59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

The Art of the Hunt: Decoys

April 14 - December 23, 2017

Before the Cape Cod Canal opened in 1914, captains of vessels traveling between New York and Boston had no choice but to navigate the hazardous waters around the curled arm of Cape Cod. Whether they decided to take the open-sea route east of Nantucket or steer their ships through the Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds, this “graveyard of the Atlantic” was the most dangerous part of the coastal voyage.

It is impossible to be certain how many ships have been lost in this area so fraught with shoals and reefs, dense fog, and strong currents. More than one hundred wrecks are known to have occurred around Martha’s Vineyard alone, almost all from the 1800s and 1900s. Who knows how many more lie forgotten and unaccounted for on the sea floor?

This exhibition will explore the fascinating and often tragic stories behind some of these ill-fated voyages, brought to life by photos, paintings and wreckage that has washed ashore. Visitors will discover why these wrecks occurred, and learn what underwater exploration is telling us about the relics that still remain on the sea floor.