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The Museum in Winter
Don’t Miss This Limited-Time Exhibition at Mystic Seaport
ISAAC NEWTON WAS WRONG. For centuries, ships that went off course could be forever lost because no one could accurately determine longitude at sea. One of the greatest minds in science said it couldn’t be done. But John Harrison’s H4 watch changed navigation forever by helping to establish longitude at sea. Today, his innovative breakthrough is part of an astonishing exhibit about the race to find longitude.
Exhibition produced by the National Maritime Museum, London
EXHIBIT NOW OPEN Sponsored by Principal Media Sponsor
IN THIS ISSUE TM
Mystic Seaport magazine is a publication of Mystic SeaporT
SEASCAPES . .................................… 4
President STEPHEN C. WHITE
ADVANCEMENT NEWS .................. 6-8 MUSEUM BRIEFS ...................... 9-12
executive vice presidents SUSAN FUNK MARCY WITHINGTON
FAREWELL TO JIM CARLTON .... 13-15
Editor Göran R BUCKHORN email@example.com
THE MUSEUM IN WINTER . ....... 16-17
PRODUCTION Susan HEATH Design Dayna Carignan, Mystic Seaport karen Ward, THE DAY PRINTING COMPANY
ON BOOKS ................................. 25-28
Dan McFadden Paul O’Pecko Elisabeth Saxe Jonathan Shay Steve White
WHAT’S UP?.................................... 29
PHOTOGRAPHY Göran R Buckhorn Steve Corkery
TEN QUESTIONS FOR RICHARD DUNN................. 20-23 GIFT IDEAS.......................................24
contributors Susan Funk Glenn Gordinier Jason Hine Llewellyn Howland, III Emily Hutter
QUAD UPDATE............................ 18-19
CT Commission on Tourism
FROM THE COLLECTIONS . .............30
Mystic Seaport Photography Archives
Tom Daniels Julie Marin Grant
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Royal Museums Greenwich, UK
Dennis Murphy Andy Price Kathleen O’Rourke
Benjamin Benschneider/ Crown Publishing
ON THE COVER: SUMMER CAMPERS FROM LEDYARD PARKS & RECREATION ARE ENCHANTED BY THE THREEDIMENSIONAL GLOBE IN THE MUSEUM’S NEW EXHIBIT “VOYAGING IN THE WAKE OF THE WHALERS.” PHOTOGRAPH: ANDY PRICE/MYSTIC SEAPORT.
CONTACT US VISITOR INFORMATION: 860.572.5315 • 888.973.2767 ADMINISTRATION: 860.572.0711 MEMBERSHIP: 860.572.5339 PROGRAM RESERVATION: 860.572.5322 MUSEUM STORE: 860.572.5385 MARITIME GALLERY: 860.572.5388 VOLUNTEER SERVICES: 860.572.5378 Please go to the Museum’s website for information on the Fall, Winter, and Spring schedules ADDRESS: 75 GREENMANVILLE AVE. P.O. BOX 6000 MYSTIC, CT 06355-0990 WWW.MYSTICSEAPORT.ORG
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SPECIAL EVENTS at MYSTIC SEAPORT
27–Dec 31 — International Marine Art Exhibition and Sale OCTOBER
S E A S C A P E S A Museum for Everyone
he landscape of Mystic Seaport is changing, as it has since the very beginning in 1929. There has been the acquisition of property, the creation of the Museum Village, the building of the Shipyard, dedicated exhibition buildings, the conversion of the Rossie Mill into the Collections Research Center, and constant modifications and upgrades to existing facilities. All these editions of the Museum have worked well, and as the public demands and visitation patterns have changed, so has Mystic Seaport. As you are well aware, in recent winters, we have been closed to the public for six weeks in response to a declining demand, yet we know that the campus is a remarkable asset that needs to be used to its fullest potential in all seasons and weather conditions. The Donald C. McGraw Gallery Quadrangle, featuring the Thompson Exhibition Building and modifications to the other buildings around the Quad, is the physical response to that need. It ushers in a new business model that features an integrated exhibition space and yearround opportunity for drawing visitors. We finished the first phase of the project this summer with the completion of the Quad space and improvements to the surrounding buildings and the initiation of the construction of the Thompson Building. After seeing the results and progress first-hand, I can say that both the late Wade Thompson and the late Donald McGraw would be extremely pleased. It is only fitting that two remarkable exhibitions opened in the Quad that herald the establishment of this new and enhanced area at Mystic Seaport. “Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude” opened on September 19 in the renovated R.J. Schaefer Building, and “Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers” opened on June 20 on the first floor of the Stillman Building. They demonstrate the fulfilment of a priority for Mystic Seaport: presenting stunning exhibitions that feature either our collections or exhibitions from other leading maritime museums. These exhibitions show what is possible at the Museum and what we intend for the future. Also, they allow us to establish a new winter operations model for Mystic Seaport beginning this year, which is described in some detail in the following pages. This new model calls for the Museum to reopen to the public for the entirety of the winter season, but in a manner that focuses primarily on indoor spaces in the Quad and related buildings. It allows us to provide a distinctive and compelling experience for our visitors year-round: one we believe will have something for everyone. What the visitors will experience this winter foretells what will exist when the Thompson Building is open next year, creating an even more dynamic winter experience. At that time, the fullest potential of the Donald C. McGraw Gallery Quadrangle will be realized, and we will have a compelling winter destination for our members and visitors to the Mystic region.
