Jaws: Creating Amity Island

In the spring of 1974, Hollywood descended on the Island. Universal Studios had bought the film rights to the book Jaws and the film’s director, a young Steven Spielberg, was determined to shoot on location. Martha’s Vineyard had been cast in a critical role — Amity Island, a fictional beach community terrorized by a great white shark. As the cameras started to roll, Islanders shaped the production both behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera — they wrangled boats, built sets, and acted as extras and supporting cast members.

In this mini-exhibit, a teaser to our 50th-anniversary exhibition in 2025, explore a unique perspective on the film that ushered in the age of “summer blockbusters” and created nationwide interest in Martha’s Vineyard. The exhibit features behind-the-scenes photos, including those taken by Vineyard Gazette photographer Edith Blake, as well as collectibles, ranging from original Jaws merchandise and a poster from the Island premiere of the film to a detailed model of the Orca, the fishing boat on which the third act of the film takes place.

Photos by Edith Blake


Subtitle Creating Amity Island
From March 25, 2023
To March 24, 2024
Location Saltzman Cabinet of Curiosities
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