Back in the early days of the museum, several people were sent out to find and purchase items to build our collection. They would often collect so many things at one time that the objects would fill up their houses until the pieces could be labeled and shipped to the museum. One such object is our figurehead attributed to the ship William Wirt.
What is most interesting about Wirt’s stay in the buyer’s home is the fact that he sat on top of their refrigerator, watching them as they went about their lives. They stated that “It was a creepy feeling, especially at night and almost reminded us of the ghastly story of John the Baptist. Our friends called him ‘Bill’ and he soon became part of the household.” Apparently they became rather fond of him and were a little reluctant to ship him to the museum.
It is hard to imagine having your house filled with treasures like this one, especially when you know that you do not get to keep them.