The Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum presents its 19 year of exhibiting antique and contemporary baskets. Their 2019 exhibit, which opens Friday, May 17, charts the change of the Nantucket lightship basket from a utilitarian object to a fashion icon and beyond. We explore how José Reyes’ invention of the “Friendship Purse” opened the door for the countless innovations that define lightship basket making today.
In addition to works by Reyes, this exhibit features examples of lightship baskets that have pushed the boundaries of traditional forms, usage, and materials, yet retain the basic elements of the craft. There are about one hundred baskets on display, representing past and contemporary Nantucket basket makers, each providing a unique interpretation of what a lightship basket can be.
“Innovation is the hallmark of basket making today and what keeps the craft alive and vibrant on Nantucket,” said Andrea Wulffleff, Executive Director. “This exhibit is designed to showcase new ideas and serve as an inspiration for the next innovation.”
In addition to the exhibit, which changes annually, the museum offers Thursday morning lectures, a year-round weaving program for children and, new this year, adult classes on Monday afternoons.
The Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the awareness and appreciation of lightship baskets and their makers, by educating and engaging the public about the complexity of this art form unique to Nantucket and placing it within a broader context of related crafts. The museum is dedicated to preserving Nantucket’s rich history of basket making by exhibiting historic and contemporary baskets, providing a permanent home for lightship baskets, supporting scholarship of this art form, and encouraging and mentoring new generations of lightship basket makers.