Art in the Park – Trotman Anchor (DA 84)

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transport da84

It’s time to talk about another one of our Artifact in the Park objects, a Trotman Anchor (ca 1857-1890) sponsored by The Bronze Door Society (a big thank you to them!).  This anchor was one of several donated in 1961 to us by Baldt Anchor, Chain and Forge Division of The Boston Metals Company.  It gets its name from John Trotman, who patented this particular type of anchor in 1852.  This particular anchor was made by Noah Hingley & Sons Ltd. of Netherton, England, a company that was involved with creating the anchors used by RMS Titanic and RMS Lusitania.

Above is the anchor being taken from our trailer into Davis Boat Works, as this was another one that they and Everette Howell from Coastal Cleaning LLC worked on.  There is no way that we would have ever been able to work on these as fast as they have been, which is a big help in keeping up with the project.   Read more

Where's My Stuff? – Theft at the Museum

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Speaking at the AAM Conference in Baltimore, MD
Speaking at the AAM Conference in Baltimore, MD

Although Cindi and I do most of the posting on this blog, our boss, Jeanne, occasionally has something she wants to share, but she has opted out of having an account here, which is why I am posting on her behalf.  So enjoy this message from Jeanne, aka Boss Lady!

On May 22nd I had the pleasure (alright, I’ll admit it, I was scared to death) of speaking at the American Alliance of Museums annual conference in Baltimore about a subject that is near, but not so dear, to my heart.  The session, titled “Mysterious Disappearances: Where’s my Stuff?” focused on the problem of internal theft in museums and libraries.  The session’s speakers included several noted experts: Miles Harvey, author of the book The Island of Lost Maps; Gregory J. Smith, Executive Vice President at Berkley Asset Protection, an expert in loss control and risk assessment in the fine art and jewelry fields; and Robert Wittman, who served as one of the FBI’s top investigators in cases involving art theft and art fraud who also helped form the FBI’s rapid response Art Crime Team. And me!   Read more

Art in the Park – Admiralty Type Anchor (DA 85)

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DA85 transport 5-7-13-c

Here I am again to talk about another one of our Art in the Park anchors, this one also sponsored by the Bronze Door Society (they have been super kind to sponsor three of our anchors!).  This one is an admiralty type anchor (ca 1900-1950), which was a very popular type of anchor in the 19th century as the design was thought to be superior.

This particular anchor (seen flying in the picture above) was part of a large donation of anchors by the Baldt Anchor, Chain and Forge Division of the Boston Metals Company in 1961.  A very generous donation.  Like many others, this anchor was taken to Davis Boat Works where Everette Howell and others worked on blasting, cleaning and painting it for us.  And we are extremely grateful to them for the help!   Read more

June Artifact of the Month – Gondola Mania!

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Miniature Venetian gondola. courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum.
Miniature Venetian gondola. courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum.

This month we’re taking a look at two very similar, but also very different, items that we have here at The Mariners’ Museum. We have two gondolas within our collection, a miniature work of a Venetian goldsmith that measures 2 and 1/8″ long, and a full size gondola that measures a whopping 35 feet and 8 inches long, and weighs about 1,100 pounds.

The miniature is made to scale of approximately 1:192, and it has two gondoliers included on the boat. The standing gondolier is 3/8 inch, while the second gondolier is sitting down, in front of the canopy which is hinged and can be opened. The seated gondolier is unique to the style of gondola’s prior to 1791, when the struggling Venetian state had to change to one man gondolas in order to downsize spending and save money. (That’s a downsize rate of 50 %!) The little gondola is made up of 18 carat gold, and decorated with gold filigree. The Mariners’ Museum purchased it from the Bodley Book Shop in New York in 1939, and while the exact goldsmith who created it is unknown, it is thought to have been made around 1840. In 1996, The Mariners’ Museum based a Christmas ornament on the miniature as part of a series of ornaments that were designed after pieces of the collection. The ornament was coated in 24 carat gold and available for purchase in the Gift store.   Read more

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Ready to roll...
Waiting to be tied down to the truck so they don’t shift.

The Artifacts in the Park campaign rolls on and so do our anchors. Some of them recently took a ride down Jefferson Avenue to Davis Boat Works in downtown Newport News.

Thanks to a generous offer from Senator Frank Wagner, our process has changed dramatically. Wagner donated the services of his marine repair facility, Davis Boat Works. With their expertise, staff from Coastal Cleaning and a blasting process involving recycled glass media, a job that would take us months to complete by hand is now reduced to just a few days. When the cleaning is completed, each piece gets coated with an anti-corrosive product and a polyurethane finish that will protect the artifacts for at least 20 years.   Read more