Visiting Family History

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One of my favorite things to do is take someone to an artifact that has personal meaning to them and watch their face light up as they see the piece and reminisce about it and their family history.  Very recently this happened (although to another co-worker this time) as we had a woman come in looking for two carvings her grandfather, William Geggie, had done.

Thankfully a staff member was able to direct her to where they are displayed in our business entrance and we were able to send her more information about the pieces and her grandfather.  The museum hired Geggie to carve these pieces in 1957 to compliment a couple of our figureheads that were being displayed at the front of the museum.  Working full time, he was able to complete them in four months.   Read more

Artifacts on the Move!

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Entrance to the Museum

Recently I had the good fortune of being in the Boston area and was able to visit some of our artifacts currently on loan to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.  Their exhibition, Ocean Liners:  Glamour, Speed, and Style is open from now until October 9, after which it will be traveling to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  We loaned them a number of fantastic pieces, including some that are quite large.

In the second room, seen in the picture above, the engineering of these mighty ships was discussed and two of our artifacts were included.  The first is the piece hanging from the ceiling, a towing tank model of SS United States.  This model was tested in the U.S. Navy’s David W. Taylor Model Basin at Bethesda, Maryland in 1946.  The other piece is the cream-colored half model on the wall to the right.  It doesn’t look like much in this photo, but it is a 21′ plating model for SS United States, made in 1949.   Read more

Spanish Rapiers

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Recently we had to pull several weapons to photography, including several that are on display.  For four of them, three rapiers and a sword, this was the first time any of us were able to get up close to them as they have been on display in Age of Exploration since the early 90’s.  The three rapiers are attributed as Spanish, but one of our curator’s has pointed out that this is most likely inaccurate.

This first one is a  composite rapier with tapering blade, iron hilt, comprising vertically recurved quillons, arms, and a pair of asymmetrical shells framed by a double ring, knuckle guards, globular pommel and later wire bound wooden handle, ca 1600’s.  Its origin is unknown though, and we haven’t found any markings to give us any clues.   Read more

Reopening of the Ship Models

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Photographed by Brock Switzer

Our large ship models, previously displayed in our Great Hall, have always been popular.  Back in January we had to close access to them in the process of changing out two major galleries.  They were moved to a different space and I’m happy to report that the gallery is open and the models back on view!  We’ve also added a few models to show a broader range of what we hold in the collection.  This includes two steamboats, a fire boat, battleship, and sailing vessel.  And we’ve also got Speed and Innovation in the America’s Cup opening May 27 in the space where the models used to live.  So come on in and check it out!

A Night to Remember

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Photographed by Brock Switzer

The sinking of RMS Titanic was a horrible disaster that continues to capture the imagination of people everywhere and has inspired many movies, including A Night to Remember.

A Night to Remember was released in 1958 and was (and still is) regarded highly for its accuracy in portraying the actual event.  The story is told from the view point of the passengers and crew, especially Second Officer Charles Lightoller, played by Kenneth More.  Lightoller was the most senior member of Titanic’s crew to survive.   Read more