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
|Creating Amity Island
|March 25, 2023
|March 24, 2024
|Saltzman Cabinet of Curiosities