Coming up with ways to allow the public better access to our collection is something we constantly think about. After all, that’s the main reason we created this blog. Besides this blog, I also try to post an object a week on Twitter for our followers to see. Here’s our Twitter handle if you don’t already follow us, @MarinersMuseum. Another activity I became interested in this past summer was editing Wikipedia. We’re conditioned to believe that Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source and we should not look there for answers (yet we all do anyway), but I’ve learned that this isn’t necessarily the case. There are a great many people working to make sure that the articles are well-written and, more importantly, use proper sources. I tend to use Wikipedia as a place to start when I begin researching something. I can usually find a few major details and then some resources that I can turn to for more information.
Knowing that people come to Wikipedia so frequently, whether they admit it or not, I believe it is important for us, the museum, to use the site to let the public know what we can offer them. I have gradually been working on adding our objects to various pages, especially examples from various artists. Some of my favorite additions include a picture of our music box model on the page for the PS Commonwealth, an anchor on the SS Christopher Columbus and a painting for John Cleveley the Elder.
While most of my work has been to do a small edit here or there, I have been able to create two pages, of which I am very proud. The first one I created was for our beautiful eagle figurehead from USS Lancaster.
The eagle was carved by the famous Maine wood carver, John Haley Bellamy. The piece is very large and sits in our lobby, greeting guests as that is the first object visitors will see. I’ve developed quite a fondness for the eagle and sometimes just like to look at it because it seems as though he could take off and fly away at any moment.
Another page that I very recently finished is on the Roux family of Marine Painters from Marseille, France. I’ve only been familiar with this family for about two or three months, but I am very impressed with their work. Their watercolors are very beautiful and they portray ships very realistically. Below is one of my favorites.
While this features a battle scene, I am really drawn to the colors and the accuracy of the depiction. The ships have been beautifully drawn and colored.
I work on Wikipedia articles when I have a moment here or two to spare, so I don’t get to edit them as much as I may like to. My next focus will be on the museum’s Wikipedia page and adding more information as well as more images to the Collection Highlights section. My hope is that through this someone will be able to find something they were looking for or maybe didn’t even know existed.