Way Back Wednesdays

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1972, Opening of the Gibbs Gallery

This shows the opening of the Gibbs Gallery in 1972.  The celebration is being held in the Great Hall and at the opposite end of the room was where the front of the exhibition was.  What’s great is that a lot of the pieces you see in the Great Hall are still on display in various places of the museum today.  The eagle, the figurehead on the wall and the lighthouse lens way in the back.  I believe the figurehead is in almost the exact same spot now as she was then.

This photographs show two guys putting together and exhibition featuring our model ships.  I think the map on the wall is great because you can see where the each ship type would have come from.  It reminds me of our International Small Craft Center and how we have flags hanging from the ceiling of the countries where we have boats from.   Read more

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

Artifact of the Month – Painting of SS Kaiser Wilhelm II

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kaiser wilhelm

Today’s object of the month is an oil painting featuring the steamship Kaiser Wilhelm II in front of the Great Pyramids of Egypt.  I remember when I first came across it as I thought it was such a strange image with the ship completely out of water, but of course that’s how an allegorical painting is supposed to look.  With my interest piqued, I went to check out the file folder to see what the background of this painting was.  To my dismay, there was next to no information in the file and the wrong artist had even been attributed to the painting, despite the fact that there is a clear signature in the bottom left hand corner.

I am a rather curious person by nature, and so not knowing anything about this painting was rather painful.  Taking what little I knew about it, which was basically just the artist, I turned to my best friend for answers, Google.  I soon found out that the artist, Otto Bollhagen, was a well-known painter in Bremen, Germany.  This is where he set up his ‘atelier’, meaning studio.  Underneath ‘Atelier Bollhagen’ on the signature is ‘Bremen’.  The business Otto started in 1892 continues today under the leadership of a great-grandson.   Read more

April Artifact of the Month – Baseball Series

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Baseball autographed by Yogi Berra. Courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum.
Baseball autographed by Yogi Berra. Courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum.

In honor of America’s pastime and the recent start of the baseball season, this month’s artifact is a collection of baseballs from here at The Mariners’ Museum. There are currently three here at the museum with one on display and two that are not on display, and hidden in the hold. While a baseball does not sound like something that would usually be present at a maritime museum, these all have provenance that legitimizes their right to be here.

The two baseballs that are not on display were owned by William Frances Gibbs, a naval architect most well known for his design of  SS United States. Along with his brother Frederic, Gibbs designed 1,000 foot ocean liners and eventually began producing the ships in the early 1900’s after encouragement from the Navy and with the funding of J.P. Morgan. The brothers produced designs for ships from their naval architecture firm, Gibbs & Cox, and produced plans for thousands of ships during World War II. The baseballs themselves were the personal property of William Gibbs and were included with a number of other personal items that were accessioned into the collection.   Read more