Exhibit at the Nantucket Whaling Museum chronicles the story of the whale that fought back.
A new Ron Howard movie, In the Heart of the Sea, starring heartthrob Chris Hemsworth (People Magazine’s 2014 Sexiest Man Alive) is scheduled for release on December 11, 2015. The thriller is based on the true story of the sinking of the Nantucket-based whaleship Essex, which inspired Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick.
Tied to the film’s release, the Nantucket Whaling Museum has created Stove by a Whale: 20 Men, 3 Boats, 96 Days, an impressive installation recounting the tragic stories of the men who survived and those who lost their lives when the ship was attacked by a sperm whale in 1820.
The high-tech, interactive exhibit features murals, paintings, electronic displays, and historic artifacts (such as logbooks) that allow visitors to follow the destinies of the sailors aboard the whaler as they sailed thousands of miles across the Pacific with limited food and water. The family-friendly displays include a recreated life-size whaleboat that visitors can sit in, as well as props and costumes from the film set on loan from Warner Bros. Pictures.
Operating under the auspices of the Nantucket Historic Association (NHA) and housed in a building that was once a candle factory, the small museum pays homage to the island’s economic and cultural ties to the whaling industry. A huge sperm whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling dominates Gosnell Hall, the contemporary atrium of the multi-level building. Here visitors can view a 50-minute film by Ric Burns showcasing the transformation of the island from the whaling capital of the world to a summer resort and art colony.
The museum also displays crafts associated with the lives of whalers including intricate scrimshaw carvings and woven lightship baskets. Winding stairs lead to a widow’s walk on the rooftop offering panoramic views of Nantucket Harbor and the quaint town’s cobblestone streets.
“Nantucket is the ‘home’ of the story and the home of Nathaniel Philbrick, author of the best-selling non-fiction book In the Heart of the Sea, upon which the movie is based,” says Bill Tramposch, Executive Director of the NHA.
IF YOU GO
Whaling Museum, 13 Broad Street, Nantucket 508 228-1894
Closed on Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day (call for hours)
Stove by a Whale: 20 Men, 3 Boats, 96 Days will remain open until December 2016.
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