The Return of IR

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Improvised ‘blunderbuss,’ ca. 1900. Image Credit: The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

Back in 2019, Molly McGath and I posted about the Conservation team’s digital infrared camera . The camera has been used numerous times in the intervening two years, but I wanted to share a particularly cool little mystery the IR camera recently helped us figure out!

Last month, two of our curators were looking into the provenance of a really interesting artifact in our Collection: this improvised ‘blunderbuss,’ essentially fashioned out of pipe and a crudely shaped wooden stock. We had little information about this gun, other than the fact that it belonged to Rear Admiral James Kelsey Cogswell in the late 19th century.   Read more

What is “Hidden Histories”?

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“Photographs of the Personnel of The Mariners’ Museum” dated 1935. INST-ST-28, Courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

What is “Hidden Histories”?

Just as I was about ready to post this blog, I had to rewrite my opening because I just spent 45 rewarding minutes on the phone with a wonderful gentleman, Mr. Brown. Our mission at The Mariners’ Museum and Park is to connect people to the world’s waters – because through the waters, through our shared maritime heritage – we are connected to one another.    Read more

Matthew Henson: An Arctic Explorer

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Matthew Alexander Henson, ca. 1910. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/00650163/. You can search their website for additional photos.

A great deal of our collection is related to explorations and discovery, because so many of those took place by way of the oceans and rivers of the world. We have objects related to the big names in exploration and also some who are not as famous. So I was interested a few months ago to hear a news report refer to an explorer I had not heard of: Matthew Henson. I went straight to our database to learn more!

The report I heard discussed the conservation of 20 dioramas built for the American Negro Exposition held in Chicago between July 4 and September 2, 1940. There were originally 33 dioramas but 13 have disappeared. The Legacy Museum at Tuskegee University is using the conservation of the dioramas to help teach Black art students who have preservation experience. This will help build diversity within the conservation field. The dioramas each displayed significant stories in American history that prominently featured Black Americans such as Crispus Attucks, the WWI Harlem Hellfighters, surveyor Benjamin Banneker, and Arctic explorer Matthew Henson.   Read more

Princess Carolina Update: Treatment Testing and Small Artifact Work

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Preparing nanoparticle products for testing. Image courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

Happy February, Mariners’ family!

I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and a great start to the New Year. I wanted to give you all a quick update about Princess Carolina aka Ronson because we have some exciting stuff happening!    Read more

The Pilot Boats of George Steers

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George Steers. Engraved by William G. Jackman and published by D. Appleton & Co. around 1870. (Accession# 1941.401.01/LE 1517)

Ever since man first set foot in a boat and headed out to sea there has been a need for pilots. Sailing in deep water is easy (as long as a storm doesn’t catch you!); navigating the shallower waters along coastlines and entering ports and rivers you aren’t familiar with is a lot more dangerous.

In mid-19th century New York the competition to provide pilotage services to an ever increasing volume of commercial traffic was fierce. Since the first pilot boat to reach an inbound vessel typically got the job the pilot’s need for a fast sailing boat was paramount. As this need increased some of the world’s most talented yacht designers and naval architects jumped into the fray and began designing some of the fastest schooners the world had ever seen.  One of these men, New York’s George Steers, ended up designing boats that changed the face of naval architecture forever.   Read more