As part of the Island People: Portraits and Stories from Nantucket exhibition at the Whaling Museum, the NHA has kept the holographic Spirits Within Us exhibit in place for another season.
Life on remote, windswept Nantucket has always fostered extraordinary women. Intelligent, educated, passionate, and brave, they took on difficult issues involving anti-slavery, women’s rights, suffrage, and times of war. Despite obstacles, they each assumed roles and attitudes that were not common for women of their time.
Bringing just a few representatives of this remarkable group back to life to meet our visitors., they’ll tell you in their own words about their remarkable lives and the people they knew who inspired them.
Healer and Peacemaker
as told by Charlotte Baxter Starbuck (1853–1927)
portrayed by Sarah Fraunfelder
Mary Coffin Starbuck (1645–1717)
portrayed by Alexandra Kopko
Superior Woman or Traitor?
Kezia Folger Coffin (1723–1798)
portrayed by Cynthia Csabay
Agitator for Justice for All
Eliza Starbuck Barney (1802–1889)
portrayed by Pam Murphy
Journalist and Adventurer
Susan Austin Veeder (1816–1897)
portrayed by Casey Sayre Boukus
Activist for Equal Education for All
Anna Gardner (1816–1901)
portrayed by Eve D. Messing
with Eunice Ross (1824–1895)
portrayed by Morgan Smith-Jones
From the NHA Collections
The exhibit scene is set with select objects from the NHA Collections, most notably a chair that was part of a set brought to Nantucket prior to the American Revolution by Captain John Coffin (1708–1788), Kezia Folger Coffin’s husband. The chair was bequeathed to their daughter Kezia Coffin Fanning (1759–1820) and her husband Phineas (1750–1798).
Come to the Whaling Museum and hear Kezia Folger Coffin tell you the story of the chair.
Chippendale splat back side chair
Bequest of Frank B. Howard, 1952.173.1
Conceived, spirited, and produced by
Creative development and screenplay
Mary Novissimo, Novation Media
Visual effects and holographic environment
Al Novissimo, Novation Media
Casting and direction
Justin Cerne, Theatre Workshop of Nantucket
Casey Sayre Boukus
Dee White and Catie O’Connor, Nantucket Community Television
Construction and staging assistance
Ed Rudd, Manny Sylvia, Mark Delay, and Kathrina Marques
Banner photo by
Special thanks for research by
Susan Boardman, Jascin Leonardo Finger, Peggi Godwin, Kate Hamilton, Michael Harrison, Nathaniel Philbrick, Betsy Tyler, Barbara Ann White, and the Manuscript Collections of the Nantucket Historical Association