Artifact of the Month – Oil Painting

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QO29

While whaling is not my favorite maritime subject to ponder, it is an important one.  Whaling provided (and in some cases still provides) needed food and supplies for people.  That is why this month’s artifact of the month is a whaling painting.

The piece was painted by Bonaventura Peeters the Elder in 1645.  He was a Dutch painter born in 1614.  Three of his siblings were also painters; older brother Gillis and younger siblings Catharina and Jan.   Read more

Way Back Wednesday

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July 1963 Concert being held in the courtyard

Many people are familiar with our concerts by the lake series in the summer but, long before those, we would occasionally hold concerts like this in our courtyard.  This is from July of 1963.

Cerinda Evans was The Mariners’ Museum’s first librarian and also wrote a biography on Collis Potter Huntington, our founder’s father.  This photograph of her from February 23, 1968 is of her 92nd birthday party the museum threw for her.  On the wall behind her you can see an oil painting of her.  And look at that typewriter!!   Read more

Animal Encounters

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Whale drawings, Logbook #019

One Saturday in March of 1864, a man aboard the whale ship John P. West wrote in his journal, “My Pidgeon layed 4 eggs.”  He also documented the day that his dog fell overboard (Logbook #027).  Nine years earlier Asenath Taber, daughter of a whaler, noted the “beautiful little chicken” her family had on board their ship (Logbook #002).  For these and other people at sea, animals could provide food, serve as companions, and bestow a sense of comfort during what were often years-long journeys abroad.

The life of a whaler was often one of extremes – some days were exciting, with several whales encountered and caught, while others were long and lonely, with nothing on the horizon and feelings of listlessness and homesickness setting in.  Sightings of whales and other animals receive frequent note in many of the journals, with log keepers recording a variety of wild encounters, including sperm whales, right whales, turtles, porpoises, Portugese man o’ war, an array of birds and fish, and – as the log keeper aboard the Courser states rather ominously in his entry from October 6, 1860 – “Monsters of the Deep” (Logbook #300).   Read more