La Isabel Project: Part 3

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Fibers used for caulking between two strakes. Image courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

Hello again and happy November!

I’m back for another installment of La Isabel project and this week we’re talking about one of my favorite parts of conservation: science! Conservation is an interesting field because it’s highly interdisciplinary. One week I’ll use skills I gained from history courses to research an artifact (check out my 2nd blog post), another I’ll be using technical photography skills for documentation (see my 1st blog post), and then on a week like this I may be using my chemistry and biology knowledge to analyze an artifact!   Read more

La Isabel Project: Part Two

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“Año 1925” carved into a board at the boat’s bow indicating the year she was constructed. Image courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

Hello again, everyone!

I’m back for my second installment discussing La Isabel project and I can’t wait to tell you about all the progress we’ve made and things we’ve learned! In my first blog, I talked a bit about the plan for this project and starting the first step: documentation. Since then, I’ve been able to transition into the next steps of the project which involve looking more closely at La Isabel’s history, structure, and condition.   Read more

La Isabel Project: Part One

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La Isabel (starboard). Image courtesy of The Mariners’ Museum and Park

Hi everyone!

Last time I wrote on our blog, I was discussing my work with Princess Carolina (i.e. Ronson) as a graduate conservation intern. Well, since then, I’ve finished up my graduate program and have started an exciting new project working with another one of our amazing vessels: La Isabel!   Read more

Spanish Rapiers

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Recently we had to pull several weapons to photography, including several that are on display.  For four of them, three rapiers and a sword, this was the first time any of us were able to get up close to them as they have been on display in Age of Exploration since the early 90’s.  The three rapiers are attributed as Spanish, but one of our curator’s has pointed out that this is most likely inaccurate.

This first one is a  composite rapier with tapering blade, iron hilt, comprising vertically recurved quillons, arms, and a pair of asymmetrical shells framed by a double ring, knuckle guards, globular pommel and later wire bound wooden handle, ca 1600’s.  Its origin is unknown though, and we haven’t found any markings to give us any clues.   Read more

Columbus and Bush

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Christopher Columbus leaving Palos, Spain by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida
Christopher Columbus leaving Palos, Spain by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

We frequently loan out objects to other museums, just as we frequently borrow objects for our exhibitions.  Our hit exhibition this summer, Fragile Waters, was all borrowed material.  We recently sent a painting that is a vital part of our Age of Exploration gallery out on loan.  While we would not ordinarily loan an object that was on display at our institution, we decided to make an exception because this piece was considered to be very important for the exhibition.  The painting I am referring to (pictured below) is titled Christopher Columbus leaving Palos, Spain painted ca 1910 by  Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida.  Sorolla wanted this portrait of Columbus to be as accurate as possible, so he did a considerable amount of research, sketches and even had a descendant of Columbus, the Duke of Veragua, pose for the painting.

This brings me to the loan bit.  We loaned it to the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas for their exhibition Sorrolla & America.  The exhibition opened on December 13 and will remain there until April 19, 2014.  After Texas it will be heading to The San Diego Museum of Art (May 30-August 26, 2014) and Fundación MAPFRE in Madrid (September 23, 2014-January 11, 2015).  What excited us was that The Meadows Museum sent us a picture of a special visitor with our painting after the exhibition had opened, former President George W. Bush!  (pictured below)  I’ve got to say, it’s pretty cool that a former President has been photographed with our painting.   Read more