Go Figure! (-King Neptune)

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Neptune Figurehead in gallery.
Neptune Figurehead in gallery.

Hey everyone! This week I decided that we should take a break from the all the female figureheads and look at one of our males. King Neptune, god of the sea according to Roman mythology. While the mythological god has a lot of background, we do not know the exact origin of our figurehead. For this post, I want to talk about Neptune in mythology and give you all some more information on our figurehead.

In Roman mythology, King Neptune was the god of fresh water, which is something that I found interesting. It was not until 400 B.C. when he started to become identified with King Poseidon of Greek mythology, thus taking on the role God of the Sea. Typically he is depicted holding a trident, a common weapon used by fishermen and sailors on the Mediterranean. His wife, Salacia, was the goddess of spring water and was also associated with Poseidon’s wife, Amphitrite. In regards to Roman mythology, Neptune played a relatively minor role in mythology (Poseidon had a much greater influence in Greek mythology). Legend states that Neptune and his brothers, Jupiter and Pluto (Zeus and Hades in Greek mythology) split up the heavens into three realms and ruled them separately. In the Greek myth it was said that their father, Cronus, had swallowed him after his birth and Jupiter (Zeus) rescued him. In addition to being god of the sea, Neptune was also worshiped as god of the horses and was also referred to as Neptune Equester. With this title he was the patron of horse racing, which I personally find odd since he is more commonly associated with water and the two do not really go hand-in-hand.   Read more

Chesapeake Bay Gallery Update

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Deadrise being lifted out of the gallery
Deadrise being lifted out of the gallery

Yesterday was a very exciting day for us as we moved several of our larger objects out of the Chesapeake Bay Gallery, leaving some really large, empty spaces. We took the boats from the gallery out to our warehouse for storage. This is a big step for us in getting the gallery clear for future exhibitions. Next week we will get out the last few remaining objects, which are a steamboat mirror, 14-ton engine and large buoy.

The first to go was our Deadrise Oyster Workboat, ca 1955.


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March Object of the Month – German One Man, Torpedo Carrying Marder Submarine (Midget Sub)

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Marder Submarine, following restoration in 2005. Courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum.
Marder Submarine, following restoration in 2005. Courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum.

For the March edition of our Artifact of the Month, we are taking a look at the German World War II Marder submarine. The one we have here at The Mariners’ Museum resides in the International Small Craft Center, and is thought to be one of four left in existence. It was received here in May of 1948, as part of an indefinite loan from the Army Ordinance Department at Fort Monroe, VA.

The Marder was known as one of the German’s midget submarines, and was an advanced design of the previous Neger design. The Neger design was unable to fully submerge, and therefore could only remain on the surface, making it extremely difficult for the operator to escape once firing the torpedo. The Marder is 26 feet long by 20 inches wide, and broken into three different sections. This particular artifact has been restored to a grayish-green color, with a white interior. The operator sat towards the bow of the submarine, under a plexi-glass dome that was fitted to the entry hatch. This dome allowed for better visibility and accuracy of the operator when firing. There was also a compass attached to the inside of the dome, so to provide addition navigational assistance to the operator.   Read more

Go Figure! (-Queen Victoria)

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Queen Victoria Reigned by George Hayter
Queen Victoria Reigned by George Hayter

Hey everyone! This post I am very excited about because it is my absolute favorite figurehead that we have here in our collection! This figurehead of Queen Victoria not only interests me because of the historical significance of the Queen, but the detail of the carving is beautiful.

The figurehead is in a walking position with her long luxurious dress blowing in the wind, making her look very realistic. She is ordained in jewels and the top of the dress is covered in roses. The Queen is holding an orb, an emblem of sovereignty, which is a dead giveaway that this was in fact a queen. Also another tell-tale sign is the crown atop her head (duh). The detail is incredible on this carving, and even though it is hard to see in the photograph, the artist included a carving of the patron saint of England, St. George. The image shows the saint on horse back slaying the dragon, located just on the waist of Queen Victoria. Back in her day, this figurehead was probably painted all white, but today she remains in a dark greenish-color. She was once displayed in the Great Hall of the Mariners’ Museum, but now remains “Hidden in the Hold.”   Read more

Choosing One Out of Many Thousands

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q299

How do you pick a  favorite artifact when our collection contains over 30,000 of them?   For me, it was love at first sight.   Or maybe it was awe at first glance.

When I arrived at the museum over 8 years ago, one of the first projects I worked on was a complete inventory of the collection.    I had the joy of opening all the boxes, folders, drawers, cabinets, mysterious rolled objects, and so much more.   And each time, there was something amazing, beautiful, unique, compelling, ordinary or strange to see.   Read more