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Mariners Still Sailing Together…Apart

A Teaser Trailer

Have you been wondering what it’s been like at The Mariners’ Museum since our temporary closure due to the pandemic? Take a look at what I’m calling the “Teaser Trailer” in a series that brings you behind the scenes to observe the people and places of our beloved Museum in a completely different light..literally! This series will give you a whole new view of our galleries and our team members during the closure. The Mariners’ Museum may be closed to the public at the moment, but we have not abandoned the ship.

The Galleries

The exhibits, usually so full of light and laughter, now stand still, dark, and quiet. The emergency lights cast deep shadows, beckoning to be photographed. With everything so quiet and still, the sound of each creak and tap is heard throughout every gallery. If I didn’t laugh at myself getting spooked I probably would’ve high-tailed it out of there!

Ages of Exploration Gallery. (All images in this blog: Amanda Shields / The Mariners’ Museum and Park.)

Usually, so much time and energy is spent making sure the focus is (rightfully) on the pieces in the exhibits, getting each object lit and highlighted just right. Now, with all the lights off there’s still magic to be found! It just looks a little different. It’s in the in-between, in the shadows and the depths, the places we don’t normally see because they’re hidden by the light.

Emergency lights casting shadows on walls in the Ship Model Gallery.

Sometimes, if we change our focus we’ll even discover something new reflected back at us.

Model of the quadruple-expansion steam engine reflected in the glass of a display case.
Like two ships passing in the night. A staff member walks through the dark Ship Model Galleries.

Often there’s beauty to be found even when the lights are dim, if we’re willing to sit with it for a while, appreciate it without running away from it. After all, you can’t have magnificent silhouettes without equal parts light and dark. In art, stunning portraits would have no depth without its shadows.

Silhouette of Commodore Charles Morris figurehead in Defending the Seas gallery.
The Lancaster Eagle looks quite different without being lit.

With the next posts in this series, I hope to inspire you when I take you behind the scenes with some staff members to hear about their fascinating work and the challenges they’ve faced during the pandemic. You’ll discover how such an “on-site” department like visitor services transitioned so suddenly to remote work. I’ll take you to sneak a peek into the rarely-seen archives, as well as watch our Cultural Heritage Photographer at work. Be sure to subscribe to our blog and get notified whenever there’s a new post to see how our Mariners’ crew are still running a tight ship!

Until next time, fair winds and following seas, my friends.

Still mariners. Still connected. Stories from our little mariners still hanging. #iamamariner
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