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A New Exhibit Washes Ashore!

This life vest is representative of the first ever commercial version, and is now on display in the exhibit. From The Mariners’ Museum Collection.

Hello again readers, and welcome back to the library blog! I have some exciting news for you today – there’s a brand new exhibit in The Mariners’ Museum Library, and it’s FREE to come look at!

The new exhibit is called “Illustrating the News: Shipwrecks in the Popular Press.” It follows the history of shipwreck imagery in newspapers and periodicals from the 1830s through 1912, a time before the widespread use of photography. Before this period, most publications didn’t have much imagery to accompany their stories. This exhibit covers the era when publications began using illustrated images to showcase the shipwrecks of the time, and didn’t always stay true to the reality of the situation. One can see dramatic illustrations of shipwrecks, rescue attempts and survivors, and the display includes panel text describing the artistic techniques the artists used to convey their message. There’s even a display with old lifejackets from the time period, one of which is made of cork!

In addition, the exhibit has an illustration of the Loss of the Zephyr (from The Graphic, Aug. 1885). This image tells the tragic tale of a group of volunteer lifesaving servicemen who crashed against the wreck of an old ship they’d once helped, while on the way to help another vessel in distress.

The exhibit’s curator is Jennifer Anielski, who specially designed it to compliment the new “Abandon Ship” exhibit at The Mariners’ Museum. It will be on display through August of 2012, so come and see it while you can!

The powerful emotional impact of this illustration is tangible here on screen, but best felt in person.
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