Research Library


The Fair St. Research Library is accessible by wheelchair. All public floors can be reached by elevator. Wheelchair access is via a ground-level entrance off of Ray’s Court. If you have mobility and/or access concerns, please contact us in advance of your visit, and we can help make arrangements.

Service animals are welcome to visit the Research Library. We follow the Federal government’s guidelines on service animals. The NHA welcomes dogs that are individually trained to perform a task or work for a person with a disability, but please leave pets at home.

Restrooms are on the First Floor off the Whitney gallery and on the ground level. The ground level restroom is wheelchair-accessible.

About the Research Library

The NHA Research Library was built in 1904 as safe and fireproof storage for the collection of artifacts and documents that had been growing since the inception of the Nantucket Historical Association in 1894. One of the country’s earliest concrete buildings, it was built behind the Friends Meeting House on land owned by the NHA.

The building was for years known as the Fair Street Museum, the primary exhibition space of the association, with collections arranged in a “cabi­net of curiosities” style on both floors of the building. As the association expanded its properties in the twentieth century, however, creating additional exhibition and storage spaces, the fireproof building was retrofitted, restored, and enlarged in 2001 as a library and research center.

Today, the Research Library holds a special collections repository of prima­ry-source documents that record the history of Nantucket. The collection contain more than 5,000 published volumes and 50,000 photographs, as well as archival documents such as ship’s logs, account books, family papers, and scrapbooks.

The intimate Whitney Gallery at the entrance to the library offers a display of Nantucket history and the light-filled reading rooms are a haven for historians, students, journalists, film­makers, homeowners searching for information about their Nantucket houses, and genealogists filling in the branches of their family trees.

Learn more about the history of the Research Library

What You Will Experience

NHA Research Library, First Floor, renovated in 2000. Interior of the Fair Street Museum shows collections of the NHA, ca 1907.

The Research Library offers access to the NHA collections in light-filled reading rooms attracting historians, students, journalists, film­makers, homeowners,  genealogists—researchers at all levels. Hover shows the interior of the building, ca. 1907, as the Fair Street Museum.

The Whitney Gallery highlights new acquisitions to the NHA’s collection.

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