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

Posted on
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)

Posted on
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

Posted on
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

Go Figure! (-Mermaid Follow Up)

Posted on
Second Mermaid Figurehead
Second Mermaid Figurehead

This post will be devoted to the second mermaid in our collection! This figurehead is a gilt mermaid with a greenish bronze tail and long flowing brown hair. I particularly like this mermaid because she was carved into the into the trail-boards of the the bow, something fairly abnormal for most other figureheads.  As mentioned last post, the second half of the “Go Figure!” series will look at the darker side of mermaids, even though this mermaid does not appear to be scary or mean. I chose this mermaid to do this side of the creatures because the fin-like detail towards the end of her tail, give off a less human side than the other one did and show a more ‘evil’ aspect of mermaids.

The darker side of mermaids is the side that I have heard more tales about, and personally find it to be more interesting. I like that these women are seen as objects of beauty, but they have a dark twist. The most common of mermaid folklore says that these sea nymphs sing entrancing songs and use their beauty to lure sailors out to sea.   Read more

Go Figure!

Posted on
"A Mermaid" by John William Waterhouse, 1901.
“A Mermaid” by John William Waterhouse, 1901.

For this post in “Go Figure!” I wanted to look at the two mermaids we have in our collection. For centuries myth and legends of mermaids have been told around the world, so I want to take this chance to share some stories and let you all know about the two ladies we have here in our collection.

The myth and folklore of mermaids have been around since 1000 B.C.E. While their whereabouts and intentions have differed through the years, this week I want to focus on the kinder and more gentle side of mermaids, since I think this particular figurehead has a sweet composure. For the next post, I will discus our other figurehead, and while she does not look the least bit frightening, I still think she is up to something.   Read more