Scheduling Students, Lead Lines and Mark Twain

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The Mariners’ Museum and Park
In 1914, the crew of this lighthouse tender, Hyacinth, rescued a dog and named him Sport. Sport is the star of the book Sport, Ship Dog of the Great Lakes. Photo courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum and Park. SMS0091/03.01-74#150 

I am the Student Program Coordinator on the Education Team at The Mariners’ Museum and Park. As you can imagine, a big part of my job is scheduling our educational programs for students. The great thing for me is I also often have the privilege of corresponding with people who are seeking information or asking questions. Thankfully, I don’t have to answer everything myself. I have the constant support of the rest of our Mariners’ family. Let me give you an example by taking you on a journey with me.

Several months ago I was contacted by Pam Cameron. Mrs. Cameron was doing research about lead lines for a project she was working on. I will tell you more about lead lines in a moment, but first I have to share something else. In the course of our conversations, Mrs. Cameron shared that she was the author of Sport: Ship Dog of the Great Lakes. This is a book that takes place on the lighthouse tender Hyacinth pictured below. In 1914, the crew of Hyacinth rescued a stray puppy that they named Sport.   Read more

William Robert Wolf and USS Cyclops

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USS Cyclops collier. PN983. Photo courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

What was USS Cyclops and what happened to it?

One of America’s greatest mysteries is the disappearance of US navy collier Cyclops. The ship was taken over by the Naval Overseas Transportation Services on January 9, 1918 and directed to head to Rio de Janeiro from Norfolk with 9,960 tons of coal. Then, the vessel departed from Rio de Janeiro on Feb 15, 1918 with 10,800 long tons, or 11,000 tons, of manganese ore before entering Bahia on February 20, 1918. Only a few days later, on February 22, 1918, Cyclops steamed for Baltimore, Maryland with no stops planned. However, it later deviated to Barbados, arriving on March 3rd. Finally, Cyclops left Barbados on March 4, 1918 with its starboard engine inoperative due to a cracked cylinder.  The vessel was never seen again.   Read more

What Makes a Champion Tree?

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Infographic on how to measure a tree's height
An infographic on how to measure the height of a tree. Courtesy of The Virginia Big Tree Program.

Did you know Mariners’ Park is home to a national big tree? This tree is the biggest of its kind in the NATION! Right here in Newport News! You may be thinking about all the largest trees you’ve seen in the Park, wondering which one it might be. But, I bet, if you walked by it you wouldn’t even notice it! Our champion tree, which proudly sits on The National Register of Big Trees as designated by American Forests, is an evergreen bayberry that stands tall at a whopping 14 feet tall. You might be wondering, how did our tree get discovered? How did The National Register of Big Trees find out about it? Or that’s not that big!

As with any story, we have to start at the beginning! Our tree was originally added to The Virginia Big Tree Program website in 2015. But the Program itself began in 1970! You can check out all of the trees in the database here. The Program, run by Virginia Tech, “maintains a register of the 3 largest specimens of over 300 native, non-native, and naturalized tree species…The Virginia Big Tree Program is affiliated with the National Register of Champion Trees, which is administered by American Forests.” according to their website.   Read more