Nantucket Legends

Foggy Facts and Fictions

Walk down Main Street on a busy August afternoon, and you’ll likely overhear someone telling a 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 Nantucket Historical Association will explore some of the tales—those rooted in documented history and those of fantasy—that are integral to how the island community understands its history and presents Nantucket to the world. Nantucket Legends: Foggy Facts and Fictions will take a close look at some of Nantucket’s colorful stories, including the first Nantucket tea party, R. H. Macy’s red star tattoo, Tony Sarg’s sea serpent hoax, and the origin of roof walks on Nantucket houses, Folger’s Coffee, and Nantucket Reds. Visitors to the exhibit 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.

The Nantucket Historical Association preserves and interprets the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, in order to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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