8 — Adventure Series begins
16 — Nautical Nightmares begin
31 — Trick-or-Treat
NOVEMBER 22- — Maritime Miniatures by April 3, 2016 Maritime Masters
27-28 — Field Days
27 — Lantern Light Tours begin
27-Dec. 6 — Members’ Double Discount Days
9 — Newport Mansions Holiday Tour
12 — Santa Claus is Coming
20 — Community Carol Sing
26 through — Holiday Magic Jan. 1, 2016 JANUARY 2016
2 — Chantey Blast and Pub Sing
10 — Maritime Author Series begins
13-15 — Winter’s Aweigh
16-17 — Educators’ Weekend
19 — Pirate Day
During the winter 2015/16, certain parts of the Museum will be opened Thursday-Sunday, starting November 30. However, please check the Museum website for special holiday schedules and closures. Hours of operation for the Collections Research Center, Museum Stores, the Maritime Art Gallery, and Latitude 41° Restaurant & Tavern will also be posted on the Museum website. Museum Administration, Education, and other departments will continue to operate on standard business hours. www.mysticseaport.org
The image used in Stephen White’s “Seascapes” is by
STEPHEN C. WHITE, President
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ANTHONY DAVIS It’s All About the Water pastel, 14” x 28” (Detail)
SUPPORT THE NATION’S PREMIER MARITIME MUSEUM
YOU CAN HELP A NEW GENERATION SEA HISTORY ALIVE. You can strengthen our nation’s premier maritime museum with a gift to the Annual Fund. Your gift supports our exemplary programs in every area of the Museum and ensures the vitality of Mystic Seaport. By making a donation, you will inspire an enduring connection to our nation’s maritime heritage for hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. To make your gift today, please call 860.572.5376 or visit www.mysticseaport.org/support
ANNUAL FUND AT MYSTIC SEAPORT 75 Greenmanville Ave. P.O. Box 6000 Mystic, CT 06355-0990 860.572.5376 www.mysticseaport.org/support
A D VA N C E M E N T N E W S
A MUSEUM IN MOTION CAMPAIGN PROGRESS Alexander Bulazel
By ELISABETH SAXE
ystic Seaport trustee Alexander Bulazel and his wife Amanda recently awarded the Museum
a significant leadership gift to support the A Museum in Motion campaign. Bulazel is also an alumnus of the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program at Mystic Seaport, and he and his wife are dedicated enthusiasts of the Museum’s forward momentum. In reflecting on the decision to take a leadership role in the campaign, Bulazel said, “I was moved to make this gift because Mystic Seaport is a museum transforming itself to be relevant to this and future generations. This project and all its components are exciting,
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dynamic, and will help open a new chapter for America’s maritime museum to display a wonderful heritage with the sea in a setting that is already a national treasure.” Alexander Bulazel shared his gift decision at the recent opening of the Museum’s exhibition “Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers”, the first campaign component to be unveiled in the new Donald C. McGraw Gallery Quadrangle. In total, the A Museum in Motion campaign is a $15,000,000 effort to construct the McGraw Quad and the Thompson Exhibition Building and to support year-round operational capabilities and install four new exhibits. Amanda and Alexander Bulazel were impressed by the exhibit’s interdisciplinary
approach, use of technology, and scholarship and were inspired by the philanthropic leadership of other donors, including trustee Michael Masin and his wife, Joanne, and Museum Board Chairman J. Barclay Collins, II, and his family. In the case of Masin and Collins, each made a current use gift to the campaign and a testamentary gift to ensure the future vitality of Mystic Seaport. The Collinses’ gift underwrites the new 5,000-square-foot gallery in the Thompson Building, designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, which is currently under construction. The Collins Family Gallery will be the first new exhibition space at the Museum in more than a decade, and its state-of-the-art capabilities, soaring ceil-
A D VA N C E M E N T N E W S ings, and reconfigurable walls will enable the Museum to mount dynamic exhibits drawn not only from our own world-class collections but from those of other great museums. Describing his motivation for making the generous donation, Collins said, “In structuring our gift, my family and I wanted to support the current goals of the campaign, but also ensure the Museum can continue to be our nation’s preeminent maritime museum well into the future.” He added, “The Thompson Exhibition Building and the new gallery will allow us to deliver experiences that have the power to inspire and change the way we understand maritime history
as it is designed to provide students with a compelling environment to engage in educational opportunities and also affords the Museum a well-designed space that can be reconfigured to serve multiple purposes.” The generosity of the Collins and Masin families galvanized the Bulazels to join in this effort to catapult Mystic Seaport into the “era of exhibitions.” It is their collective hope that their gifts will likewise encourage others to invest in the Museum, further accelerating the campaign’s momentum and increasing the capacity of Mystic Seaport to deliver high-caliber experiences. These private philanthropists, along with foundations and public funders, are making it possible for Michael and Joanne Masin
Barclay Collins with his grandson, Kai.
and its influence on our own lives. Of equal importance, the Museum’s future sustainability is the responsibility of all of us who care about and recognize the importance of protecting this resource for future generations so they may appreciate our nation’s relationship to the sea.” The Masins’ gift names the flexible riverfront conference/program room in the same new building. The Masin Family Conference Room overlooks the Mystic River and serves as a meeting room, classroom, lecture space, and educational program venue. Masin explained, “We are drawn to the riverfront room
the Museum to move in an important new direction to be operational for all seasons. As progress unfolds on the campaign, donors are enthused by the transformative impact they can already see in the new McGraw Quad and by the innovative design of the 14,000-square-foot Thompson Building. The Quad will provide open vistas and functional access to new and beloved exhibits that will grace the adjacent seven galleries and an outdoor common space suitable for concerts, picnics, and enjoyment of the riverfront setting. The successful completion of the campaign will provide the resources to establish an iconic environment at Mystic Seaport on the northern boundary of the campus that engages visitors year-round, advances our public history model, and provides worldclass venues for the appreciation of our vast collection and loaned exhibitions of global significance. For information about the A Museum in Motion campaign, available naming opportunities, and gift planning, please contact Vice President for Advancement Elisabeth H. Saxe at 860.572.5364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth H. Saxe is Vice President for Advancement.
A sketch of the Masin Family Conference Room in the Thompson Exhibition Building.
PHOTO: KATHLEEN O’ROURKE
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A D VA N C E M E N T N E W S
GRAMP PHOTO: COURTESY OF STEVE CORKERY.
ACBR CELEBRATED 40 YEARS
he Museum’s 40th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous (ACBR) took place on Saturday and Sunday, July 25-26. The event was a great success with
approximately 35 boats participating, ranging in length from 16 to 100 feet. To celebrate ACBR’s 40th anniversary, the Museum introduced the Mystic Sea-
Proud Sponsor of the 40th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Rendezvous
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port Centennial Society. The 25-foot Gramp was inducted into the first class of these 100-year-old vessels. Designed by noted naval architect William Hand and built in 1915 by L. West and George Bonnell of Port Chester, N.Y., Gramp is an excellent example of the fast and seaworthy “Hand v-bottom” launches and runabouts that were plentiful in the decade before the First World War. At Saturday evening’s festive event, “Docktails & Dancing,” guests enjoyed drinks, desserts, and dancing to live music by Rock and Soul Revue. The ACBR concluded on Sunday with the traditional parade of the classic vessels down the Mystic River. Mystic Seaport would like to give special thanks to Grundy Insurance and Dodson Boatyard of Stonington, CT, for their sponsorship of this event and to Jim Grundy who provided such generous use of Summerwind. Mark your calendars: next year’s ACBR will be on July 23-24.
Journey of Transformation M ystic Seaport is again partnering with the Dalvero Academy to offer an exhibit of work by the exceptional artists who are part of this private art school in Brooklyn, New York. “Journey of Transformation: An Exploration of Our Evolving Relationship with the Whale by Dalvero Academy” will open on Saturday, November 21, in the C.D. Mallory Building. The exhibit is expected to run for a year. This exhibit is part of an ongoing effort by Mystic Seaport to reach out to diverse groups and to provide a forum for them to share their work and interests with the public. The Museum serves as a catalyst for others to participate, contribute, and become part of a dialogue with the public. Broader participation enriches the Museum’s offerings and provides alternative points of view.
The Dalvero Academy is a school of drawing, reportage, illustration, design, digital photography, and video. Dal vero is from the Italian, meaning “of the truth.” The Academy was founded on the principles of reportage drawing both as a means of recording the world and contributing to it. “Mystic Seaport strives to inspire an enduring connection to the American maritime experience, and the artists’ work shows how that maritime experience already connects with all our lives,” said Dalvero Academy co-founder and teacher Veronica Lawlor. The relationship between Mystic Seaport and the Academy began when the artists first visited the Museum in 2009, attracted to the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan. The initial collaboration culminated in an exhibit featuring art from Dalvero Academy that documented and reflected on the restoration of the Morgan. That exhibit, on the second floor of the Stillman Building, closed in 2013, but it was such a successful collaboration that we vowed to continue the partnership. Building on their previous work, the artists decided to focus on the 38th Voyage of the Morgan, as it traveled around ports of New England in the summer of 2014. Some of the artists were awarded a coveted spot on board for a leg of the voyage. Others followed the vessel from port to port, drawn to the excitement, pageantry, and thoughtful discernment that the voyage generated. We seized the opportunity to show this latest chapter in their thinking and artistic expression. The historic 38th Voyage of the Morgan has yielded a rich treasure of ideas and artifacts born of the contemplation and expe-
rience of the many participants. The work from Dalvero Academy combines thoughtful perspective with remarkable art in a wide array of media. The 28 artists participating in the exhibit had similar experiences but their manifestations of it are as different as the artists themselves. Jonathan Shay is the Exhibits Special Projects Manager.
