Foggy Facts and Fiction on Nantucket
Nantucket History & People

Nantucket Legends: Foggy Facts and Fictions

Foggy Facts and Fiction on Nantucket The Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) is pleased to present Nantucket Legends: Foggy Facts and Fictions, the major 2013 exhibition examining some of the most curious stories of Nantucket’s past. Legends such as the first Nantucket Tea Party, R. H. Macy’s red star tattoo, Tony Sarg’s sea serpent hoax, the origin of roof walks on Nantucket houses, Folger’s Coffee and Nantucket Reds are explored in this new NHA exhibition. The exhibition opens Friday, April 26, 2013 in the Peter Foulger Gallery at the Whaling Museum, 13 Broad Street.

A walk down Main Street on a busy August afternoon will likely offer an overheard story about Nantucket’s history — a tale of the day a sea serpent visited the island, or how Main Street came to be paved with cobblestones. This summer, the NHA explores some of the colorful tales that are integral to how the island community understands its own history and presents a picture of Nantucket to the world.

“Legends are attractive – it’s how we think about the past and who we are,” says Ben Simons, NHA Robyn & John Davis Chief Curator. “The history of Nantucket is not just in books, it’s who we are and what we do,” says Sarah Parks, NHA Associate Curator. “In this exhibition, you take away not only information about Nantucket, but a different sense of the importance of your own stories; it’s the idea that whatever story you tell has meaning.”

Nantucket Legends: Foggy Facts and Fictions includes artifacts such as rarely-seen photographs and illustrations, newly digitized historic footage and playful, interactive museum elements. Visitors can learn about Nantucket’s key legends for the first time, or find out if the legends they’ve heard their entire lives are indeed fact or fiction.

Museum visitors will learn that it isn’t always possible to distinguish fact from fiction, but that stories told about the events, places, and people of Nantucket change over time to reflect the identity and interests of the storyteller. Whether fact, fiction, or something in between, these legends offer insight into Nantucket’s rich history.

Nantucket Legends: Foggy Facts and Fictions will be open to visitors from Friday, April 26, 2013 through November 15, 2013 and may be viewed during Whaling Museum hours. For more information on this exhibition or other programs and events at the Nantucket Historical Association, please visit or call 508-228-1894.

Articles by Date from 2012