A True Tale of Loss, Return and Thanks

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Welcome back Blackfish Dart, object number WH 38!!   Returning to the museum after a 58 year vacation that had you traveling from Newport News, Virginia to Tennessee and then back again!!!

In 1957, WH 38 left the museum by hiding in the pants pocket of a young boy who visited the facility with a scouting group. The child accomplice assisted the dart’s escape by removing the piece from a display. In those days, the museum exhibits consisted of items spread across tables and pieces of plywood that were held up by wooden sawhorses. So escape was easy, and in the case of a number of artifacts, inevitable.   Read more

A Valentine For Our Readers

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A bit of Valentine’s Day fun for this blog post which looks at artifacts in our collection that are cataloged with the words valentine, love, darling, chocolate, candy,  kiss and heart in either the name or description fields in our collections database.

VALENTINE   Read more

December 31, 1862

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On this day in 1862, the U.S.S. Monitor slipped beneath the waves off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina during a storm. Sixteen of the sixty two crewmembers were lost that night. The men rescued by the U.S.S. Rhode Island would face the New Year with their thoughts on those swept off the deck by the ferocious waves and the men trapped inside the ironclad as she sank.

Staff here at the museum will have the Monitor’s crew in their thoughts today. Emails and conversations between friends and colleagues will inevitably mention them. So will some newspapers, Facebook pages and twitter posts. Many of us will stop by the Conservation Lab’s observation deck and look down at the large artifacts undergoing treatment in their water filled tanks. The engine, condenser, cannons, cannon carriages and the turret where the skeletons of two men were found. While still unidentified, these men now rest at Arlington National Cemetery and forensic reconstructions of their skulls are sitting not far from the pieces of their beloved ship. All mute reminders that accidents at sea have claimed,  and still continue to claim lives.   Read more

Something New, Historic and Fun

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One of the latest additions to our collection is a toy which offers a unique view of the Civil War.  It’s a game, a history lesson, a home theater and a farce, all at the same time.  So let me introduce “The Myriopticon, A Historical Panorama of The Rebellion”, its famous creator and how it all came about.

The creator of the Myriopticon was Milton Bradley.  The same man whose name would become synonymous with popular games like Candyland, Twister, Operation, Jenga, Battleship and Yatzee, just to name a few.   Read more

Savage Fun

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“A Really Big Hand”…. or Flipper.

Our latest exhibit is here! Well, here inside the museum and inside lots and lots of crates–over 100 of them. The crates and the largest moving truck any of us had ever seen rolled into town early this morning with all the parts for Savage Ancient Seas, Dinosaurs of the Deep. After a couple of hours work with furniture dollies, pallet jacks and forklifts, the crates are inside the gallery and the unpacking and installation has begun. The installation will only take a few days and then the lighting will be adjusted, the carpet vacuumed and the artifacts dusted. All the work leads up to the grand opening of “Savage” for museum members on Friday May 23rd and for the general public on Saturday May 24th. Here are some photos of the work so far. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more Collections fun here at The Mariners’!