The Robert Caldwell Collection

The Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum’s permanent collection is due largely to the vision of Robert Caldwell, who returned home to Nantucket after serving on board the United States Coast Guard Cutter Spencer during World War II. Deeply affected by his personal experience and intrigued by stories of the Coast Guard and its roots, Caldwell began collecting objects related to Nantucket's history of shipwrecks, life-saving and rescues. In 1967, he donated his collection and a piece of his property for what was to become the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum.

The Robert Caldwell Collection presented in the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum today is dedicated to the memory of James F. Davis Jr., a friend and fellow Coastguardsman, who perished when his ship, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba, was sunk while performing convoy escort duty in the Davis Strait during World War II.