With our European colleagues in our thoughts, we share history about the Nantucket–Europe Connection  
Photo: Anne Ramsdell Congdon (1873-1958) was a watercolor and oil painter in New England and Nantucket who trained in Paris, France in the early 1890s. This photo is from her personal photo album documenting her time in Europe.

View the entire album in the NHA collection .
Explore Oral Histories
New Arrivals, New Voices
This 2014 oral-history project, supported by a grant from Mass Humanities, records the experiences of people from around the world who have moved to Nantucket to seek jobs, to provide a better education for their children, and to live in a safe and beautiful place. They have contributed their full stories and photograph selections to the NHA oral history archive. Here are a few who came to Nantucket from European countries.
The Curator's Corner
Like other Americans in the 19 th century, wealthy Nantucketers went to Europe to absorb the history and culture of places central to European-American heritage. Seen as part of a young person’s education, the “Grand Tour” was often, like whaling voyages, a multi-year project intended to bring back riches for the family and community, albeit cultural and intellectual, rather than “greasy”.

Paul Mitchell, Jr., scion of a whaling merchant family who left the business, and his friend, painter William Swain, set out in 1841 for a tour of Europe, collecting scenes and objects to share the stories of their visit. They visited Pompeii, where Mitchell purchased this replica of one of the famous mosaics. In 1876 The Inquirer and Mirror reported his gift of the tiles to the Atheneum, which gave it, in the form of a long-term loan to the NHA. While it was made by the Giustiniani family of ceramic artists, active around Naples since the 6 th century AD, the Inky’s claim that it was “two hundred years old” seems unlikely, as the original was excavated in only 1824.
Cave Canem , ca. 1843
Giustiniani Family
Italian ceramic floor tiles, 55” x 56”
Lent by the Nantucket Atheneum
Original Cave Canem mosaic, ca AD 79
House of the Tragic Poet
Glass mosaic tiles 
(courtesy @PlanetPompeii, Twitter)

While on the same tour, William Swain began this sketch of a Greek soldier just before the Greek Revolution of 1863. You can see the artist thinking, through the marks made on the canvas in preparation for painting, and yet the man’s glance is thoughtful and penetrating. 

A Greek Soldier , ca. 1843
Oil and graphite on canvas
20 1/8” x 15 1/8”
Gift of Stuart and Sue Feld
NHA Historic Properties Did You Know?
Greater Light, Built ca. 1790, remodeled 1930, restored 2011

This large painting, attributed to Gertrude Monaghan, was brought back by Gertrude from her European travel scholarship studies. It shows the coast of Portugal at the Tagus River. The drays or two-wheeled wooden horse-drawn carts would bring bricks and lumber down to the wharf to be loaded on barges bound for Spain or other ports. The painting was hung in the Monaghan’s studio at Greater Light and is now part of the collection of Greater Light furnishings left to the NHA by Hanna Monaghan.
Historic Nantucket
Click image to open this issue!
What was Alfonso Hall?
By Frances Karttunen

The building once known as Alfonso Hall was built by Azorean immigrants to Nantucket in the 1890s on land between Cherry Street and Williams Street. Its original purpose was to house everything required to celebrate the feast of the Holy Spirit each June. This feast is profoundly important to Azorean identity.

Around 1300, Queen Isabel of Portugal promoted devotion to the Holy Spirit and is believed to have offered her crown in supplication for relief of a famine affecting Portugal. The feast is celebrated to this day in towns throughout the nine islands and has been carried across the seas by Azorean emigrants.

Photo : Alfonso Hall circa 1895, GPN4470.
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ACKtivity Kits for Kids
NEW! Multi-Lingual Craft Kit and Lesson Plans available.

Enhance at home learning by downloading historic house cut-outs, lighthouse coloring books, and a Nantucket word search.
NHA University is a weekly resource featuring videos, history topics, artifacts, transcription projects, and more. Intended to enrich at-home learning for all—coming to your inbox every Tuesday.

Attend NHA University online anytime
to catch up on past lessons, here .
During this difficult time, the NHA is pleased to share curated digital content weekly for the enrichment and enjoyment of our members and friends. Staff looks forward to welcoming you back to the Whaling Museum to enjoy an expansive array of exhibitions and programs once it is safe to open our doors.

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The NHA is closed to the public; this includes the Whaling Museum, Research Library, and Historic Properties.

All NHA public programs and events are cancelled for the foreseeable future.
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