Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum

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Sailors and Their Craft
An unusual and unique part of Nantucket’s maritime history belongs to the Lightship. These ships functioned as floating lighthouses moving strategically to provide critical light to ships in dark waters. As the crew found extra time on their hands, they tried the craft of basket making. The wooden bases were made on shore and the weaving took place once on board.

Lightship baskets are unique to the island of Nantucket. These artisan objects are regarded as prized collectors pieces and can command upwards of $5,000!  The Museum exhibits and documents a wide range of Lightship Baskets from the earliest forms created in the 1850s to present-day creations. This important piece of Nantucket’s historic heritage is well represented here and you’ll find beautiful examples of the craft by talented artists on the island with loyal followings.

The ships remained active in their lighthouse duties through the early 1900’s although the government decided the sailors were “moonlighting” by making the baskets and it was no longer allowed while on duty. Basket making at that time returned to Nantucket and there are several artists on the island with loyal patrons supporting the art form.
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49 Union St, Nantucket, MA 02554, USA
+1 508-228-1177
Tue - Sat 10am - 4:30pm