Returning Pieces

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Thousand Island Steamboat Company pass, 1896 (1)

Once again I have more good news about pieces that were stolen by our former archivist.  We have a received a number of returns in the past few weeks, including some very rare pieces.  While this process has not been easy, especially when dealing with people who will not return the items or even respond to our letters, we have dealt with some people who restore your faith in humanity.  We have had a few people who returned the items they purchased on eBay, as well as sending us new items as donations to help build up the collection again.  To these people we are eternally grateful.

So, again I will share some of the returned pieces.  Enjoy!   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

Donor Celebration

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Norddeutscher Lloyd Line poster

Last week was a whirlwind of activity for us and for several others in the museum as we celebrated the donation of the Herbert Beazley steamship collection by Norma Beazley, who is a wonderful lady.  Last year Cindi and I spent two days in Houston packing the collection and then two days driving it back to the museum in a moving truck.  It was a long journey, but very worthwhile when we started to see what exactly it was we had brought back (a total of about 22,000 pieces!).  We had objects, videos, photographs, postcards, slides, books and a very large number of archival pieces.  Archival pieces generally include flat paper pieces such as menus, deck plans, passenger lists, receipts, tickets, baggage tags, etc.  Between us and the library staff (as well as a number of awesome interns) it took us about two months to completely inventory the collection.

What is so great about this collection (besides how massive it is) is how many wonderful things have now come to our museum because of it.   Read more