What Can You Do with a Ship When It’s Retired?

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Queen Mary (Turbo steamship : 1936)
Caught by the famed photographer Keith Beken of Beken of Cowes, Queen Mary (1936) sets out for New York for the last time. (From P0001.003, Photographs of Steamships, Motorships and Ocean Liners)

Welcome to the New Year, dear readers! I hope you had a peaceful, restful, enjoyable holiday, which now is finally drawing to a close. As usual, this past season while I took a rest from work, I watched movies. I did not watch, however, one of my childhood favorites, that old Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye chestnut White Christmas.  But I thought about it when processing a curious part of MS0528, the Herbert Beazley Ocean Liner Ephemera Collection. That section we named, “Repurposed Ships.” You see, in the film Bing goes on television to ask his old Army buddies to come to Vermont for Christmas, to help out their former commanding officer who now operates a ski lodge. To introduce the idea, Bing croons, “What can you do with a General, when he stops being a General? Oh what can you do with a General who retires?”

Beazley’s liners

Herbert Beazley was all about ocean liners. A small series within his sprawling collection concerns ocean liners that are no longer ships. Many of you will know about one of them, the Queen Mary, now a hotel in Long Beach, California. Since 2018 another former Cunarder, Queen Elizabeth 2, has joined her as a floating hotel in Dubai. Beazley also collected material about the ongoing proposals to repurpose the United States.   Read more

Homecoming – Stolen material returns

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postcard front

Several months ago I posted a message from Jeanne (boss lady) about a theft that had occurred at our museum in the 2000’s. (click HERE to read that post)  Long story short, our archivist, Lester F. Weber, stole material from our archives to sell on eBay, and we’re pretty sure that this was his sole purpose in applying for the job.   I am happy to update that we have finally started to contact buyers of the material in a bid to get the pieces back.  It is just the start of a VERY long process, but we have already had a few positive results, which is what I want to highlight in this post.

One of the biggest hits to our archival collection was the loss of Titanic pieces.  These pieces are extremely rare and in high demand as it remains one of the most well known shipwrecks of all time.  One of the pieces returned was an over-sized postcard showing a full view of the starboard side of the ship.  The bottom gives general information about the ship.  Below is a picture.   Read more