupies a former spermaceti candle factory. The evocative exhibits relive Nantucket's 19th-century heyday as the whaling center of the world. A 46ft-long sperm-whale skeleton, a rigged whaleboat and assorted whaling implements tell the story of its history.
A walk through the NHA's Hadwen House , a Greek Revival home built in 1845 by a whaling merchant, provides testimony to just how lucrative the whaling industry was in its heyday.
Built in 1686, the Jethro Coffin House , 0.4 miles northwest of the town center via W Chester St, is the town's oldest building still on its original foundation. It's in a traditional saltbox style, with south-facing windows to catch the winter sun and a long, sloping roof to protect the home from harsh north winds.
The Old Mill is America's oldest working windmill (c 1746), as game young docents will demonstrate by grinding corn (weather conditions permitting). To see where drunken sailors used to spend the night, visit the Old Gaol , the c 1806 jail that served Nantucket for 125 years.