Life Magazine

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Earlier this month I posted a picture of the cover of Life Magazine from 1955 showing our beautiful Lancaster Eagle.  Last weekend I just happened to be browsing in the Clifton Forge Antique Mall and saw stack upon stack of Life Magazine’s.  Sifting through them, I managed to find a copy of the one with our eagle.  Even though we already have one in our library, I went ahead and picked it up to put in our object file so anyone looking through the file for research will have quick access to it.

It’s really fun to see a colored shot from that time period as we mostly have black and white images.  I also enjoy trying to see if I can recognize the other pieces in the background.  The figurehead directly behind the eagle is Semiramis (ca 1894-1930) from the steam yacht Narada (ex. Semiramis).  The figurehead on the wall to the left is Merrie Monarch, attributed to the ship Merrie Monarch built in 1859 by J.H. Martin in St. Martins, New Brunswick.  Also to the left is a model of the Dollar Line representing two of their ships, President Hoover and President Coolidge, both of which began service in 1931.  It was the first model authorized to be built by our shipmodel builders in the early 30’s.  On the back wall of the gallery can partially be seen a half-model with a blue background.  This piece, ca 1939, is of the ship Great Britain and was built for showcase in the New York World’s Fair.  She is one of five half-models in our collection built for the New York World’s Fair.

Way Back Wednesday

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Melissa standing in front of the boxes of photographs
Melissa standing in front of the boxes of photographs

For those who follow the Way Back Wednesday posts, they get an interesting peek into The Mariners’ Museum’s history.  Many people, including our staff, don’t realize that there is a whole treasure trove of these photos kept in the back of the museum in storage.  Part of the reason for this is that there has never been a complete inventory done for them, so no one is completely sure what all we have.  We have been working on fixing that problem with the tremendous help of our volunteer Melissa, a CNU student.

Melissa has been spending her time sorting the photographs into different categories, arranging the photograph folders by date, replacing old acidic materials with newer archival materials, and putting the photographs into an excel database that will allow us to do word searches to find images showing particular subjects.  The importance of these photos in regard to the history of the museum and our collection is immeasurable, and it has been great fun going through them.   Read more

Way Back Wednesdays

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9-Old Small Craft Bldg

Construction of our old Small Craft Building.  About 11 years ago it was replaced with a newer, more efficient building where a good amount of our small craft is now displayed.

This image shows men in our ship model shop repairing a group of our figureheads on January 23, 1940.  Many of our figureheads came to the museum in rough shape and so needed a bit of work to make sure that they were stable enough to be displayed.  As our old photos show, we used to have a large number of them on the wall of our Great Hall.   Read more

Way Back Wednesday

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Warwick County Girl Scouts Field Day in what is now known as Harvey Field May 1947

A group of Girl Scouts from Warwick County enjoying their field day in what is now known as Harvey Field in May 1947.

Troops from Ft. Eustis, A Battery, 11th Battalion, posed with our Leifr Eriksson statue.  In the foreground is one of our beautiful Spanish cannons from the 18th century.  It is currently on display at the front of the museum.   Read more

Fun Fact Friday

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One of the most recognizable pieces of our collection is the USS Lancaster Eagle, carved by John Haley Bellamy.  What many people do not know is how we came to acquire such a treasure.

In the 1930’s, we had a number of buyers roaming around, looking for artifacts for the museum.  A group of them happened upon the eagle while poking around a ship chandler’s shop in Boston (of course, it would be pretty hard to miss).  The owner of the shop was very eager to get rid of the piece; understandable since it was the era of the Great Depression and it took up a lot of space in his shop.  But, as usually happens once someone expresses some interest, the price suddenly escalates.  Because of this, the purchase of the eagle was put on hold.  Thankfully, they did end up coming back to purchase the piece!  It is one of the most important and magnificent pieces in the collection.  And when people walk through the doors of our museum, they tend to head straight to the eagle.  Not surprising since it is very regal and difficult to miss!   Read more