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Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum

158 Polpis Rd, Nantucket, MA 02554
508-228-1885
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Ranked #5 of 49 Attractions in Nantucket
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Specialty Museums, History Museums
Owner description: In the 19th Century, hundreds of ships passed by Nantucket Island each day, all navigating without the benefit of modern nautical technology.... more » 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. « less
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60 reviews from our community

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English first
Lindenhurst, New York
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 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
38 helpful votes 38 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
26 reviews 26 reviews
6 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 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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Boston
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 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
47 reviews 47 reviews
24 attraction reviews
42 helpful votes 42 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
2 reviews
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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ATLANTA
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
5 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2014

This museum is out of town, but it is worth the trip. It is really small and the volunteers give guided tours, which was great. Cool swings and a rope climbing wall outside. Beautiful setting with picnic tables. Nice gift shop too.

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Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
8 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014

Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum is small but they packed a lot into it. Make sure to watch ALL the short movies. They really add to the story and they are done quite well.

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Dunellen
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014 via mobile

My kids thought the museum was "Cool," "Fantabulous" and "Awesomeazing!" We had a great time learning about the history of shipwrecks & the men who risked lives saving captain and crew in unbearable conditions. I have gained so much respect for mariners and those who save them. Awesome.

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