A View Outside The Hold Of Our Ship…..Actually, Outside Our Collections Office

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A beautiful Autumn afternoon view outside our Collections Offices.
A beautiful Autumn afternoon view outside our Collections Office.

Being a Collections staffer means you spend a large part of your day indoors and inside windowless rooms.  Just as the wrong kind of light can damage artifacts in the galleries, it can also affect items as we are working with them in our offices and prep areas.   So any objects being cataloged, researched, cleaned, moved, numbered, etc.,  have to be protected from damaging light, no matter where they are in the museum.

All our storage areas and workrooms stay dark unless we need to access them.  And of course, no windows.  Research has shown that even limited amounts of light can have a cumulative effect on some types of artifacts.  So we store those objects in cabinets and boxes to help minimize exposure.  All the light tubes and bulbs are also covered with UV filters.   Read more

A True Tale of Loss, Return and Thanks

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Welcome back Blackfish Dart, object number WH 38!!   Returning to the museum after a 58 year vacation that had you traveling from Newport News, Virginia to Tennessee and then back again!!!

In 1957, WH 38 left the museum by hiding in the pants pocket of a young boy who visited the facility with a scouting group. The child accomplice assisted the dart’s escape by removing the piece from a display. In those days, the museum exhibits consisted of items spread across tables and pieces of plywood that were held up by wooden sawhorses. So escape was easy, and in the case of a number of artifacts, inevitable.   Read more

A Valentine For Our Readers

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A bit of Valentine’s Day fun for this blog post which looks at artifacts in our collection that are cataloged with the words valentine, love, darling, chocolate, candy,  kiss and heart in either the name or description fields in our collections database.

VALENTINE   Read more

December 31, 1862

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On this day in 1862, the U.S.S. Monitor slipped beneath the waves off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina during a storm. Sixteen of the sixty two crewmembers were lost that night. The men rescued by the U.S.S. Rhode Island would face the New Year with their thoughts on those swept off the deck by the ferocious waves and the men trapped inside the ironclad as she sank.

Staff here at the museum will have the Monitor’s crew in their thoughts today. Emails and conversations between friends and colleagues will inevitably mention them. So will some newspapers, Facebook pages and twitter posts. Many of us will stop by the Conservation Lab’s observation deck and look down at the large artifacts undergoing treatment in their water filled tanks. The engine, condenser, cannons, cannon carriages and the turret where the skeletons of two men were found. While still unidentified, these men now rest at Arlington National Cemetery and forensic reconstructions of their skulls are sitting not far from the pieces of their beloved ship. All mute reminders that accidents at sea have claimed,  and still continue to claim lives.   Read more

Something New, Historic and Fun

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One of the latest additions to our collection is a toy which offers a unique view of the Civil War.  It’s a game, a history lesson, a home theater and a farce, all at the same time.  So let me introduce “The Myriopticon, A Historical Panorama of The Rebellion”, its famous creator and how it all came about.

The creator of the Myriopticon was Milton Bradley.  The same man whose name would become synonymous with popular games like Candyland, Twister, Operation, Jenga, Battleship and Yatzee, just to name a few.   Read more