I am happy to say that since my last report on our stolen archival pieces, several more have returned, with many more to be returned shortly. I have been scanning my little heart out to get all of these pieces done in good time so we can send the scans back to the people. I’ve also had to look to our awesome photography department for the pieces that are too large for me to scan. Without further ado, here are some more returned pieces!!
This “Artifact of the Month” is a piece of china from the White Star Line. The White Star Line was a prominent British shipping company and today is most known for its ship, RMS Titanic. While our piece of china is not from the actual Titanic, it is very similar to what first class guests would have been served on aboard the ship and therefore is on display in a corner of our Great Hall of Steam Gallery with information and other objects relating to Titanic.
“Stonier Co. Liverpool” is stamped on the back of the plate, but in reality they did not make the china. The Stonier company brokered and distributed the china. The star featured in the center of the dish is the symbol of the White Star Line, which is also inscribed in the banner below the flag star. The crown pattern around the plate originated from Brownfield, which gave this style its name. As you can see in the photo, the gold gilt and turquoise embellishments really highlight the center emblem well.
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.