NantucketA Film by Ric Burns

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In July 2011, the Nantucket Historical Association unveiled an original short film showcasing Nantucket’s natural beauty and its significant role in global history.  Written and produced by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Ric Burns, Nantucket serves as a transformative gateway experience for today’s island visitor.  It chronicles the vibrancy of Nantucket’s history, from its original Wampanoag Native American population and early Quaker culture to its international significance as the whaling capital of the world and eventual rebirth as an art and resort colony. 

Made exclusively for the NHA in distinctive Burns style, NHA Executive Director William Tramposch notes that “Ric Burns weaves the story of this ‘elbow of sand’, so those legions who see it at the Whaling Museum will know that this is not just another sandbar in the sea, that this place has international historic ramifications.  The film catapults viewers into our town armed with a greater sense of why this entire island is now a National Historic Landmark.”

Nantucket DVDs are on sale online at the NHA Museum Shop.

The film is narrated by actor Robert Sean Leonard who is most recently known for his role on FOX's hit series "House" and has appeared in classic films including "Dead Poets Society", "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" with Paul Newman. He has lent his soothing voice to other films, including Burns' "Into the Deep".

Nantucket includes commentary by historians, islanders, and writers including New York Times best-selling author Nathaniel Philbrick, all of whom share personal stories and unique island insight. 

On the evening of Friday July 1, to celebrate the official premiere of the film, the NHA hosted a magical once-in-a-lifetime community event at Nantucket's Children's Beach. All were invited to a free afternoon of family activities, crafts, games, community art projects, trivia, photo booths, live music, face-painting and more. As the sun went down, the crowd became a part of Nantucket history as they enjoyed the first public screening of this film on a large outdoor screen under the stars, all for free.

This 51-minute film is now being shown at the Whaling Museum throughout the summer and beyond. Please view the NHA calendar for specific times.