In early 2019, an East Carolina University student, Jacquelyn Hewett, studied one of the figureheads in our Collection for her American Maritime Material Culture history class. The information she uncovered was enlightening and indicated that a change in the attribution of ship name was in order. While confirming her research, I uncovered the story of a wonderfully awesome woman I thought I would share with you!
In 1850, in an effort to demonstrate American advances in shipbuilding to the world, a group of New York yachtsmen formed a plan to send a yacht to England to race against British boats. The task of designing the boat was given to George Steers, one of New York’s leading naval architects and the designer of the port’s fastest pilot boats.
Sometimes the quirks of technology can reveal something really interesting! While compiling a list of objects in our Collection related to submarines, our Collections Management System threw me a curveball.
As promised, here is the rip-roaring story of how Manolis Mermelechas, a pirate of Mykonos, Greece, “took” his wife (and I mean “took” literally, not figuratively!). Pay attention Hollywood…there’s a great plot for a pirate movie here!
This week, while trying to identify prints in our collection that showed dghasa, a beautiful little craft native to Malta, I stumbled across a really interesting watercolor painted by Nicolas Cammillieri. The artwork is titled “H.M. Sloop Parthian Capturing a Spanish Pirate.” The computer record didn’t contain any information about the event depicted but I figured there must be an interesting story behind the artwork–and I was right!
During my time at Mariners’ I have frequently been intrigued by an odd looking object in one of our storage areas but time wasn’t always available to learn more about it. That recently changed for one object when I spent several months researching the history behind a piece that has always intrigued me—a large, bent, barbed, piece of iron–the spear of a chevaux-de-frise.
What happens when a zoologist/biologist applies his powers of observation for studying animals to the study of boats? For Alfred Goldsborough Mayor it meant producing a body of work that has given researchers and museums some of the best historic documentation available on the construction of a variety of Pacific island sailing canoes.