Nantucketers and Their Boats


Send us a photo or digital image of your Nantucket boating adventures and we’ll include it in a digital gallery at the exhibition.

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Mary and Austin Strong on their Catboat
Mary Strong at the helm of her catboat, the Light, with her husband, Austin Strong. They were devoted to sailing education for children and were among the founders of the Wharf Rat Club.

Nantucketers and Their Boats, the Nantucket Historical Association’s major summer exhibition for 2018, is an exploration of the ways islanders rely on the water for work, recreation, and connection to the broader world. The exhibit will featuring stories from both year-round and seasonal residents, and will include an exciting range of models, racing trophies, fishing gear, summer souvenirs, toys, artwork, and even a boat or two.

The centerpiece of the gallery will be the spectacular ca. 1925 racing catboat Monomoy, built on Nantucket by Stanley Butler, which will tell the story of the island’s historic working and recreational catboat fleets. Around this boat, the exhibit will be organized into four broad themes:

Connecting: Stories of the ferryboats past and present that connect Nantucket to points near and far. Connecting will feature artwork and memorabilia from historic island steamers, plus uniforms and equipment from today’s high-speed ferries.

Building: Stories of where our boats come from, and why we need different ones for different purposes.  Building will feature the mold frames for a Haven 12-1/2 sailboat.

Recreation:  Stories of having fun on the water, both under power and under sail. Recreation will feature a “spotter’s guide” to the boats we see in the harbor every summer, from sleek sail racers to elegant motor cruisers to the practical little prams used to teach children to sail.

Fishing: Stories of Nantucketers working on the water. Fishing by boat has always been an important Nantucket activity, providing income to year-round residents and fine seafood to the hungry masses. Fishing will feature an array of specialized gear needed to catch different kinds of critters in different kinds of boats.

The mission of the Nantucket Historical Association is to tell the inspiring stories of Nantucket through its collections, programs, and properties.

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