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.
This picture shows Geggie working on the carving. Geggie was an important part of The Mariners’ Museum team as he worked on a number of the figureheads in the collection, repairing those that needed it and stabilizing others so that they could be displayed. Before this, he worked for the Newport News Shipyard as a woodcarver and was responsible for the embellishments on the interior of steamships and liners.
After Geggie finished his work, Allan Jones, Jr. (shown above) painted the seahorses to look as they do now.
More information about Geggie and the seahorses can be found in this article, William Geggie.