New challenges in photomodeling

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Eagle Stern Carving, front

You know how some days/weeks just do not go the way you thought they were going to? New things pop up, projects that need immediate attention come to the forefront, and the plans you had change. Last week was that way for me, but in the absolute best way!

After a presentation that caught her eye at the recent American Institute of Conservation (AIC) Conference, Paige, the Museum’s Assistant Objects Conservator, approached me with a photo modeling project unlike anything I’ve previously attempted. She is working on a beautiful eagle stern board carving that will soon be going out on loan. To better photo-document the piece, Paige wanted to create an overview shot of the back of the board. Not so complicated, right?   Read more

Visiting Family History

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One of my favorite things to do is take someone to an artifact that has personal meaning to them and watch their face light up as they see the piece and reminisce about it and their family history.  Very recently this happened (although to another co-worker this time) as we had a woman come in looking for two carvings her grandfather, William Geggie, had done.

Thankfully a staff member was able to direct her to where they are displayed in our business entrance and we were able to send her more information about the pieces and her grandfather.  The museum hired Geggie to carve these pieces in 1957 to compliment a couple of our figureheads that were being displayed at the front of the museum.  Working full time, he was able to complete them in four months.   Read more

Castles Shipbreaking Company

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Figurehead from HMS Formidable

Any visitor to the museum will most likely remember the large, gold eagle in our lobby as it is eye-catching and right in the path of the entrance.  But close to the eagle are two other impressive figureheads, those from HMS Formidable and HMS Edinburgh.

These figureheads (and one carving) came from a place called Castles Shipbreaking Company in London (to learn about the history of the company go HERE).  This company was known for breaking up ships (as their name implies), but they also had a furniture business.  While many figureheads, and carvings, were taken off of the ships before they came to Castles, many others were left on the ships and taken off by Castles.   Read more

Way Back Wednesday

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Construction of figurehead gallery 1977

Construction of the Figurehead Gallery in 1977.  I particularly love the two dragons that guard the doorway.  One of them is currently on display in our A-Z exhibition.

Here we have a Sea Saturdays educational program from 1982.  Not sure if they’re learning about the whale or trying to piece him back together.  Now we have our Maritime Monday programs.   Read more

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.