Telling a Story: A Documentarian Eye

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Senior Conservator Elsa Sangouard and Archaeological Conservators Laurie King and Lesley Haines screen concretion removed from USS Monitor artifacts.

A man of many hats

I did not expect how many photography styles I would have to be familiar with as a museum photographer. I might have on my technical photographer hat; focused on meeting set standards to ensure precision reproduction is possible. A little later on, I might become a still-life photographer and carefully craft lighting to create a beautiful image of an artifact. That afternoon, I might have to be a documentarian and follow staff members that are doing interesting work. 

If you’re familiar with my photography, you will probably know that I am typically the happiest when I’m in the studio working with lighting to create images that make our artifacts look beautiful. What can I say? I’m a bit of a control freak, and the level of control I get to exert in the studio is comforting to me. That said, every once in a while, it’s good to step out into the wide world outside my studio doors and take photos with less control.    Read more

Getting the Collection “Ship-Shape”: The Small Craft Survey

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Objects Conservator Paige Schmidt and Myself examine “Minnow”, an Optimist Class Dinghy, in the International Small Craft Center. Image Credit: The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

If you visit the International Small Craft Center on Thursdays, you may spot Objects Conservator Paige Schmidt and me (Summer Conservation Intern) crawling around on the floor between the boats. We have not lost our glasses like a blinded Velma Dinkley. Actually, we’re conducting a conservation survey of the Museum’s collection of 142 small craft.

The small craft collection contains a diverse variety of vessels ranging in size, shape, function, and source culture. Because the Museum’s small craft originate from such a variety of contexts, each boat comes to the Museum with its own quirks and challenges resulting from its history of use. To get a better understanding of the collection, its condition issues, and its needs, it is necessary to evaluate each small craft, one-by-one.   Read more

America’s Cup Pieces on Display

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J-foil daggerboard, T-foil rudder, bow replacement piece & Slingsby's jersey on display
J-foil daggerboard, T-foil rudder, bow replacement piece & Slingsby’s jersey on display; photograph courtesy of museum photographer, Brock Switzer

Those who have been reading this blog for awhile now may remember that about two years ago we received a very exciting donation of materials from Oracle Team USA, the winners of the America’s Cup Regatta.  This donation included the J-foil daggerboard, T-foil rudder, bow replacement piece, and various crew gear.  I’m happy to say that several of these pieces are now on display in our International Small Craft Center!

The difficult part was getting the pieces, especially the J-foil into their mounts and into Small Craft.  As the picture shows, the J-foil is very tall and also heavy, weighing about 750lbs.  Thankfully we have a very skilled exhibit team.   Read more

Way Back Wednesday

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bf50 arrival in Venice #34

In 1999 we sent out our Gondola to Venice, Italy for restoration work.  These two shots show it being transported to the shop where pieces would be fixed and it was repainted.  It is now on display in our International Small Craft Center.

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Visit from the Coast Guard

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TMM; Coast Guard visit to ISCC; 05-26-2015 (1)
Artifacts set out, photo courtesy of Jim Wetherbee

Every year we give a tour to a group from the United States Coast Guard’s International Maritime Officer School; an interesting group who are always so curious and interested in our collection, especially our boats in the International Small Craft Center.  Usually our Chief Curator asks what countries the group is from and then proceeds to point out boats from those countries, but he was not here this year so we did a little something different.

This year we set out a couple tables with artifacts from the countries the group was from, giving them a taste of the scope of our collection.  And don’t let the first image fool you, they swarmed the tables when they first came in, but by the time this was taken they had already dispersed in the Small Craft Center.  Three of the objects made a particular impression on the group.   Read more