The Nantucket Whaling Museum, with its rooftop observation deck overlooking the island’s harbor where whaling ships once lined the quays like cordwood, was originally a spermaceti candle factory in 1847, heyday of the whaling industry. Now closed for an extensive renovation, the museum will reopen in June for its 75th-anniversary celebration.
The museum features an extensive scrimshaw collection, a vintage 36-foot whaleboat, and all the attendant tools of that grisly but fascinating trade. Perhaps most intriguing, the museum now includes the whale itself: a 46-foot sperm whale skeleton reassembled from a carcass found on the island’s Low Beach in 1997. The diving whale hangs from the ceiling in the museum’s newly upgraded Gosnell Hall.