How to wrap your eagle

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of31b

In preparation for some changes coming to our main lobby space, we had to wrap our Lancaster Eagle figurehead this morning.

We had to wrap the not so little fella because work is being done to the wall behind him for our soon to come exploration theater.  There will be a nice mural featuring various explorers behind him, which I am looking forward to seeing.  I have talked about the eagle before on the blog, but I will give some brief background information on him again.  He was carved in 1880/1881 by famous carver John Haley Bellamy for the ship USS Lancaster.  The eagle is 10′ tall with a 19’4″ wingspan and weighs about 3200 pounds.  This is one of our prized collection pieces and is incredibly fragile, so we have to take extreme caution when any work is to be done in the lobby around it.   Read more

Go Figure! (-Empire Lady)

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"Empire Lady" Figurehead
“Empire Lady” Figurehead

Hey everyone! For this week’s “Go Figure!” post I have chosen a 1700 French figurehead.  This particular one came to us in in 1936 and was donated by Admiral Chambers. She has an interesting story so I thought it was worth a post!

This figure head is a full figured white sculpture of a young girl walking.  A ‘walking-style’ figurehead was something that was very popular in the 18th century, making this style cutting edge for her time. Furthermore, when taking a closer look at the girl’s face, you can see that she has dimples, leading us to believe that she was based on a real person. She is wearing an empire-style of dress, thus her name.   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

Learning to trust Wikipedia

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USS Lancaster Eagle
USS Lancaster Eagle

Coming up with ways to allow the public better access to our collection is something we constantly think about. After all, that’s the main reason we created this blog. Besides this blog, I also try to post an object a week on Twitter for our followers to see. Here’s our Twitter handle if you don’t already follow us, @MarinersMuseum. Another activity I became interested in this past summer was editing Wikipedia. We’re conditioned to believe that Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source and we should not look there for answers (yet we all do anyway), but I’ve learned that this isn’t necessarily the case. There are a great many people working to make sure that the articles are well-written and, more importantly, use proper sources. I tend to use Wikipedia as a place to start when I begin researching something. I can usually find a few major details and then some resources that I can turn to for more information.

Knowing that people come to Wikipedia so frequently, whether they admit it or not, I believe it is important for us, the museum, to use the site to let the public know what we can offer them. I have gradually been working on adding our objects to various pages, especially examples from various artists. Some of my favorite additions include a picture of our music box model on the page for the PS Commonwealth, an anchor on the SS Christopher Columbus and a painting for John Cleveley the Elder.   Read more