The Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) was formed in 1902 to preserve the legacy of Nantucket-born astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator Maria Mitchell. Following the discovery of a comet in 1847, Mitchell's international fame led to many accomplishments and awards, including being appointed the first American professor of astronomy at Vassar College. Maria Mitchell believed in “learning by doing,” and today that philosophy is reflected in the VMA's mission, programs, research projects, and other activities.
The Marian Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural history museum, an aquarium, a research center, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A variety of science and history programs are offered year-round for people of all ages.