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Collections Stories

Fore-edge painted books from our Library and Archives.

Learn more about the rare, the ridiculously cool, and the incredibly inspiring objects in our Collections. As stewards of these precious items, we love sharing their unique stories with you, and our community of mariners around the globe.

  • Aluminum Kayak built to escape Cuba

    To escape the totalitarian regime in Cuba, an auto mechanic and his wife secretly assembled a boat from hoarded pieces of aluminum and a lawn mower engine.

  • SS Savannah

    This hybrid American ship was the first steamship to cross the Atlantic! Watch the video to learn more about this impressive ship's story.

  • Ortelius Atlas

    The illustrations in this atlas include many interesting and colorful subjects like mermaids, shipwrecks, sea monsters, and polar bears!

  • Fore-edge painted books

    These magical books are known as Fore-edge painted books, they are very rare and are painted through a specific, delicate process. The fore-edge paintings are sometimes added later than the publishing of the book, so the exact date of them is unknown.

  • Chinese Silk Tapestry

    Our Conservation and Collections teams pulled this amazing Chinese silk tapestry out of storage to photograph it and learn more about its unique story. They discovered something really cool along the way... and, we can't wait to uncover more.

  • Remembering RMS Titanic

    This life vest is believed to have been recovered from the body of one of the 1,500 passengers who perished on that icy night. This solemn piece reminds us of the panic, heartbreak, and pain so many had to endure that evening and beyond.

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