Founded in 1922, Martha's Vineyard Museum is comprised of several buildings including the historic ca. 1740s Cooke House, the Pease House which contains exhibit gallery space, the Carriage shed which features vessels, vehicles and a whale boat, and the Gale Huntington Research Library & Archives. There is also the large Fresnel lens used in the Gay Head Lighthouse from 1854-1951 and an 1900s anchor. The museum is dedicated solely to Martha's Vineyard's history and this is reflected in the collection, which includes fine art, photographs, furniture, textiles and scrimshaw. The museum is also the caretaker of the above-mentioned Gay Head Lighthouse, the Edgartown Lighthouse, and the East Chop Lighthouse (all three are listed on the National Register of Historic Places). The library and archives houses thousands of books and images, and numerous other materials such as logbooks, newspapers, maritime records, Revolutionary War documents, Native American artifacts, maps and nautical charts.
The museum was founded as the Dukes County Historical Society. It changed its name to Martha's Vineyard Historical Society in 1996 to reflect its emphasis on the Martha's Vineyard. It adopted the current name in 2006 to reflect its mission and collections.