Collecting Nantucket / Connecting the World
Collecting Nantucket / Connecting the World celebrates 125 years of collecting by the Nantucket Historical Association and presents the best the association has to offer in paintings, craft, and folk arts. The island of Nantucket, 25 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, is well known for its whaling heritage and New England seaport atmosphere, and for more than 150 years it has been famous as a summer holiday destination as well. The many threads that make up the island’s extraordinary history meet in the association’s collections, which are reflected in the exhibit by spectacular examples of sailors’ scrimshaw, journals from captain’s wives, and art inspired by the whale hunt and sea journeys to the far side of the world. The island’s diverse people, from Native Wampanoag sailors and English settlers to African American businessmen and colorful sea captains, find pride of place in a selection of portraits by such artists as Gilbert Stuart, Eastman Johnson, Elizabeth R. Coffin, Spoilum, and James Hathaway. The association is also pleased, during the 200th birthday year of Herman Melville, to be displaying the only surviving relics from the 1820 tragedy of the whaleship Essex, whose destruction by an angry whale inspired key aspects of Moby-Dick.