Recently I had the good fortune of being in the Boston area and was able to visit some of our artifacts currently on loan to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Their exhibition, Ocean Liners: Glamour, Speed, and Style is open from now until October 9, after which it will be traveling to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. We loaned them a number of fantastic pieces, including some that are quite large.
In the second room, seen in the picture above, the engineering of these mighty ships was discussed and two of our artifacts were included. The first is the piece hanging from the ceiling, a towing tank model of SS United States. This model was tested in the U.S. Navy’s David W. Taylor Model Basin at Bethesda, Maryland in 1946. The other piece is the cream-colored half model on the wall to the right. It doesn’t look like much in this photo, but it is a 21′ plating model for SS United States, made in 1949.
The next room held some of my favorite pieces. The large painting on the right came from the smoking room of SS Kronprinz Wilhelm of the North German Lloyd Line and is quite an impressive piece. To the left of this painting (difficult to see because of the angle and the other visitor) a lit model of SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie, also of the North German Lloyd Line. It was made by Fleischmann, a toy company in Germany. On the wall to the left is a folding stateroom sink from the Cunard Steamship Company.
Numerous items from SS United States were used. In the top picture is a decorative light panel from the private dining room on the promenade deck. Unfortunately my camera does not do justice to how beautiful it looks when lit. The main feature in the bottom image are the three glass panels from the first class ballroom. They also look pretty spectacular when lit. In front of them is a cocktail table from one of the lounges and to the left of this (a bit obscured as it is partially cut off) is a small table lamp used in the first class and cabin class dining rooms.
One of my favorite displays in the exhibition was the pool flags and swimming suits; it had a very fun vibe. The pool flags are also ours and came from SS United States. The second picture shows them on the ship. They spell out “Come on in the waters fine!”
All in all, it was a very interesting exhibition with some gorgeous and fascinating pieces. If you find yourself in the Salem area, I recommend taking a look!