Way Back Wednesdays

Posted on
Dec 1958, Christmas exhibition in main room

Christmas display in the main exhibition room, December 1958.  At the top of the display, above the Guiding Star nameboard is a decorative piece from SS Deutschland and is very possibly from the main dining room.  The figurehead to the left is a Native American, probably from a British ship of the early 19th century.

View from January of 1937 showing our shipmodel building shop with two of our builders, John Bader (left) and Tilford Crandol (right).  It’s great to see all of the models and half models around the room and on the wall. These men had some amazing talent and built us several beautiful models, many of which are currently on display in our Great Hall of Steam.   Read more

Way Back Wednesdays

Posted on
scan0002

While I don’t often post images that just show one object, I chose to do with this piece as the condition has drastically changed through the years.  This pictures shows the smallest model in our collection, which just happens to be in a flashlight bulb.  The pencil is great for comparison as it shows just how small the piece is.  We still have this in our collection, but the glass of the bulb has filmed over and the little model is barely visible now.

Here we have a group of Seascouts from Baltimore, Maryland in front of our then main entrance in May of 1949.  No doubt they come to tour the museum as we still have groups like this come and visit us from time to time.  If possible, we try to provide them with special behind-the-scenes tours, which are always a lot of fun.   Read more

July Artifact of the Month – WAVES Uniform

Posted on
Propaganda poster encouraging enlistment in the WAVES. Courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum.
Propaganda poster encouraging enlistment in the WAVES. Courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum.

The June Artifact of the Month is a WAVES uniform set that was given to The Mariners’ Museum by Mrs. Clara Gemmet. Mrs. Gemmet joined the Navy in 1955 and went to boot camp in Bainbridge, Maryland. Following her basic training, she went to Airman Prep school, which she passed and continued on to the Naval Air Station Memphis, a major technical station for the Navy and Marine Corps. According to Mrs. Gemmet, she is still in touch with some of the women she was in the Navy with and, if given the opportunity, she would go back and do it all over again. She specifically states, “The women I worked with, shared cubicles with were wonderful, honest, proud women – proud to be helping their country by wearing OUR uniform.” Mrs. Gemmet is still involved with the WAVES through WAVES National, which works with women from all of the seagoing services, along with the Sacramento WAVES and as an officer in her local branch of Fleet Reserve Association.

In the end of July 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the creation of a World War II naval division for women, known as Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service, or WAVES. It allowed women to be placed into non-combat jobs within the continental United States, in an attempt to fill desk jobs with women and therefore enable men to take on combat roles elsewhere. For example, women worked as pharmacist assistants, radio dispatchers, mechanics, mail carriers and decoders. Within one year of FDR’s signing of the law, about 27,000 women had signed up for service. By the time the war was over, there were about 8,000 female officers, and almost 84,000 enlisted women, which made up about 2.5% of the total navy.[1] These women, including Mrs. Gemmet, still wore skirts and dresses as part of their uniforms, as opposed to pants, along with fitted jackets and heels.   Read more

May Artifact of the Month – Box from the USS Cyclops

Posted on

One of the greatest unsolved sinking mysteries of the U.S. Navy is the story of USS Cyclops, a steel twin screw collier that went missing during World War I, rumored to have disappeared within the Bermuda Triangle. Our Artifact of the Month is actually a chest from Cyclops, which was donated to the museum in September 1941. Unfortunately, nothing was found within the sea chest, which was found under the donor’s home in Norfolk, Virginia in 1926.

One of the greatest unsolved sinking mysteries of the U.S. Navy is the story of USS Cyclops, a steel twin screw collier that went missing during World War I, rumored to have disappeared within the Bermuda Triangle. Our Artifact of the Month is actually a chest from Cyclops, which was donated to the museum in September 1941. Unfortunately, nothing was found within the sea chest, which was found under the donor’s home in Norfolk, Virginia in 1926.

New Civil War letter

Posted on

We recently unearthed another Civil War letter in our archives.  The letter was written by Charles Pye to Colonel Thomas Millar on October 4, 1862.  In the letter, Pye requests that his slave, oxen, and cart be returned to him after they were confiscated by Union cavalry.  Pye lived near Port Tobacco, Maryland and his slave was caught transporting supplies to a landing on the Potomac River in an apparent attempt to send them across the river to Confederates in Virginia.  A Union cavalry patrol seized Pye’s slave, cart, and oxen.  This letter represents Pye’s attempts to have his property returned to him.

Pye’s letter opens up many questions regarding the confiscation of slave property by Union forces.  This is especially true considering that Pye lived in Maryland which never seceded from the Union.   Read more