These Doors Do Heavy Metal!

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The Bronze Doors and a shipyard car and chauffeur, Mr. Fisher. The shipyard ran this car every morning and evening to the Museum and hydraulic lab to carry mail, lab, information, and passengers, July 1939. Image Courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

Have you ever noticed the big metal doors at the Business Entrance of The Mariners’ Museum and Park? Have you ever thought that maybe they were a little fancy for an entrance where deliveries are made and staff enters to gather our badges and trek to wherever our offices happen to be on-site? Well, those doors, made of bronze, are actually part of our Collection and used to be the Main Entrance to the Museum!

There is a bit of a story behind them. As you have probably read in a previous blog, Archer M. Huntington was the driving force behind the construction of The Mariners’ Museum and Park. It was his vision to have a stunning entrance to the Museum, something that would visually make people stop and say “WOW!”. Incidentally, this is why the original portion of the Museum has the very unusual “Huntington Squeeze” brick and mortar technique. It’s done by not scraping off the mortar as layers of bricks are added in the wall construction.   Read more

Way Back Wednesday

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Robeson House 01-20-1932 (3)

This large house belonged to Edward John Robeson, Jr., an employee at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company who went into politics upon his retirement from the shipyard.  This image was taken January 20, 1932.  The house stood on a hill overlooking Lake Maury, Kettle Pond, and the James River, where the statue “Conquering the Wild” by Anna Hyatt Huntington now stands.

In August of 1934 the beautiful house was torn down to make way for the statue.   Read more

Way Back Wednesday

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Aug 14, 1934 Lopez Mezquita, came to the Museum to paint a few portraits, was a member of the Hispanic Society, which AM Huntington founded

Our first picture this month shows artist Lopez Mezquita in August of 1934.  He was a member of the Hispanic Society, which was founded by Archer Milton Huntington, who also founded our museum.  Mezquita was asked to come to the museum to paint portraits of some of the staff, including resident painter Thomas Skinner (a picture of that is to come later).

This next image shows Admiral E.W. Sylvester and a ship’s officer with lifering from USS Wisconsin.  Not sure what exactly is happening in the photo, but it looks as if the guy on the left cracked a joke that the guy on the right didn’t appreciate.  Wisconsin is now resting in Norfolk where people can explore her decks.   Read more

Artifact of the Month – Jaguar statues

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Inspired by a recent story about how they came to be, I have decided to make our two Jaguar statues the artifacts of the month for April!  These two pieces are currently displayed in what we call our Huntington Room, so a lot of visitors probably haven’t seen them as this room is mostly used as a rental space or for staff meetings/events.  The room was named for Archer and Anna Huntington, with a smaller adjoining room (The Anna Room) being named for Anna Huntington.

The jaguars, titled “Reaching Jaguar” and just “Jaguar” were carved by Anna Hyatt Huntington sometime between 1926-1932.  Anna was a talented sculptress known for the accuracy in which she portrayed animals.  Anna’s father, Alpheus Hyatt, was a professor of zoology and paleontology and so Anna gained a love of animals early in life.  Despite this love, she had intended to become a violinist until an illness caused her to have to re-evaluate her chosen path.  Anna’s sister, Harriet, is who Anna credits with having really pulled her into the world of sculpting.  Harriet worked with Anna to create a sculpture of a boy and an animal as Harriet was not able to sculpt animals well.  (You can read an interview of Anna HERE where she mentions this)  Harriet is also known for sculpting a statue on our property called Shouting Boy.  For many years he was located in Kettle Pond, but now he is in one of our courtyards.   Read more