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Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum

158 Polpis Rd, Nantucket, MA 02554
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Ranked #5 of 49 Attractions in Nantucket
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: History Museums, Specialty Museums, Museums
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Attraction details
Owner description: In the 19th Century, hundreds of ships passed by Nantucket Island each day, all navigating without the benefit of modern nautical technology. Unpredictable storms, dense fog and strong currents often caught even the most experienced sailors off guard. Treacherous shoals and inclement weather led to over 700 shipwrecks in the surrounding waters of Nantucket, causing the area to be dubbed "a graveyard of the Atlantic."The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum preserves the memory of those Islanders who risked their lives to save shipwrecked mariners. These men served in organizations devoted to maritime rescue, such as the Massachusetts Humane Society, United States Life-Saving Service and the United States Coast Guard.The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum is located at 158 Polpis Road, just 3.5 miles from Nantucket Town. The museum can easily be reached by car, NRTA Shuttle/Polpis Route or by the Polpis Bike Path. We are open from Thursday, May 23 through Columbus Day, Monday, October 14, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Admission costs are free for members, $6.00 for adults, $4.00 for youth 5 - 17 and free to children under 5. The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum is proud to be part of the Blue Star Museum program that offers free admission to active duty military and their families.Come visit the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum and enjoy guided tours, films, new exhibits, family-friendly programs, special events and more, designed to appeal to all ages.

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63 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Buffalo, New York
Top Contributor
431 reviews 431 reviews
220 attraction reviews
198 helpful votes 198 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2014

This is a wonderful little museum that captures much of the historic sailing history and shipwrecks around the island. It's a great place to take children. We passed it many times before actually visiting and I am very happy we did. It's very well done great displays, nice little gift shop.

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3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2014

This is a very interesting and informative museum which gives you some insight into life on Nantucket

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Cleveland, Ohio
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
8 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2014

My wife and I rode bikes to this museum--recommend it and then on to Sankaty lighthouse and Siasconset. You will no tbeleive the number of nearby shipwrecks off nantucket--hence the need for lifesaving. Going out to sea in a storm in the little boats on display gives me the chills. It may help to enjoy this place if you are... More

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Lindenhurst, New York
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2014

We did this museum twice, once by ourselves, then went back for a guided tour which was very informative. The men that were lifesavers(precourser to the Coast Guard) were rugged, selfless, extremely tough individuals. I personally came away thinking just how far we have come from where these men were in our present day America...really quite sad actually.

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Top Contributor
122 reviews 122 reviews
24 attraction reviews
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2014

museum has excellent organizational layout and volunteer tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Displays give a comprehensive historical timeline.

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Colts Neck, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
8 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2014

Nice little museum, friendly workers and interesting items.....amazing how many wrecks were off of Nantucket! My son who was 9 was a bit bored since many of the stories were posted on the wall and had to be read....he was not interested in reading!

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15 reviews 15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2014

we got a big guided tour and watched four short films on shipwrecks and heroic lifesaving events this museum is very nice

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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2014

We really enjoyed the museum! Lots of great history and nostalgia about the island and the various people. We all learned something new about this magical island! The space is beautiful both inside and out.

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Cleveland, Mississippi
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
25 attraction reviews
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2014

We enjoyed a guided tour of the Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum on our last full day on the island, and were rewarded with a unique trip back into history as interpreted by an excellent and well-prepared docent. Our tour made us aware of Nantucket's vital role in the development of today's US Coast Guard and the heroic actions of... More

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Sheffield, United Kingdom
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2014

The tour guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. Very interesting to learn a bit more about the Whaling history of Nantucket. Beautiful area outside with lifebelt swings for kids and benches by a lovely pond.

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