Martha's Vineyard Museum
Vineyard Haven, MA


The Martha’s Vineyard Museum, formerly the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society, has been an important island institution since 1922. The institution currently occupies a small parcel in the center of Edgartown, its home since 1932. Current facilities are inadequate for the display and storage of the Museum’s permanent collection, for fulfilling the Museum’s core mission of education and community outreach, and for responding to increased visitation during peak summer months. In 2010, as the Museum strategized about its future, OEA was retained to develop a feasibility study that led to the Museum’s purchase of a land parcel in Vineyard Haven (for the 2010 study, OEA collaborated with South Mountain Company, an on-island design-build firm). The 4-acre, park-like property occupies a prominent position on a bluff overlooking Lagoon Pond and the Vineyard Haven harbor and includes the historic and iconic former Marine Hospital building, built in 1895.

In 2013, OEA was appointed as Architect for the creation of the Museum’s new home on the Marine Hospital property in Vineyard Haven. Working closely with the Museum’s Planning Committee over several months, OEA has created a design that balances the needs of respecting the preeminence of the 1895 wood-framed Marine Hospital building, while meeting the Museum’s program needs. The OEA design places all new construction “behind” the 1895 building, out of the primary view-shed from the harbor and the town, respecting the 1895 building’s historic relationship with its north lawn and terraced hillside overlooking Lagoon Pond. The new project’s major elements are: 1) Exterior restoration of the 1895 Building in a manner consistent with its historic stature, and refurbishment of its 10,000 square foot interior to meet the Museum’s needs while respecting historical elements of the building, 2) an 11,000 square foot Exhibition and Collections wing housing permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as state-of-the-art collections storage, 3) a 1,600 square foot West Exhibit Building, primarily housing large objects in the Museum’s collection. These three major elements have been composed to frame a new outdoor courtyard to the south of the 1895 Building, creating a more intimate outdoor space in counterpart to the sweeping north lawn. Both outdoor spaces will be capable of accommodating a range of events and uses. A parking area alongside the South Court allows visitors to enter the Museum’s main entry either from the south or north side of the 1895 Building. The Museum’s first-order Fresnel Lens (from the Gay Head Lighthouse) will be housed in a double-height space at the nexus between the 1895 building and the Exhibition and Collection Wing.

The Museum, with OEA’s support, presented the current concept design to the six communities on the Island in late 2013 and is actively advancing the project, with a goal of opening the doors of its new home in summer, 2018.

Under Construction, Completion 2018
20,000 square feet