Sponsor’s Box HMS Warspite

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Recently I was browsing a book about wooden tools when I came across a beautiful sponsor’s box from a ship with an intricately carved mallet inside.  I was very impressed!  Then Jeanne showed me the sponsor’s box we had in our collection and I was even more impressed.  It is so satisfying to see such an awesome object and then realize we have one that’s even better!  Hooray for our amazing collection!

This type of box was used to contain the mallet and chisel used to help launch a ship and was then presented to the sponsor of the ship.  In the case of our box, which came from HMS Warspite, the sponsor was Ivy Muriel Chamberlain (née Dundas), wife of British politician Sir Austen Chamberlain.  Pictures of her can be seen HERE.

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Way Back Wednesday

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Conquering the Wild being prepared for shipment from NJ to TMM, 1934 (4)

For those who are familiar with our park, they may recognize this statue as Conquering the Wild.  It sits on Monument Hill, just past the Lion’s bridge.  This series of photos shows the statue in 1934 when it was still in New Jersey being prepared for transport to Newport News.

The statue was created in 1930 by Anna Hyatt Huntington, who designed it to be a tribute to Collis Potter Huntington. Collis brought the railroad and shipyard to Newport News, which gave it the resources needed to grow into the city it is now.

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Do you have an 18th century pencil we can borrow?

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Why yes, yes we do!

This is the question we received about a year or so ago from the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation.  Part of the material that came from the Ronson ship (you can read more about that here and here), is an 18th century pencil, which really had not been looked at closely until this point.

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That’s one way to stop traffic

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Courtesy of The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 22 July 1941
Courtesy of The Bee (Danville, Virginia), 22 July 1941

Researching our objects is not only interesting, but can often lead to rather funny stories.  Take for example a small news clip Cindi found the other day about one of our anchors.

That must have been quite a sight for motorists that day!  After finding this article, we were able to match it to our anchor DA 63, an Admiralty Anchor with a wooden stock ca 1850.  It was a gift of Southland Iron and Metal Company.  Thankfully it made its way to the museum after the incident and doesn’t appear to have been much worse for the wear.

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Additions to the Collection

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Back in the early days of the museum, we received numerous donations of posters from steamship companies, recruiting stations, the shipyard, etc.  We would put one or two of these into the collection and the rest have been sitting around since.  We still have a pile that was never completely cataloged and from time to time (when we have a spare moment) we go through it to see what should be added to the collection and what is duplicate material.  I was moving the pile the other day and came across two beautiful WWI posters that are now going to be added to the collection.

This first poster is from 1917 and was done by artist Henry Reuterdahl (1871-1925), who was born in Malmo, Sweden and emigrated to the United States as a boy.  In 1917 he became a lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve Force (hence his signature followed by USNRF).  This seems to be one of his most famous pieces and is quite interesting.  It shows an American sailor embracing one from Britain.  To the American’s left are sailors from Japan and France, and to the right from Russia and Italy.

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