Fun Fact Friday

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Ship Model Shop, January 1937

This month’s fun fact is about our Great Hall of Steam exhibition, which is our gallery that includes many large ship models.  What many may or may not know is that a good number of the models exhibited were built here at the museum.  On July 19, 1932, we opened a ship model shop for the purpose of creating models that could be displayed.

When the work began, they decided to do models of contemporary ships so that the plans from the actual ships could be used.  Most of these ended up being ships that had been built at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company.  The first model the shop started working on was that of President Hoover of the Dollar Line, although a model of the tug John Twohy, Jr. was finished first.   Read more

Way Back Wednesdays

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While I don’t often post images that just show one object, I chose to do with this piece as the condition has drastically changed through the years.  This pictures shows the smallest model in our collection, which just happens to be in a flashlight bulb.  The pencil is great for comparison as it shows just how small the piece is.  We still have this in our collection, but the glass of the bulb has filmed over and the little model is barely visible now.

Here we have a group of Seascouts from Baltimore, Maryland in front of our then main entrance in May of 1949.  No doubt they come to tour the museum as we still have groups like this come and visit us from time to time.  If possible, we try to provide them with special behind-the-scenes tours, which are always a lot of fun.   Read more

Way Back Wednesdays

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1972, Opening of the Gibbs Gallery

This shows the opening of the Gibbs Gallery in 1972.  The celebration is being held in the Great Hall and at the opposite end of the room was where the front of the exhibition was.  What’s great is that a lot of the pieces you see in the Great Hall are still on display in various places of the museum today.  The eagle, the figurehead on the wall and the lighthouse lens way in the back.  I believe the figurehead is in almost the exact same spot now as she was then.

This photographs show two guys putting together and exhibition featuring our model ships.  I think the map on the wall is great because you can see where the each ship type would have come from.  It reminds me of our International Small Craft Center and how we have flags hanging from the ceiling of the countries where we have boats from.   Read more

Artifact of the Month- White Star Line

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White Star Line china
White Star Line china

This “Artifact of the Month” is a piece of china from the White Star Line.  The White Star Line was a prominent British shipping company and today is most known for its ship, RMS Titanic.  While our piece of china is not from the actual Titanic, it is very similar to what first class guests would have been served on aboard the ship and therefore is on display in a corner of our Great Hall of Steam Gallery with information and other objects relating to Titanic.

“Stonier Co. Liverpool” is stamped on the back of the plate, but in reality they did not make the china.  The Stonier company brokered and distributed the china.  The star featured in the center of the dish is the symbol of the White Star Line, which is also inscribed in the banner below the flag star.  The crown pattern around the plate originated from Brownfield, which gave this style its name.  As you can see in the photo, the gold gilt and turquoise embellishments really highlight the center emblem well.   Read more