New Holographic Experience: Opens at the Nantucket Whaling Museum on May 29

Life in Nantucket, secluded and windswept, has always favored extraordinary women. Intelligent, educated, passionate and courageous, they tackled difficult issues concerning the fight against slavery, women’s rights, the right to vote and times of war. Despite the obstacles, they each assumed roles and attitudes that were not common to women of their time.

Today, holographic technology has enabled the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) to bring seven representatives of this remarkable group of women to life to meet visitors at a permanent facility at the Whaling Museum. Spirits in us, a new holographic experience and an interactive exhibit are part of the expanded exhibit titled The road to abolition by suffrage in the Williams Forsyth Gallery. Hearing these women explain in their own words the stories of their remarkable lives and the people they knew who inspired them brings a new dimension to understanding how they saw their place in Nantucket history.

  • Selected spirits include:
    Wonoma (1600s), narrated by poet Charlotte Baxter Starbuck (1853–1927), performed by Sarah Fraunfelder.
  • Mary Coffin Starbuck (1645–1717), portrayed by Alexandra Kopko.
  • Coffin by Kezia Folger (1723–1798), performed by Cynthia Csabay.
  • Eliza Starbuck Barney (1802–1889), portrayed by Pam Murphy.
  • Susan Austin Veeder (1816–1897), portrayed by Casey Sayre Boukas.
  • Anna Gardner, (1816–1901), portrayed by Eve D. Messing, with Eunice Ross (1824–1895), portrayed by Morgan Smith-Jones.

This project began in late 2019 when the NHA chartered Al and Mary Novissimo from Novation Media, studying the feasibility and developing a historic concept to exploit the use of holographic technology at an NHA property. Mary Novissimo explains, “We were excited to use this unique technology as a powerful tool to tell the stories of Nantucket in a more compelling and immersive way. Inspired by regularly edited live performances by NHA performers at the Whaling Museum, we chose The Amazing Women of Nantucket as our theme. After technically identifying how and where we could stage the exhibit and preparing a script for our distribution, we reached out to other qualified colleagues from the Nantucket community who could complement our efforts to enrich the experience.

This led to a momentous collaboration in 2021 with the Theater Workshop of Nantucket (TWN) to select and work with community actors and dress them appropriately for their time. Nantucket Community Television (NCTV) joined the collaboration by filming the performances in their green screen studio, essential in creating holographic effects.

Justin Cerne, artistic director of production for TWN, notes: “I am absolutely delighted with the creative collaboration that has taken place with the NHA and TWN. Working together to tell the stories of such amazing women is not just a natural couple, it has produced incredible work. We are honored to play a part in telling these stories, struggles and inspiration that we continue to build on today. I remain truly in awe of what is happening on our magical island and grateful for all the talents involved in making this experience a reality.

The NHA especially thanks the Novissimos, who designed, animated and produced this entire holographic experience. Additional thanks to Justin Cerne, TWN, for casting and directing, Casey Sayre Boukus for the inspired costumes, NCTV’s Dee White and Catie O’Connor for the green screen videography, and Jeffrey Allen for the photography of exposure.

The featured exhibition, The road to abolition by suffrage, which opened in summer 2020, will reopen with exciting new additions and this interactive holographic on Saturday, May 29. in the form of exhibits showcasing the NHL’s decorative arts collection and an exceptional map spanning over 100 years.

Book a visit to the Whaling Museum on today to enjoy all the new 2021 experiences.

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