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Tony Sarg at the Whaling Museum

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ACK Artists

Fisher Real Estate
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Organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in partnership with the Nantucket Historical Association, Tony Sarg: Genius at Play will go on display at the Nantucket Whaling Museum in 2024. This will be the first comprehensive exhibition exploring the life, art, and adventures of Tony Sarg. Sarg is known as the father of modern puppetry in North America and the originator of the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloons. He was an accomplished illustrator, animator, designer, and nimble entrepreneur who summered on Nantucket.

“Tony Sarg was such an important figure in American culture, and his work, unbeknownst to many, still impacts our arts and entertainment today. He was an especially popular character here on Nantucket and the NHA is proud to be the home for much of his collection. The idea for such a project began decades ago and we are grateful to the Norman Rockwell Museum and glad to be working with them, to bring this exciting exhibition to the island,” says Niles Parker, Gosnell Executive Director.

On view from May 24 through December 30, Genius at Play features original artwork, illustrations, marionettes, animations, books, commercial products, archival photographs, and ephemera from his dynamic life and career. Highlighting Sarg’s tremendous talent and legacy within the fields of puppetry and illustration, the exhibition also reveals how Nantucket’s historic sites and colorful characters came to inspire his work and the many ways that this influential artist gave back to the island he loved so much.

Additional exhibitions at two of the NHA’s historic properties expand upon themes found in the Whaling Museum’s installation of Genius at Play. A collection of Tony Sarg books and illustrations are featured in Sarg as Storyteller, at the Research Library’s Whitney Gallery, while the Map Gallery at Hadwen House hosts the exhibition Eye Spy: Playful Pictorial Maps from Tony Sarg and Others.


The NHA is offering a robust slate of gallery activities and public programs to support the exhibition. At the Whaling Museum, a free lecture series features talks by scholars and artists, while puppet-making and a Tony Sarg story time are being offered regularly in the children’s Discovery Center. These are joined by special community events, including a celebration commemorating Tony Sarg’s 1937 Nantucket Sea Monster hoax. Sarg’s creative talents are further explored through several Decorative Arts workshops; with decoupage under glass, puzzle blocks, bandboxes, and panel lampshades, being just a few offerings available to make Sarg-inspired projects.

To book your visit and learn more about museum hours, visit NHA.org.

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Fisher Real Estate