The Museum’s archives are full of wonderful and seldom seen objects that span over 500 years of maritime history. As the archivist, I derive infinite pleasure from discovering such items and making them accessible to the public. Some of my favorite discoveries have been in the collection of maps and atlases, including the map illustrated above.
This map of Northwest Europe was originally printed in the 1570 edition of Abraham Ortelius’ Theatrum orbis terrarium (Theatre of the World), which is widely considered as the first modern atlas. Between 1570 and 1612, thirty-one editions of the Theatrum orbis terrarium were printed. The Library owns a 1592 edition of the atlas, in addition to a number of separate maps by Ortelius that once graced the many editions of Theatrum orbis terrarium.Read more
In a museum not so far far away there’s not just one, but two Mariners’ crew whose work is so interconnected that even a pandemic can’t change that. Now, our Library Information Specialist and Cultural Heritage Photographer are discovering what “working closely” looks like at a distance.
A Reference in References
An unassuming white door is nestled in the center of a white wall you’d never even notice was there unless someone pointed it out to you. Through that door is what we call Gallery 1. Inside it, a large table fills the front of the room to lay out large items. It’s filled with books, photos, drawings, and the most high-tech shelves I’ve ever seen! Seriously, these are not your grandpa’s stagnant library shelves. With the push of a button, they slide together, closing one aisle and revealing the next aisle of records.Read more
Back in April, at the height of Virginia’s stay-at-home orders and less than a month into the museum’s work-from-home status due to the pandemic, the only staff still physically working at the museum at the time were a skeleton crew of essential personnel. Noelle, our visitor services manager, was working from home when she noticed an order come through the online gift shop. Problem was, all of the packing and shipping had to be done while physically in the museum gift shop, but not only was the museum closed, even our park was closed. With everything going on in the world and the museum itself, I’m sure no one would have blamed Noelle for responding to the customer that the museum was closed and we just couldn’t fulfill the request at this time. After all, it was a small order from out of state, just toy models of the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia. Instead, she reached out to the buyer to find out more and discovered that it was a father buying the ships for his 6-year-old son’s birthday which was coming up that weekend. He explained how much his son loves the story of the Monitor and the Merrimack. Noelle told him we would make it happen; if the items were shipped by Monday they would reach the family in New York in plenty of time for the little boy’s birthday that weekend. She came in Monday, packaged the models, and even included a note wishing the little mariner a happy birthday. She then confirmed that the item was picked up, and upon receiving the tracking number passed it on to the family. This special kind of dedication and empathy isn’t found everywhere, but it’s here, even behind the scenes, at the Mariners’ Museum.
In this exclusive behind the scenes series, I am introducing you to several members of our Mariners’ crew who are still manning the ship even though our beloved museum remains closed to the public. Allow me to introduce you to the resourceful and dedicated leader of our visitor services department.Read more
With Earth Day around the corner on Wednesday, April 22, I wanted this post to focus on one world issue that is often highlighted on Earth Day and has a direct connection with our global waters–trash, especially in our oceans. According to Ocean Conservancy, approximately eight million metric tons of plastic goes into our oceans annually.* This global issue is overwhelming, and can also seem like there isn’t much we can do as individuals. However, if everyone in the world does something small, then all together we can make a big impact. No matter our age, we can at least try to be more conscious of what we’re buying and what we’re doing with waste. That means not littering and preventing that trash from getting into our waterways. Sometimes, that waste can be reused and repurposed into something else, even something like recycled art!Read more
Last month, Dr. Molly McGath and I unveiled conservation’s infrared camera to the public during the ‘Be My Mariner’ event. Visitors created Valentines for their special someones, and included a ‘secret’ message that only our IR camera could reveal.
The event was a lot of fun, and it was great to see all of the creative and clever ideas kids (and their parents!) came up with for their Valentines.Read more