Opening Day: What The Mariners’ Museum looked like in the 1930s

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Today, The Mariners’ Museum and Park’s exhibition space is roughly 90,000 square feet; but when the Museum opened to the public in November 1933, there was only a little over 12,000 square feet of gallery space. Sure, this is not a “small” space. All of our houses are probably significantly smaller, but this is a far cry from the originally intended Museum – a grand, sprawling, geometric affair. 

In April 1931, Archer Huntington stated, “My idea for the museum is a structure built not by architects but by engineers, and I think we can do this in the Yard. The moment you attempt to produce an art building on the usual Greek or Roman lines, you have made something which will clash entirely with the exhibits, which are purely scientific and mathematical.” To that end, the Museum’s projected budget for 1931 included $50,000 to “start museum”. The rest of that year’s budget was allocated to the dam, roads, and property maintenance. This vision would not come to pass, though, at least not as originally intended. Instead, the idea of a new building was put on hold (thanks Great Depression), and The Mariners’ Museum exhibits were put in a “temporary” gallery space located in the Museum’s service building.    Read more

Mariners Still Sailing Together…Apart

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Ages of Exploration Gallery. (All images in this blog: Amanda Shields / The Mariners’ Museum and Park.)

A Teaser Trailer

Have you been wondering what it’s been like at The Mariners’ Museum since our temporary closure due to the pandemic? Take a look at what I’m calling the “Teaser Trailer” in a series that brings you behind the scenes to observe the people and places of our beloved Museum in a completely different light..literally! This series will give you a whole new view of our galleries and our team members during the closure. The Mariners’ Museum may be closed to the public at the moment, but we have not abandoned the ship.

The Galleries

The exhibits, usually so full of light and laughter, now stand still, dark, and quiet. The emergency lights cast deep shadows, beckoning to be photographed. With everything so quiet and still, the sound of each creak and tap is heard throughout every gallery. If I didn’t laugh at myself getting spooked I probably would’ve high-tailed it out of there!    Read more

One Man's Trash….

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Lego octopus
Lego octopus from Devon, England. Courtesy of the BBC

Well, you know the old saying. But here’s a story from Cornwall (England) to get Lego enthusiasts making vacation plans for the southern UK beaches. Read the full story from the BBC here

Seems that a rogue wave hit the container ship Tokio Express back in 1997 and washed off several containers about 20 miles west of Land’s End. One of the containers was chock-a-block with Legos, about 5 million of them. 17 years later, they’re still washing up.   Read more

Savage Fun

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“A Really Big Hand”…. or Flipper.

Our latest exhibit is here! Well, here inside the museum and inside lots and lots of crates–over 100 of them. The crates and the largest moving truck any of us had ever seen rolled into town early this morning with all the parts for Savage Ancient Seas, Dinosaurs of the Deep. After a couple of hours work with furniture dollies, pallet jacks and forklifts, the crates are inside the gallery and the unpacking and installation has begun. The installation will only take a few days and then the lighting will be adjusted, the carpet vacuumed and the artifacts dusted. All the work leads up to the grand opening of “Savage” for museum members on Friday May 23rd and for the general public on Saturday May 24th. Here are some photos of the work so far. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more Collections fun here at The Mariners’!

New exhibit: "Imagined Depths: Sea Monsters in Cartographic History"

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Good afternoon, Readers!

I wanted to share some great news with you today. Do you recall this post from January, “Rare Maps & Sea Monsters“? Well Mariaelena DiBenigno has been very busy since then curating, “Imagined Depths: Sea Monsters in Cartographic History”, an exhibit that is now on display at The Mariners’ Museum Library.   Read more