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STEVE WHITE – TOURISM LEADER OF THE YEAR IN CONNECTICUT
t the annual Conference on Tourism at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT, in mid-May, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, in partnership with the Connecticut Office of Tourism, announced that one of the five awards, Tourism Leader of the Year, went to Mystic Seaport President Steve White. Recipient White was honored for the Museum’s accomplishments in promoting visitation to the state, most notably through the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan. Upon receiving the award, White said: “I accept this award on behalf of the staff and volunteers at the Museum and everyone who helped us achieve what we have accomplished over the last several years. The tourism business is a team sport and we all share in the work and deserve recognition for a job well done.” The five awards honor and celebrate individuals and organizations that demonstrate excellence in the tourism industry and contribute to the success of the state and its economy.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: ARTHUR DIEDRICK, TOURISM ADVISORY BOARD CHAIRMAN; STEVE WHITE; GOV. DANNEL P. MALLOY; RANDY FIVEASH, CONNECTICUT OFFICE ON TOURISM DIRECTOR. PHOTO COURTESY OF CT COMMISSION ON TOURISM.
FORCE IN MOTION AT SEA
ystic Seaport is unraveling the mysteries of sailing the open ocean for children and adults alike! At the new Discovery Barn exhibit “Force in Motion at Sea,” visitors learn the simple mechanics and physics necessary to sail vessels like the fishing schooner L.A. Dunton through touch, motion, interaction, and most importantly, fun. One of the many banners decorating the exhibit invites visitors to learn how “to make human power into super power,” exactly what the 23-man crew of the Dunton did to successfully sail the 113-ton vessel. This seasonal exhibit offers a variety of hands-on and interactive activities demonstrating important maritime science concepts such as the effects of wind speed and direction, cargo balance, and even the science behind hydrodynamics. For visitors, however, they will feel like they are having a hands-on, sit-on, good time with the knowledgeable interpreters giving further insight about the exhibit. “Force in Motion at Sea” presents different methods for learning, such as picture books, interactive video, photographs, water, air, rope, and stone.
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“I want to see how that works!” is a common exclamation heard throughout the exhibit, and the Discovery Barn has the tools to teach, inspire, and explain. “Children love being in a museum environment where instead of hearing ‘No, don’t touch that!’ they hear, ‘Yes! It’s okay to play with these things!’” mentioned Erik Ingmundson, Interpretation Department supervisor. “We want to provide a space in which parents and children can spend time learning together.” Emily Hutter is a volunteer at the Communication Department.
WITH SOME OF THE PLANKS REMOVED, ONE CAN SEE THE COMPLEX STRUCTURE OF SABINO’S STERN. BELOW RIGHT: WALTER ANSEL (ON THE LEFT) DISCUSSES A DETAIL WITH TREVOR ALLEN.
t has been said that one of the best-kept secrets at the Museum is a cruise on the steamboat Sabino. Built in 1908 in East Boothbay, ME, the 57-foot vessel is a National Historic Landmark vessel and one of the oldest steamboats in operation in the country. As with any boat of Sabino’s vintage, there comes a time when regular maintenance is superseded by the need for more extensive restoration. That moment was reached last year as the keel bolts were nearing mandatory replacement and areas around the shaft log and deadwood in the stern needed attention. (The shaft log is the wood structure through which the propeller shaft exits the hull.) The decision was made to take her out of service for one year so this work and other necessary tasks could be completed in the Shipyard. The project calls for replacement of the stairs, forward decks, horn timber, shaft log, some of the deadwood, and a number of frames, as well as the keel bolts and about 20-25 planks of varying lengths. The work around the stern is the most challenging. “It’s painstaking work because the fits are difficult,” explains Walter Ansel, senior shipwright and the project leader. “The back of the boat is like a cone, so if you imagine the stern as the vanishing point you can see that all the lines gather there, and the perpendicular
frames each have a specific, changing bevel to make all those planks lay flush.” Additionally, the engine, boiler, and other machinery have been removed to enable hull work to be accomplished. During this project, the boiler, which dates back to the 1940s, will be replaced. Sabino was originally constructed of a mix of Maine hardwoods. In this scheme, the white oak frames needing replacement will be fabricated from live oak left over from the Charles W. Morgan restoration. A 10” x 10” curved timber cut to be a futtock on the whaleship could be sawn on a big bandsaw and provide two matching 3" x 3" flitches for frames on the smaller steamboat. “We’ve sort of made a policy that when we can, we shift over to live oak for framing just for the durability. It’s similar to our practice of switching over to bronze screws instead of iron; you get more time out of the option,” said Ansel. Of course, the mandate is to preserve as much original fabric as possible and the keel and some of the deadwood in the problem area was saved. However, that can make for a bit of a puzzle when it comes to assembly. “Sometimes, it’s like working on a Rubik’s Cube: you pull a piece out, put it back in, and say ‘Oh cool, it fits!’, but that turns into ‘How the heck are we going to bolt it?’ when you realize all of the access points are on
the hidden sides,” said Ansel. “It takes a lot of thinking.” The restoration is being funded in part by a $199,806 Maritime Heritage Program grant by the National Park Service in partnership with the Maritime Administration. The program allocates approximately $2.6 million for projects that teach about and preserve sites and objects related to America’s maritime history. Other grants support work on the USS Constitution, the cruiser USS Olympia, and the ironclad USS Monitor. The project is on schedule to return the Sabino to regular operation in May 2016, when she will once again resume her role of taking sightseers on a quiet ride back in time on the Mystic River. Dan McFadden is Director of Communications. To follow updates on Sabino’s restoration, please visit the Shipyard Blog at www.mysticseaport.org/shipyard
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NEW MUSEUM DIRECTORS
abriel “Gabe” Gresko has been appointed the new Director of Visitor Services. Gresko has extensive experience in sales, marketing, customer service, and hospitality. Previously, he worked at Water’s Edge Resort and Spa in the Resort Sales Department, focusing on selling and coordinating destination weddings. Prior to Water’s Edge, Gresko worked as the Manager of Catering and Special Events at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum where he led a team in implementing high-profile events such as The Hartford Insurance Company’s Annual CEO Gala and the CT Host Night for the Special Olympics. Gresko has also worked for other nonprofit institutions, including the Mystic Ballet. “Gabe brings experience and enthusiasm to this position. His commitment to excellent customer service and passion for the Museum programs set a high standard of professionalism balanced with a good sense of humor. Gabe has quickly become an integral member of the Museum staff,” said Susan Funk, executive vice president.
he Museum has appointed a new Director of The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, Monique Foster. She has spent 17 years working at Christie’s auction house in New York City where she gained extensive experience in fine arts management, sales, and operations. Foster is also the former director of Leigh Keno Fine Antiques in New York City. She resides in Old Lyme where she is on the board of the Florence Griswold Museum as well as being involved with a number of other non-profit organizations. “Monique’s expertise will be a terrific asset as we embark on the next chapter of The Maritime Gallery. Her knowledge of fine arts will introduce a new generation of art lovers to the beauty and joy of collecting works from contemporary artists around the world,” said Marcy Withington, executive vice president.
