April Artifact of the Month – Baseball Series

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Baseball autographed by Yogi Berra. Courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum.
Baseball autographed by Yogi Berra. Courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum.

In honor of America’s pastime and the recent start of the baseball season, this month’s artifact is a collection of baseballs from here at The Mariners’ Museum. There are currently three here at the museum with one on display and two that are not on display, and hidden in the hold. While a baseball does not sound like something that would usually be present at a maritime museum, these all have provenance that legitimizes their right to be here.

The two baseballs that are not on display were owned by William Frances Gibbs, a naval architect most well known for his design of  SS United States. Along with his brother Frederic, Gibbs designed 1,000 foot ocean liners and eventually began producing the ships in the early 1900’s after encouragement from the Navy and with the funding of J.P. Morgan. The brothers produced designs for ships from their naval architecture firm, Gibbs & Cox, and produced plans for thousands of ships during World War II. The baseballs themselves were the personal property of William Gibbs and were included with a number of other personal items that were accessioned into the collection.   Read more

Go Figure! (-Galatea)

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Figurehead of Galatea, sea nymph.
Figurehead of Galatea, sea nymph.

This week in “Go Figure!” I have selected a figurehead with a little bit of history and mythology! As far as her background, we have two versions of her history but for the most part we have a good idea about where she came from. In terms of mythology, there is also two versions of the story that she is associated with and I will share both.

Captain Yngve Eiserman told “The Cape Argus,” Cape Town Africa that she came from a clipper ship Galatea. She was originally an American ship but then was bought by Germans. In 1882, she was battered in a storm and was taken to Cape Town for repairs. From here, the damages were too expensive to fix and the ship was condemned. The figurehead we have today was saved by a Mr. Stevens and was then purchased by Charles Bleach. Bleach displayed the sea nymph figurehead at a hotel until it was moved to the South Africa Museum for safe keeping.   Read more

Chesapeake Bay Gallery Update

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not much clearance lifting it out of the gallery
not much clearance lifting it out of the gallery

Last week we finished moving artifacts out of the Chesapeake Bay Gallery, which now looks very empty! Hampton Roads Crane and Rigging helped us move out the last two large objects, a Coast Guard buoy and an engine.

First to come out was our 7X15 lighted Coast Guard Buoy from 1952. As it stood in the gallery it almost touched the ceiling, so getting it out was rather interesting because there was not much space to work with. Luckily, the top comes off. It is now outside in front of our business entrance for everyone (including confused joggers) to enjoy.
   Read more

Go Figure! (-Empire Lady)

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"Empire Lady" Figurehead
“Empire Lady” Figurehead

Hey everyone! For this week’s “Go Figure!” post I have chosen a 1700 French figurehead.  This particular one came to us in in 1936 and was donated by Admiral Chambers. She has an interesting story so I thought it was worth a post!

This figure head is a full figured white sculpture of a young girl walking.  A ‘walking-style’ figurehead was something that was very popular in the 18th century, making this style cutting edge for her time. Furthermore, when taking a closer look at the girl’s face, you can see that she has dimples, leading us to believe that she was based on a real person. She is wearing an empire-style of dress, thus her name.   Read more

Go Figure! (-Lady Edmont)

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Figurehead of Lady Edmonton.
Figurehead of Lady Edmonton.

Hey there! This weeks post for “Go Figure!” features a beautifully carved woman in ornate clothing, named Lady Edmonton. I like this one because of the wood’s detail and the colors used in her clothing. She has swept back hair, strong eyes and blushed cheeks. She is wearing an ornate necklace and a gold crown paired with a blue cape which has delicate gold details. Even though there has been heavy research conducted on Lady Edmonton, we finally concluded that she is in fact.. not a real person. It was decided that she was created to symbolize the bark Edmonton

As I was researching in our records, I came across several other figureheads what were strikingly similar to Lady Edmonton. To make matters confusing, I came across a Lady Edinburgh who was VERY similar, and their names just threw me off even more.  However, through careful reading I figured out that this style of women is very typical of the work done by carvers.   Read more