Maria Mitchell’s 202 Birthday

Saturday, August 1st marks Maria Mitchell’s 202nd birthday.  Sadly, this year, we cannot have our annual open house with activities, live music, special guests, and refreshments.  We are deeply saddened to not see all of your faces but I know that Maria is much happier to have everyone safe.

Please help us celebrate this week – we will be posting some fun facts about Maria and the MMA on social media and we would love you to share it with your friends so we can continue to spread Maria’s legacy even further.  Island Kitchen will also be creating a Maria Mitchell flavor for the week so please go get a cone at Nantucket Pharmacy or Island Kitchen during the week and support a local business that has done a lot to support the island – especially during this pandemic.  The MMA is not making a profit off of the ice cream – but it would be nice if you made a donation to help us – especially at this difficult time.

And, happily – we are offering limited programs so please take a look and sign up.  We had to wait for Phase Three from Massachusetts since we are a museum but we do have some new activities and some old favorites – with masks and social distancing required – all just in time for Maria’s 2020!


Maria Mitchell In Her Own Words

1873, July 21 Cambridge.  We took an exceedingly hot day for a visit to      Cambridge. . . . Cambridge is beautiful – but it has no trees except those in parks . . . One thing is certain, Girton College has sat itself down before the University of Cambridge in siege and the little woman Miss Davies has obtained a quiet power that is very effective . . .

This second European trip, Maria made in the summer of 19873 with her sister Phebe Mitchell Kendall, her husband Joshua, and their son William Mitchell Kendall. Girton was the first residential college for women in the United Kingdom and had opened just about four years before Maria visited.  Davies was its founder.  But coming from the second oldest women’s college in the United States, and with her lifelong push for women in education and also women’s equality, this was a must on her return trip to Europe.  What I like best about her comment is that of Girton being plopped right in front of Cambridge as if thumbing – or perhaps really thumbing – its nose at a centuries old institution where only men could be educated.  Cambridge did not formally allow women to receive degrees until 1947.  By her comments, it seems to have pleased MM as well.

For more about Girton College, visit:

And – make sure you stop by the MMA tomorrow from 1-4PM where we will be celebrating Maria Mitchell’s 199th Birthday (and yes, we are gearing up for number 200!) with activities, period inspired music, a falconry demonstration, activities, and refreshments!  All of our properties will be open for FREE.  Everyone is welcome!


Today Is Maria Mitchell’s 198th Birthday! Where Will You Be Today?

You should be on Vestal Street from 1-4PM.

An annual event pretty much since our doors officially opened in 1903, Maria Mitchell’s birthday has always been marked in some way and the annual open house – with the closure of lower Vestal Street and science and astronomy related activities – has been a “norm” around here for at least half a century.

All of the MMA properties are free and open to the public on Vestal Street – including the Aquarium at 28 Washington Street – from 1-4PM on August 1. In a nod to our birthday celebrations of old, we will have live period inspired music which will include sea chanties, a birds of prey demonstration starting at about 2:15, science and astronomy related activities for adults and children, live animal displays, and good old fashioned refreshment – our punch recipe that has not been made in about 20 years (if you were looking for limeade at the grocery store, I cleaned that out for the punch!)!

So come stop by, say hello, visit us for your first time or your 100th. This is our way of celebrating Maria and YOU our supporters and friends!