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STUDENTS FROM ST. SCHOLASTICA’S COLLEGE IN GLEBE, AUSTRALIA, POSE FOR A PICTURE AFTER THEIR VIRTUAL CLASS WITH THE MUSEUM’S KRYSTAL ROSE (ON SCREEN).
TAKING VIRTUAL CLASSROOMS OVERSEAS
s part of the Museum’s digital education initiative, six high school students from St. Scholastica’s College in Glebe, Australia, joined Mystic Seaport in mid-August via remote video to learn about public history and American maritime heritage. This was the first international virtual education program for the Museum. Their teacher said that the students were nearing the end of their term and had exams on their minds, but this break from the normal school day gave them a chance to learn about the role that museums play when it comes to teaching the public about history, science, and other subjects. Krystal Rose, manager of Digital Education Initiatives at Mystic Seaport, conducted the virtual class from the video studio in the Museum’s Collections Research Center. She explained the practice of public history through the many activities and programs that the Museum engages in, including the 38th VoyKRYSTAL ROSE EXPLAINS AN age of the Charles W. Morgan. ARTIFACT IN FRONT OF THE STUDIO GREEN SCREEN. The students were particularly intrigued by how a vessel that was once used to kill whales and process them for oil and baleen could also be used to bring awareness to the conservation of marine mammals. They learned about the Museum’s partnership with the scientists of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries during the voyage and about the 85 38th Voyagers who traveled on the ship. Comprised of a diverse group, including scientists, poets, artists, historians, teachers, and other scholars, the 38th Voyagers interpreted and shared the Morgan’s message through their own projects—a great example of public history. In addition, the students also learned about how museums gather and use artifacts in different ways from exhibition to publication. “It was very exciting to be able to share our work with students so far away and to see their curiosity and enthusiasm for the material,” said Rose.
JIM GORDINIER. JIM CARLTON CARLTON WITH ARTICLE WRITER GLENN GORDINIER.
FAREWELL TO I JIM CARLTON
By ByGLENN GLENNGORDINIER GORDINIER
ttisiswidely widelyknown knownthat thatMystic MysticSeaport Seaportattracts attractstaltalented entedand andcommitted committedpeople. people.The Thevolunteer volunteercorps corps that thatdedicates dedicatestens tensofofthousands thousandsofofhours hoursannually annually
includes includesmen menand andwomen womenwho whohave havebeen beenattorneys, attorneys, physicians, physicians,captains captainsofofindustry, industry,financial financialwizards, wizards,artiarti-
WILLIAMS-MYSTIC DIRECTOR RETIRES AFTER 27 YEARS
sans, sans,and andmechanics. mechanics.Among Amongthe theprofessional professionalstaff staffare are interpreters interpreterswho whohave havesailed saileddeep deepoceans, oceans,won wonawards awards in invideography, videography,and andcreated createddesigns designsand andshipwrights shipwrights who whoseem seemto toperform performalchemy alchemywith withoak. oak.One Oneamong among this thistalented talentedand andcommitted committedcadre cadreisisunique: unique:his hisname nameisis James T. Carlton, longtime director of the semester-long James T. Carlton, longtime director of the semester-long
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Williams College-Mystic Seaport Program in Maritime Studies. I have, by all calculations, worked with Jim longer than anyone—26 years! We have picked each other up at around 2:30 a.m. time and again for a West Coast or Southern Louisiana field seminar and then dropped off one or the other at 1:30 a.m. at the end of each sojourn. We and our colleagues, the Williams-Mystic faculty and staff, have shunted students through airport check-ins, driven thousands of miles in student-laden vans, and reveled in the joy of watching inquisitive young minds begin to grasp what Jim has always called “the big picture.” The premise of the semester is that by interacting with the ocean through the avenues of science, literature, history, and policy, one can come to understand how our complex world works: not as discrete events or entities, but as an interconnected web of intricate dynamics; one that we as individuals can affect. Jim himself is an example that one person can, in fact, change our world. His career as a researcher, one that goes on even as he leaves Williams-Mystic, has had impacts far beyond his lab. We are all aware of the phenomenon of bio-invasions, in this case the movement of invasive marine organisms like the zebra mussel or the lionfish. We know of them because scientists like Jim Carlton have studied them and helped
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“ Jim Carlton founded the field of marine bio-invasions research. He invented the field.”
— Dr. John Chapman, Oregon State University
governments create policies to try to protect native species from their devastating incursions for some time now. In the words of Dr. John Chapman of Oregon State University, a leading authority, “Jim Carlton founded the field of marine bio-invasions research. He invented the field.” Jim is not just regarded as the world’s leading expert on marine bioinvasion, but as the father of the discipline. In addition, it has been common for scholars we have met around the country to begin their lecture to our students by telling them that without Jim’s mentoring, they never would have finished their degrees or had the career they enjoyed. In the words of Professor Chapman, “No one else in the field has been as inspirational, compelling, generous, and charismatic.” And not surprisingly, to anyone connected to the Williams-Mystic Program, he added, “Few other people have made the world so much more interesting
and better by merely being themselves.” Jim is all of this, yet humble too. When the program’s research launch was named the Jim and Debbie, after him and his wife, Jim quickly dubbed the boat J&D. Generations of students never realized for what or whom the initials stood. When the alumni who amassed the funds to build the Williams-Mystic Program’s 8,000-square-foot marine lab building insisted that it open under the name James T. Carlton Marine Science Center, Jim immediately decided that we would refer to it as the MSC. We are, as of July 1, retraining ourselves to tell the students that class will meet in “Carlton.” As a teacher, at one institution or another for 46 years, I have never worked with a better teacher than Jim. This is the case in the lecture hall, in the lab, or in the field, and perhaps more than anywhere else in a shoreside rocky intertidal zone. There, Jim is wholly in his element. Whatever item of flora or fauna students might discover, Jim can identify it and explain every aspect of its life cycle. The intensity seen on the faces of the students is a pleasure to behold as he enthusiastically shares his layers of knowledge. I have seen some students who were very reluctant to clamber out among the slimy rocks and immerse themselves in Jim’s world. Yet, through his unselfish and unbridled enthusiasm, he won them
over, and they too marveled as they watched the tube feet of the purple sea star, Pisaster ochraceus, manipulate its prey or a giant green anemone, Anthopleura xanthogrammica, suddenly collapse with the smallest poke of the finger. While he is a prolific author, Ph.D. advisor, Congressional witness, and global leader in his field, Jim is also a kind and caring boss. He has advised and supported his staff and faculty time again, particularly helping twenty-somethings get their feet on the ground and begin their professional career or graduate studies. With all of this comes a delicious sense of humor. He would often strike a pose for a student camera as a faux explorer or drape a sunflower sea star, Pycnopodia helianthoides, over his head, his hand slowly making the “peace sign” (from his undergraduate days at Berkeley, I suspect). “JTC,” as he is called, served as WilliamsMystic’s second director in its 37-year history. For the first decade, the program’s creator, Williams College historian Benjamin Labaree, was at the helm, but Jim has guided the program for the past 27 years. Between 2000 and 2014, I didn’t take a single sabbatical. The reason? I realized that if I did, there would be a Williams-Mystic reunion
where there was a table full of strangers. So for 14 years I kept connected to my students without interruption. During the final weeks before the end of his tenure as program director, Jim found his mind playing back over the years. Not to events or places, but to the faces and memories of his students through the decades. These students remember him too. They remember, for instance, the inevitable time on the road when four or five vans filled with faculty, staff, and students had just shared a memorable moment on a field seminar. Then, while pulling onto the highway again, one after the other, the radios linking the vans would crackle to life, and a loud, long, and heartfelt, “THANKKK YOUUUU, JIMMMM!!” would ring from the passengers in each vehicle. The response was always as subdued as it was from the heart, and Jim’s radio spokesperson would respond, “Jim says, you’re welcome.” And down the road we would roll, a little more enriched and with hearts a little more warmed by his presence. So our professional collaboration ended late in the afternoon of June 30 of this year. Officials from Williams College were in town helping Jim wrap up the paperwork, and they came by my office door. Although they
didn’t realize it as they descended the staircase, JTC and I knew that this was the parting moment. He hung back and, taking my hand, gave me a deep look, familiar from the end of many week-long field seminars and semester closings. We shook hands for the last time. What could we say at the end of so much? His voice was unusually tight, but, as always, he simply said, “Thank you.” My heart was in my throat as well, as I managed to respond, “It was an honor.” Jim has more research and writing to do, and Williams-Mystic is positioned to carry on and welcome new, young minds into the fold. I couldn’t get more than four words out at my office door on that June afternoon, but let me add, for myself, and I believe for many, many more: “Thank you, Jim.
