Form Follows Function: Art of the Decoy

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Duck hunters in blind with decoys, Chesapeake Bay, date unknown. A. Aubrey Bodine, photographer. The Mariners’ Museum MSO466–004-15

The Drifter

I’m just an old has-been decoy
No ribbons I have won.
My sides and head are full of shot
From many a blazing gun.
My home has been by the river,
Just drifting with the tide.
No roof have I had for shelter,
No one place where I could abide.
I’ve rocked to winter’s wild fury,
I’ve scorched in the heat of the sun,
I’ve drifted and drifted and drifted,
For tides never cease to run.
I was picked up by some fool collector
Who put me up here on a shelf.
But my place is out on the river,
Where I can drift all by myself.
I want to go back to the shoreline
Where flying clouds hang thick and low,
And get the touch of the rain drops
And the velvety soft touch of the snow.   Read more

Loaning Objects to Jamestown

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We are frequently dealing with loans, whether objects are being sent to other places or coming in for an exhibition we are planning.  This summer has been especially busy as we have had several large loans, which are very time-consuming.  This week we brought several large objects to Jamestown that will be used in an upcoming exhibition about the Chesapeake Bay.  This includes two boats, oyster tongs, a culling board and a frame saw.  The end of the tongs and saw can be seen in the pictures below.

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Puget Sound in the News

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Puget Sound ferry Kalakala
Puget Sound ferry Kalakala, from the Harold Huey Collection

Those of us living around the Chesapeake Bay, the largest marine estuary in the United States, are generally not used to thinking about the existence of the second largest marine estuary in the country, Puget Sound.  The Sound is massive and has incredible bio-diversity, and is a fitting Number 2 to our Number 1. While organizations like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and their allies in and out of Congress have been staunch defenders of the Bay for many years, less national attention has been given to Puget Sound.  Today, however, members of Congress from the Washington State delegation are announcing their support for a new initiative to create a National Heritage Area in 13 counties along the south side of the Sound.  See the article in the Washington state newspaper “Olympian” here for details.

The designation of a National Heritage Area was new to me, so I had to look it up. According to the National Park Service’s FAQ on them, “National Heritage Areas (NHAs) are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape.” They differ from many such areas in that they are not publicly owned. They are managed generally by public-private partnerships or organizations whose mission is the stewardship of the area in question. Evidently we have one National Heritage Area in Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District. It is managed by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
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Way Back Wednesdays

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1971, Building of the Gibbs Gallery

This first picture shows construction on the Gibbs Gallery in 1971.  It was built to commemorate the achievements of William Francis Gibbs, probably best know for designing and supervising the building of SS United States.  In 1922, he and his brother, Frederic Herbert Gibbs began the company that would eventually become known as Gibbs & Cox.

Here we have the Junior League of Hampton Roads in 1961 who acted as tour guides for our visitors.  And behind them is our beautiful eagle figurehead from USS Lancaster.   Read more

Chesapeake Bay Gallery Update

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not much clearance lifting it out of the gallery
not much clearance lifting it out of the gallery

Last week we finished moving artifacts out of the Chesapeake Bay Gallery, which now looks very empty! Hampton Roads Crane and Rigging helped us move out the last two large objects, a Coast Guard buoy and an engine.

First to come out was our 7X15 lighted Coast Guard Buoy from 1952. As it stood in the gallery it almost touched the ceiling, so getting it out was rather interesting because there was not much space to work with. Luckily, the top comes off. It is now outside in front of our business entrance for everyone (including confused joggers) to enjoy.
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