Nantucket Shipwreck Museum to Open with Rescue Exhibit

Courtesy of the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum.

NANTUCKET – A new exhibit at the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum will recount a historic wreck and rescue off the island.

Nearly 170 years ago, Nantucket residents rescued 226 Irish immigrants who were passengers on the vessel British Queen.

In December of 1851, the ship was blown off course as it traveled to New York City and had gone aground during a blizzard in cold, shallow water about 12 miles from Nantucket Harbor.

A fire-watchman spotted the ship in distress from a church tower and mariners sprung to action to save all on board, including families with children.

Opening in late May and running through Columbus Day, the British Queen exhibit features first-hand accounts of the shipwreck, newspaper reports and stories of the Irish immigrant experience.

The exhibit includes graphic depictions, a brief documentary film, details with illustrations of how rescuers saved those stranded, and how Nantucket residents welcomed and cared for the passengers.

The museum opens for the season on May 25.

For museum hours and admission pricing, visit

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