Glenn Gordinier is the Robert G. Albion Historian at Mystic Seaport and Senior Lecturer in Maritime Studies at Williams College.
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M AY F L O W E R I I
THE MUSEUM IN
WINTER By SUSAN FUNK
ach season at Mystic Seaport has its own distinct character and vitality, from the high energy and on-the-water activities of summer days to the brisk colder season with time to explore the exhibits. Visitors discover new and inspiring aspects of the Museum and its collections in every season. This winter, the Museum will be operating year-round once again. Exhibits will be open Thursday through Sunday with a new look and feel. The transformation of the north end of the campus has begun and there is much to discover. We are excited to unveil the first phase of the Donald C. McGraw Gallery Quadrangle that will eventually link the Museum’s seven gallery spaces to create a unified, all-season museum experience like no other. From significant new exhibitions to established favorites like the Benjamin F. Packard Ship’s Cabin—relocated to the second floor of the Stillman Building—the Figureheads Exhibit, the Planetarium, and children’s activities, there will be something for everyone. No matter what the weather brings, join us for active learning and lots of fun! You will be delighted with the scope of artifacts, artwork, and multimedia elements in our new, groundbreaking exhibit “Voyaging in the Wake of the Whalers”. The journey begins from the
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TOP: THE TREWORGY PLANETARIUM WILL OFFER A SPECIAL SHOW RELATED TO THE NEW “SHIPS, CLOCKS & STARS” EXHIBIT. ABOVE: THE ORIGINAL BENJAMIN F. PACKARD SHIP’S CABIN IS NOW LOCATED ON THE SECOND FLOOR IN THE STILLMAN BUILDING AFTER CAREFULLY BEEN TAKEN DOWN, MOVED, AND BUILT UP AGAIN BY THE MUSEUM’S SKILLFUL WORKERS.
moment you enter the building and encounter powerful audio, imagery, and activities that illustrate the complex nature of humanwhale interactions. This multi-disciplinary exhibit draws almost exclusively on the Museum’s own collections and is grounded in contemporary scholarship that combines science, art, and the history of American whaling.
MUSEUM IN WINTER Dalvero Academy bring their artistic vision to life through a variety of media in “Journey of Transformation: An Exploration of Our Evolving Relationship with the Whale by Dalvero Academy”. This is our second collaborative exhibit with the Dalvero artists and promises to surpass the success of the first. Will children have fun? Absolutely! Family-friendly interactive elements are incorporated into all the exhibits. Children can stretch their legs and imaginations on the A YOUNG MAN TRYING OUT THE HOOP IN THE “VOYAGING IN THE WAKE OF THE WHALERS” EXHIBIT.
Across the Quad, the award-winning and visually stunning exhibit “Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude” will lead you through a tale of science, innovation, and discovery that changed the course of history in pursuit of a practical method to measure longitude at sea. This exhibit, on loan from the National Maritime Museum in London, UK, features remarkable artifacts, interactive kiosks, and working replicas of clockmaker John Harrison’s beautiful and intricate H1, H2, and H3 timekeepers. The original case of his H4 watch, which is credited with being the first mechanism to meet the criteria of the British government’s 1714 Longitude Act, is on display. Be sure not to miss this exclusive opportunity. Mystic Seaport is one of only four sites worldwide selected to present this memorable exhibit! In conjunction with “Ships, Clocks & Stars”, a new Planetarium show expands on the concepts of longitude and way-finding illustrated by the night sky as seen by Captain James Cook in Tahiti during his voyages of exploration. There, under constellations like Orion and the Southern Cross, you will discover the connections between astronomical phenomena, night sky views, and the new timekeeping technology. Other special lectures and programs will highlight this exhibit throughout the winter months— check the website for details and updates. A third new exhibit presents original artwork tracing the experiences of the Charles W. Morgan’s 38th Voyage in the summer of 2014. On board and on shore, the professional artists of the Brooklyn-based
outdoor Playscapes and aboard the Morgan. The Children’s Museum is perfect for the imaginative free play of younger children, and the story hour features a new book each day. Older children will enjoy the special programs and range of activities in the P.R. Mallory Building, which include traditional games, art projects, a performance stage shaped like a ship’s deck, a puppet theater, and a book nook. They can try a new
Additional Winter Facts Admittance to the Museum during the winter months will be through the temporary Center Entrance next to the Administration Building at 75 Greenmanville Ave. Visitors are encouraged to park in the north lot across from Latitude 41o Restaurant & Tavern.
craft each week and travel to the stars in
Hours of Operation (beginning November 30)
Thursday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Back by popular demand: our weekend guided tours of the Mayflower II, the Morgan, and the Shipyard. A knowledgeable and experienced staff member will provide special access to these iconic American treasures. Available at a modest fee, the tours have a limited capacity and you are encouraged to make a reservation prior to visiting. Of course, there are inviting places to warm up when you are ready for a break. The Membership Building will be open throughout the day with cocoa and coffee. You can enjoy a light lunch or delicious snack and hot drink at Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern in the Village or stay into the evening on Fridays and Saturdays for dinner at Latitude 41º Restaurant & Tavern. The Bake Shop, Museum Store, and Maritime Gallery will be open for those who wish to pick up a souvenir, book, or original painting by one
Please check the Museum website for special holiday schedules and closures. Open Exhibits The galleries around the McGraw Quad, Planetarium, Children’s Museum, Playscapes, Membership Building and the Morgan. Special ticketed tours will be offered aboard the Mayflower II, the Morgan, and in the Shipyard. Closed Exhibits The Dunton, Conrad, Village, and Shipyard will be closed. Shopping & Dining The Maritime Gallery, the Museum Store & Bake Shop, Latitude 41° Restaurant, and Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern will be open during the winter. Please check the Museum’s website www.mysticseaport.org for hours and for information on special programs throughout the season.
of our Gallery artists. We are very excited to return to a yearround schedule with an experience that is memorable for all who visit. So when the
Susan Funk is Executive Vice President.
cold winds blow, come on over to Mystic Seaport for a breath of fresh air this winter.
