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’!

The Artifact is Ready for it's Close-Up, Mr. Director

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Curator Marc Nucup and  the show's host Geoff Edgers during filming.
Curator Marc Nucup and the show’s host Geoff Edgers during filming.

What do you do when faced with a storage area filled with artifacts, one film crew, one docent, one curator and one TV personality?   You stand around.   A lot.   And… babysit the artifacts so people and cameras don’t get to close ….listen to multiple versions of the same interview… watch many pieces of equipment get put together, taken apart, moved to another spot and then put back together again… listen to the inside jokes that only film crews can tell…and so on.  

      The museum is a popular destination for film crews from all over the world.   We get requests to film artifacts, galleries and even the entire museum as well as provide staff for interviews on or off camera and to share what we know about the objects.   Our photography department also gets numerous requests for images to serve as illustrations for narrated video segments.   Read more

Baltimore Album Quilt

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1993.61.01 Baltimore Album Quilt
1993.61.01 Baltimore Album Quilt

One of the beauties in our collection is 174 years old, made from colorful fabric, is both decorative and useful, and was created so it could be given away in appreciation for a kind act. Today I offer our Baltimore Album Quilt for your viewing pleasure.

Quilts made with the distinctive Baltimore Album designs were first seen in and around Baltimore, Maryland in the 1840s. Unlike traditional quilts, which were created with fragments of worn out clothes or leftover pieces of fabric, album quilts were made with newly purchased fabric that was readily available in the prosperous port cities. The designs were also different. Instead of a single or repeating pattern, each section or “block” of the quilt contained an intricate appliqué using red and green as the predominant colors. Designs included floral sprays, animals, patriotic and fraternal motifs, people, cornucopias and ships, often with embroidered details. The quilts were large, eye-catching and they showcased the maker’s needlework skills.   Read more