Whaling Museum

Today's Whaling Museum Schedule

The Whaling Museum is Open Monday through Saturday, 10am-4pm (Closed Sundays)

Reserve Ticket

Visit the Online Museum Shop


All of the Whaling Museum’s exhibits are accessible by wheelchair, and all public floors of the Museum can be reached by elevator. The public elevator is equipped with Braille signage and gives auditory signals.

Service animals are welcome to visit the Museum. 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.


Non-motorized wheelchairs are available for visitors to use at no cost, on a first-come, first-served basis. You can request them at the Ticketing Desk in the main lobby.


Assistive Listening devices are available for lectures, films and presentations in Gosnell Hall and films in the Candle Factory theater. Please see the front desk or an Interpreter for a device.


Wheelchair accessible restrooms are available on the first floor in the Timeline hallway. Additional public restrooms are available at the entrance to the Discovery Center.

About the Whaling Museum

The Whaling Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Featuring permanent and rotating exhibitions in 9 premium galleries, with over a thousand works of art, artifacts and treasures on display, it tells the Island’s fascinating stories over 4 centuries.  The museum is home to a 46-foot sperm whale skeleton, a massive Fresnel lens, a restored 1847 candle factory and a relaxing, fully-accessible rooftop deck offers stunning views of Nantucket harbor.

Be sure to plan ample time to explore the history-rich galleries; enjoy daily programs, spotlight tours, and films exclusively created for the NHA; dive into featured exhibitions; play in the Discovery Center, and enjoy the unparalleled views of Nantucket Harbor from Tucker’s Roofwalk.

And doAmerican Alliance of Museumsn’t forget to visit the Museum Shop in the Hadwen & Barney Oil and Candle Factory, where you will find a carefully selected mixture of merchandise relating to Nantucket’s present and past.

In 2008, the Whaling Museum received accreditation from the American Association of Museums, an honor bestowed upon fewer than one of every twenty-two museums in the country. The museum was reaccredited in 2017.



Learn more about the history of the Whaling Museum

What You Will Experience

The Spirits Within Us, a new holographic experience, is an interactive exhibit and is part of the expanded exhibition, The Road from Abolition to Suffrage.

Sperm Whale Skeleton over a whale boat.

Explore Gosnell Hall and envision what it was like to be part of the demanding and dangerous trade of 18th century whaling. Learn more.

Tour the Hadwen & Barney Oil and Candle Factory. Learn about the lucrative trade of oil and candle production in the 19th century and about the growth of Nantucket industries needed to support that production. Learn more.

The scrimshaw collection is a result of over a century and a half of passionate collecting. Highlights of the collection include some of the earliest and rarest sperm whale teeth, engraved by the most famous of all scrimshaw artists. Learn More

On display in the Whaling Museum overlook gallery, discover the story of the sinking of the whaleship Essex that eventually served as part of the inspiration for Moby-Dick. Learn More


Neptune’s Grotto is full of mysteries!  A tusked walrus skull from the frozen North resembles a fossil of the legendary cyclops.  A massive whale’s jaw, impossibly contorted, proves its owner’s ability to survive and feed. Learn More

The Discovery Center is now located in the former Museum Shop and the outdoor pocket park behind the store.  The space has transformed into “Historic Nantucket” where families can enjoy interactive activities, crafts, games, movies, and more.  The space  also includes the 25-foot long and masterfully detailed Nantucket Railroad model.


Whaling Museum Roofwalk, photograph by Zofia & Co.

Be sure to climb the circular staircase, or take the wheelchair-accessible elevator, to Tucker’s Roofwalk, perched atop the Whaling Museum, where the panorama of the harbor pres­ents a changing scene governed by the season and the weather and by the layers of history that make Nantucket such a storied island.

What was it like to live aboard a whaleship and hunt for whales in the 19th century? It’s a story that has been told at the Nantucket Whaling Museum since the 1930s, when retired whaling captain George Grant became the first “custodian” of the Whaling Museum and shared his first-hand whaling experiences with museum visitors. That began a long-standing tradition of telling this same story, passed down to each new generation of Museum Guides. Life Aboard a Whaleship tells the history of early Nantucket Whaling and follows a whaling voyage aboard the whaleship Edward Cary, 1854-58

The Essex Gam relates the tragedy of the whaleship Essex, stove by a whale in 1820 in the Pacific Ocean, and of her ill-fated crew. Told by the Museum Guide staff at the Nantucket Whaling Museum. This real-life story was the inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.

Whaling Museum Whale Hunt Gallery with view of sperm whale and whaleboat.

A self-guided audio tour of the Whaling Museum. Available in English and Spanish.

Private Events at the Whaling Museum

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