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Q U A D U P D AT E
By DAN MCFADDEN ith the opening of the Donald C. McGraw Gallery Quadrangle last July, the first phase of the Museum’s north end construction project was completed. Focus turned to the construction of the Thompson Exhibition Building, the
14,000-square-foot structure that will house critical new exhibition and event space and a new visitors’ entrance and welcome center. Following the site excavation and pouring of footings and the foundation slab over the summer, the structure is now being erected and closed in as the project heads towards its scheduled completion in fall 2016. While the building’s contemporary design grabs the most attention, the engineering and construction techniques that put it together are no less interesting. A major feature of the design are exposed wooden beams, whose giant curve is meant to invoke the frames of a ship or the curl of a wave. The beams are laminated from multiple pieces of Douglas fir at a factory outside of Montreal, Canada. They are 105 feet long and need to be shipped in pieces and assembled on site. The engineers
A Just In Time Building
THE NEW McGRAW QUAD SHORTLY AFTER IT OPENED.
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Q U A D U P D AT E
The limited space around the site presents a challenge for the general contractor A/Z Corporation. They have to stage materials off site or have them delivered prefabricated, and everything must arrive exactly when needed. CREWS BEGIN TO BACKFILL THE SPACE INSIDE THE FOUNDATION OF THE THOMPSON EXHIBITION BUILDING. ONCE THE VOID IS FILLED, UTILITIES WILL BE INSTALLED AND THEN CAPPED WITH A CONCRETE PAD.
cleverly hid the steel plates holding the parts together by inserting them in a kerf, or slot, cut into the beam, leaving only the bolts visible. The limited space around the site presents a challenge for the general contractor A/Z Corporation. They have to stage materials off site or have them delivered pre-fabricated, and everything must arrive exactly when needed. This is a very complex task analogous to the “just-in-time” inventory practices in the manufacturing industry. “I have to say, to A/Z Corporation’s credit, they have been doing an absolutely fantastic job of staying on top of scheduling and working with all the different trades to keep everybody in line, not leaving any stone unturned, but not rushing everybody and making sure everything gets done on time,” said Ken Wilson, the Museum’s Director of Facilities and the project lead. The environmental technology in the building is state-of-the-art and reflects the Museum’s commitment to environmental responsibility. A vast network of 20 wells sunk 465 feet into the ground will circulate fluid to power a geo-thermal heating and cooling system. Since the ground remains a steady 55 degrees year-round, during the wintertime the fluid will transport heat from the ground to the building and in the summer do the opposite. Wilson likens the system to a giant residential heat pump, just one that extracts energy from the ground instead of the air. Aside from the electricity
from the grid used to power it, the system is designed to be 100 percent free of fossil fuels and it is completely redundant. The need to protect the structure and its contents during a hurricane also presented a technical challenge for the engineers. By code, the building must be capable of withstanding winds of 120 m.p.h. So not only did the team have to deal with the traditional snow load on the structure, where there’s dead weight on the roof, but they had to deal with high winds blowing over what’s essentially the top of an airplane wing creating uplift. It ended up being a tricky combination of dealing with downloading and uploading at the same time. “The first six months were the most challenging as we were dealing with 100-year-old underground infrastructure, which was not always where or what it was supposed to be, so there was a lot of conversation about replacing the existing pipes and wiring, bringing it up to current standards, and simply figuring out what we had—all while keeping the north end buildings operational,” said Wilson. “But now that the Thompson Building is starting to take shape, you can begin to see the final vision and that is very exciting.”
WORKERS GUIDE CONCRETE INTO FORMS FOR THE FOUNDATION.
Dan McFadden is Director of Communications.
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Q & A
What was the inspiration for the creation of “Ships, Clocks & Stars”?
Richard Dunn is Senior Curator for the History of Science at the National Maritime Museum in London, UK, and was responsible for the development of the exhibit “Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude”, which is now open in the R.J Schaefer Building. Mystic Seaport Magazine asked him a series of questions to get the story behind the exhibit. ALL IMAGES FOR THIS ARTICLE, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ARE © NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM, LONDON.
Everyone loves an anniversary, and for us it was the fact that 2014 was the 300th anniversary of the first Longitude Act. Passed by the British government in July 1714, the Longitude Act aimed to encourage solutions to the problem of determining a ship’s longitude (east-west position) at sea. This had been a matter of concern for seafaring nations for generations, but it was the 1714 Act that proved to be the catalyst for an extraordinary burst of creativity and innovation that led to one of the most pressing problems of the time being solved. It was a triumph of the Georgian age and one in which the Royal Observatory in Greenwich played a crucial part. The exhibition also drew on a major research project that the National Maritime Museum has been undertaking with
the University of Cambridge. Specifically looking into the history of the Board of Longitude, the popular name given to the group of experts nominated in the 1714 Act to judge and potentially reward longitude schemes. The Board continued to operate until 1828, moving into areas that also included supporting voyages of exploration. Incidentally, the exhibition at Mystic Seaport coincides with another anniversary, since it marks 250 years since a later Longitude Act (of 1765) rewarded both John Harrison for his successful H4 sea-watch— although not without much subsequent wrangling—and two European scholars, Tobias Mayer and Leonhard Euler, for their work on longitude-finding from the Moon.
Why was measuring longitude at sea such an important problem? The Longitude Act of 1714 said it quite
Finding Longitude TEN QUESTIONS FOR CURATOR Richard Dunn
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Q & A
THE ROYAL OBSERVATORY, GREENWICH, WAS COMMISSIONED IN 1675 BY KING CHARLES II AND WAS COMPLETED IN THE SUMMER OF 1676. IT IS ONE OF FOUR MUSEUMS COLLECTIVELY NAMED ROYAL MUSEUMS GREENWICH. THE OTHER THREE ARE THE NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM, QUEEN’S HOUSE, AND CUTTY SARK.
neatly: “Nothing is so much wanted and desired at Sea, as the Discovery of the Longitude, for the Safety and Quickness of Voyages, the Preservation of ships, and the Lives of Men.” In the age of sail, it was quite possible for voyages to take weeks or months; anything that could make sea travel safer and, importantly, quicker was looked upon with great interest. Longer journeys increased the chance of accidents and had a major impact on the health of the crew. If your crew wasn’t well, the voyage could end badly. Time really was money and the financial stakes were high, in particular on the long but highly profitable voyages between Europe and Asia.
How did you approach telling the story of longitude? Longitude has long been a core story in the displays at the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory, so we weren’t starting from scratch. Obviously one of the starting points was the objects already in the Museum and those we thought we might be able to borrow. Thanks to Dava Sobel’s amazingly successful book Longitude, parts of the story have also been widely told to a broad audience, some of whom we certainly expected to be visitors to the exhibition. Starting from all that, we then had to think about the extent to which people generally did understand the historical story, which we tested by talking to dif-
ferent groups of people, from those with a passion for maritime history to those who professed no particular interest. That was very instructive, since it showed us that once you get past the obstacle of that funny word, “longitude,” people could see an interesting tale that brought so many different characters together. We also began to think about what we might add to the generally received account—including what we’ve been saying in our own displays—by drawing on our recent research to tell the story in new ways.
