Past Exhibits

2020 Weaving in Isolation: Creating Art in Times Apart

2019 Innovations in Nantucket Basketry: José Reyes and Beyond

This year we showcase innovations in lightship baskets. From Jose Reyes’ lidded purse to contemporary baskets for the home, basket makers have been pushing the boundaries of what defines a Nantucket lightship basket. Stop in to see these remarkable pieces.

Heirlooms and Legacies poster2018 Heirlooms & Legacies examines the lineage of baskets.

This exhibit includes baskets that have been handed down through generations, as well as basket makers within the same family.





2017 “Breaking the Mold: Women in Nantucket Folk Art”

Poster from 2017 exhibit featuring Aletha Macy at work on a clock.Breaking the Mold: Women in Nantucket Folk Art explores the many ways in which women have been involved with the production, promotion, and preservation of Nantucket’s most iconic folk arts, like basket making, scrimshaw, and woodcarving.






2016 Faraway Islands: Lightship Basket Making on Nantucket & Japan

2015 “Gen Next” Cover Design_#7_2

Explored the relationships between basket makers and students throughout history from the whaling era to the present. A giant “family tree” of basket makers was the final result of the exhibit. Featured artists were Arthur R. Martin and Frederick Chadwick.





2014 “21st Century Basketry”

2014 Exhibit - 21st Century BasketryThis exhibit celebrated cutting edge works representing a variety of basket making techniques throughout the world. Featured artists were Captain Charles B. Ray and Reggie Reed.



2013 “Coming Home”NLBM_Exhibit_2013

Baskets that made their way back to Nantucket from off island. Several prominent off island collections were featured. Featured artists were Davis Hall and William Sevrens.

2012 “Gifts from the Heart”

Gifts from the Heart Exhibit

Baskets that were given or received to commemorate memorable occasions. Featured artists were Captain Thomas James and Harry Hilbert.

2011 “Members’ Collection”

Baskets that were made or owned by the museum’s members. Featured artists were William Appleton, Ferdinand Sylvaro and Stephen Gibbs.

2010 “From Folk Art to Fine Art”

This exhibit traced the art form from the early utilitarian baskets to the more sophisticated decorative baskets of today. Featured artists were Captain Andrew Sandsbury, Clinton Mitchell Ray, José Reyes and Albert Ottison.

2010 Exhibit "From Folk Art to Fine Art"

2009 “10th Anniversary”

Celebration of the museum’s 10th anniversary.

2008 “Celebrations! An Exhibit of Traditional Nantucket Arts”

In addition to lightship baskets, this was the first exhibit to include other Nantucket arts such as ivory carving, silver, scrimshaw and paintings to compliment the baskets.

2007 “Through The Collector’s Eye”

10th Anniversary Exhibit

Collections from various collectors displayed as a collection with a focus on what drives a collector.

2006 “Lightship Basket Nests and More”

Over 40 nests of baskets from all vintages were featured.

2005 “A Parade of Purses”

Purses from the earliest known through the present.

2004 “Nantucket Occasions”

Baskets celebrating special occasions such as weddings, Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays, cranberry festival, picnics and other memorable family events.

2006 Exhibit "Lightship Basket Nests and More.."2003 “Teachers and Students

Passing On the Tradition” – Baskets made by various family members with the lineage of who learned to weave from whom. The exhibit included a special feature; “Lightships to Spaceships” a collection of baskets made in space by astronaut Dan Bursch.

2002 “Reyes’ 100th Birthday”

A celebration of José Reyes’ 100th birthday featuring baskets made by José Reyes and Reyes family members.

2001 “Nantucket Inspired Baskets”

Baskets inspired by the traditional Nantucket Lightship Basket tradition.

2000 “Old and New”

Features the changes in basket making trends from the lightship era to the present day.