What are some of the themes you wanted to communicate? I think one of the main things we wanted to get across is an apparently simple point: that the most complex problems often take a lot of time and effort to untangle; they’re not solved in a single moment of inspiration. With the longitude story, people were well aware of the problem and had been trying to solve it for generations by 1714. Over the course of the eighteenth century a number of individuals—John Harrison, Leonhard Euler, Tobias Mayer, and others—came up with ways of addressing parts of the problem, but it took until the nineteenth century, with lots of government and commercial support, for longitude-finding to become a routine part of navigation. This is true of all scientific progress—there’s a lot of work to be done from realizing that something is possible to making it happen in practice. It’s a messier
account of how things progress but is an interesting lesson as we think about tackling some of the major problems facing the world today—in particular, problems we believe science can help us tackle. We also wanted to get across the point that there was not a single “winner” in this story. Safe navigation at sea was so important that having more than one way of doing it was seen as a good thing. So traditional methods of navigating, such as dead reckoning, did not cease with the introduction of the new longitude methods. Likewise, it was also important for us to make the point that mechanical timekeeping and astronomical methods were essentially complementary— they worked best when done together, not in competition.
How did you go about selecting the artifacts for the exhibit? When it came to deciding what should and should not be included, it was a hard decision—there was so much more we’d love to have shown. A number of items chose themselves—John Harrison’s famous timekeepers, for instance, of which the touring version at Mystic Seaport has some wonderful working replicas to show with Harrison’s famous H4 sea-watch. We’re delighted not only to be showing these but also one of his early long-case clocks (from a private collection), which was essential to the development of Harrison’s ideas and so helps us round out the stories. As the exhibition features the voyages of Captain Cook, we’ve also been able to bring together a number of items from our own and other collections. But as we wanted to begin by giving visitors some idea of why longitude mattered and what had been going on previously, we also had to think away from the most obvious material.
If you had to pick two or three artifacts that are really special to you, what would they be and why? That’s a tough question, since almost every object is in the exhibition for a special reason. If I had to pick three, I would go for some of the less obviously familiar items, each of which bears close examination. The FALL / WINTER 2015
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Q & A
first would be a compass from our own collection that was made by someone named Ferreira in Lisbon in 1780. It’s a beautiful thing with hand-colored decoration, but also makes an important point about the ongoing attempt to use the Earth’s magnetic field, and in particular magnetic variation, for position-finding—a story that is told less often but which has its own successes and failures and continued right into the nineteenth century. Dutch and Portuguese navigators were using these compasses with some success at least until the lateeighteenth century. The second is one of the smaller objects in the show: watch number “696” made by George Graham (the case by Ishmael Parbury) in 1733. Made by London’s leading clock- and instrument-maker (and an important supporter of John Harrison), its decoration shows the figure of Britannia raising Father Time from the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by instruments of navigation, surveying, astronomy, and time. It is likely that Graham made the watch for an eminent person associated with navigation at a time when John Harrison was working on his first marine timekeeper, so it was topical. You have to look hard, but it’s worth the effort. The third is the portrait of John Arnold and his family, by Robert Davy, 1783–87. It shows watchmaker John Arnold with his wife, Margaret, and their son, John Roger, who later took over his father’s business. Arnold was one of the key makers who took the story from John Harrison’s ideas for a sea-watch to the chronometer as we know it. In the portrait he holds one of his chronometer movements. It’s a wonderfully powerful reminder of his technical skills and the source of his wealth, but also of the importance of family and social status.
TOP: A MARINER’S COMPASS BY JONATHAN EADE CIRCA 1750. MIDDLE: CAPTAIN JAMES COOK BY WILLIAM HODGES, 1728-29. ABOVE: THE ORIGINAL CASE OF JOHN HARRISON’S H4.
One of the aspects of the story that is striking is the number of significant figures—at least for the American audience—who play a role: Newton, Galileo, Cook, Bligh. Does this give one an indication of the importance or scope of the problem? Yes, it absolutely does, and it’s a key
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point we wanted to get across. From the sixteenth century onwards the problem of finding longitude at sea was identified as a particular challenge to philosophers, mathematicians, and artisans alike. The principles of how one might determine longitude were worked out fairly early on. The challenge was how one might actually achieve this in practical terms on a pitching and rolling ship in the middle of the ocean and far from land. This is why seafaring countries with long-distance ambitions such as Spain and the Netherlands began to offer rewards from the sixteenth century onwards. For those who set their mind to the problem—people like Galileo and Newton—I think it was a combination of potential reward but also of prestige in being the one to solve the problem. Cook, Bligh, and others had a different involvement. They were the men who showed that the very new methods using astronomical instruments, timekeepers, and tables could be made to work over the longest of voyages. What is so impressive with them is that these were often voyages to unknown places, places that they might also be charting for the first time (for a European, at least) using the latest technologies and techniques. In an age when we know so much about the world, it’s hard to imagine what these voyages into the unknown must have been like.
How was the quest to find a solution to the longitude problem talked about in its day? Until the late eighteenth century the public perception was very much that it was an impossibility, like the search for eternal life or the philosopher’s stone. As such, it was an easy target for satire, and those engaged in the problem were seen as either mad or likely to be driven mad. Most famously, William Hogarth linked longitude and madness in the final scene of “The Rake’s Progress.” The inmates of the lunatic asylum in which the “hero” of the series is incarcerated include a man sketching longitude ideas on the hospital wall. Satirical references to longitude were prevalent even before the eighteenth century, but became much more common after
Q & A
1714. Some of these are throwaway comments, as in James Miller’s 1730 play The Humours of Oxford, in which a would-be lover exclaims, “For ‘tis easier to discover the Longitude, than the Situation of a Woman’s Heart.” Other references are more extended. And the idea seems to have continued into the nineteenth century. Indeed, when the Board of Longitude was finally disbanded in 1828, the political rhetoric played up what were said to be the “wild ravings of madmen, who fancied they had discovered perpetual motion and such like chimeras” with which the Board’s time was filled.
What other long-running scientific challenge would you compare measuring longitude to? I think you can think of this in a number of ways. There are problems to which the solution or solutions are theoretically understood, the challenge really lying in how to do them affordably. These might include affordable space flight or even making habitable environments on the Moon or other planets. There are also problems to which the solutions are not yet obvious, such as zero-carbon flight or how we can combat or compensate for microbial resistance to antibiotics. To me, however, the biggest challenges are those that may require a complex combination of approaches, in-
A CIRCA 1600 “TERRELLA” (LATIN FOR “LITTLE EARTH”) IS A SMALL MAGNETIZED MODEL OF THE EARTH. IT WAS USED TO INVESTIGATE THE EARTH’S MAGNETIC FIELD.
cluding not only scientific advances but also social changes. I’m thinking, for instance, of how the human race, which is still growing, continues to live on a planet with finite resources.
For the non-sailor and non-history enthusiast, what is it about the quest for longitude that they should appreciate? Firstly, I’d say that this was a problem on which so much intellectual creativity was focused, leading to some amazing advances that had intriguing spin-offs (like the reason your kettle can switch off automatically). I think there are also some tremendously important lessons, in particular about how we see science, politics, and society working together. One can, for example, see the events of the eighteenth century as showing how,
if politics, business, and science work in harmony (more or less), solutions to problems that had once seemed impossible may eventually come. What it takes, however, is long-term investment—of time, money, expertise—and ongoing support for these things to happen. Coupled with this, the longitude story is an interesting model for thinking about how incentives could work in promoting innovation. Here, the story is not straightforward. Several countries had offered rewards for longitude solutions before 1714, but it was in the wake of the British Act that solutions finally came. Incentives alone are not sufficient to guarantee success. What is also needed is the right environment for innovation and, significantly, for developing ideas in principle into tools and techniques that work in practice. It is also essential how we decide what the important problems are. In 1714, the British government was persuaded—largely by the scientific community—that longitude was a problem that needed addressing by offering a huge reward. The question of who gets to decide such things is a crucial one for any society. “Ships, Clocks & Stars” will be open through March 28, 2016. For more information on the exhibit please visit www.mysticseaport.org/longitude
HARRISON’S H1, H2, AND H3 CLOCKS ARE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EXHIBIT IN THE R.J. SCHAEFER BUILDING AT MYSTIC SEAPORT. PHOTO: MYSTIC SEAPORT.
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New Signal Flag Bow Ties & Anchor Ties Now offering bow ties to our collection of distinctive nautical neckwear for every occasion! All of our neckties are crafted from 100% silk. $29.95.
Embossed Christmas Memories Book Christmas Memories Book is a Mystic Seaport bestseller. This 20-year diary has fine calligraphy and drawings by Lynn Anderson. Each year features a pen-and-ink drawing of a different 19th-century tradition, accompanied by an explanation of the holiday custom featured. Record visitors, special Christmas cards, family photographs, and other memories. Available plain for $19.95 or embossed for $38.95. Charles W. Morgan 38th Voyage Decorative Prints In the summer of 2014, the Charles W. Morgan set sail on her 38th Voyage to raise awareness of America’s maritime heritage and to call attention to issues of ocean sustainability and conservation. We are now offering stunning images from this historic voyage. Available in three sizes, each photo is matted, signed by the photographer, and embossed with the 38th Voyage logo. 8 x 10 print in a 14 x 18 matte – $75 11 x 14 print in a 16 x 20 matte – $100 16 x 20 print in a 23 x 27 matte – $175
2016 Classic Sailing Calendar Rosenfeld Collection The beauty and the thrill of sailing are captured in this stunning Classic Sailing Calendar that includes vintage photographs taken between 1881 and 1992 from the Rosenfeld Collection at Mystic Seaport. Each vessel is identified by date, location, and builder. There is also information about the specific event recorded in the image and quotations that every seafarer will appreciate. Retails for $14.99.
Deck Prisms Replica Deck prisms available in two sizes. In the days before electricity, light below deck on a vessel was provided by candles, oil, and kerosene lamps, which were all dangerous aboard a wooden ship. The prisms were laid flat in the deck and drew light below. Deck prisms come in decorative gift packaging and are perfect gifts for awards, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or graduation! Our glass is hand-poured in the United States. Due to the nature of the hand-cast process each piece is unique. Small deck prisms are available in nine colors and retail each for $16.95. Large deck prisms are available in two colors and retail each for $29.95. Visit mysticseaport.org and shop online; enter SAVE10 during checkout to save 10% on your next order! Offer expires Jan. 31, 2016, and is available online only.
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L. Francis Herreshoff:
YACH T D E S I G N E R
b y R o g e r C . Ta y l o r An appreciation by Llewellyn Howland, III
oger C. Taylor’s friendship with L. Francis Herreshoff began when Taylor was an undergraduate at Milton Academy. By 1972, the year of Herreshoff’s death, it had lengthened and deepened to the point where Taylor had become Herreshoff’s editor and publisher for the classic book Sensible Cruising Designs. He further celebrated the Skipper’s achievement with the publication of An L. Francis Herreshoff Reader in 1978. Now, at last, Mystic Seaport has published the magisterial first volume of Taylor’s long-awaited biography, L. Francis Herreshoff: Yacht Designer. And now, at last, we may begin to take the full measure of this fiercely proud and independent, easily wounded, severely dyslexic, and vastly creative and expressive naval architect and marine artist. For many readers, Taylor’s account will come as a surprise. Francis Herreshoff, who was born in 1890, received virtually no encouragement from his world-famous father, Captain Nat “The Wizard of Bristol” Herreshoff. Compelled as a young man to attend agricultural college and to run the family farm, he seemed destined for a lifetime of rural drudgery. After service with the U.S. Navy in the First World War, Herreshoff was able to take his first serious steps toward a career in yacht design. Only after five years working under his friend and mentor W. Starling Burgess was he ready to strike out on his own. Yet, the boats designed by Herreshoff during his first decade of practice remain some of the most exciting and, in some
ISTALENA – MYSTIC SEAPORT, ROSENFELD COLLECTION, 34702F.
instances, revolutionary yacht plans of the 20th century. Among them were the astonishing R class sloops Yankee and Live Yankee, the fabulous M class boat Istalena, and more. Although his subsequent development as a designer of racing yachts was blighted by the heartbreaking failure of the J class boat Whirlwind in the 1930 America’s Cup trials, much of Herreshoff’s most influential work lay ahead of him, as did a succession of articles and books on aspects of yacht design, yacht cruising, and yachting history that have informed and inspired generations of boat lovers throughout the world. I cheerfully acknowledge that J. Revell
Carr, former longtime director of Mystic Seaport, and I were among those who 25 years ago urged the Museum to commission Roger C. Taylor to undertake this biography. It was the easiest publishing decision we ever had to make. A quarter of a century later, publisher Mary Anne Stets, book designer Trish LaPointe, editors Andrew German and Connie Stein, and the entire staff of Mystic Seaport have done their part to insure that L. Francis Herreshoff: Yacht Designer is in all respects worthy of its author and its subject. Llewellyn Howland, III, is a writer, editor, and antiquarian maritime bookseller. His biography of naval architect and yacht designer W. Starling Burgess, No Ordinary Being, was co-published by Mystic Seaport earlier this year. FALL / WINTER 2015
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ON BOOKS STAFF PICKS
W Sextant By DAVID BARRIE
hat a pleasure it was to read Sextant in order to provide this review. I was at once captured by the fact that David Barrie would lead us on a voyage of discovery and take us on a diverse adventure through the grand historical landscape of navigation. He helps us see that landscape through the lives and experiences of some of the world’s greatest sailors and explorers, all of whom sought to discover new lands while needing to know their new location versus where they had once been. While many of the readers may know some of the greatest and most famous stories of the sea through Bligh, Cook, Flinders, or Slocum, we find in Sextant elements of maritime history not well understood or rarely put in the context of one another. Thus, we see the entire picture of navigation through the challenges of exploration and adventure. We revisit these stories through the eye piece of the sextant itself, and one of the more interesting elements of the book is that we gain a more recent perspective through Barrie’s own lens and
I The Complete Illustrated Edition
Wreck of the Whale Ship Essex By OWEN CHASE
t sometimes takes a village to tell a story. With the wreck of the whaleship Essex, the story begins with First Mate Owen Chase’s account. Since then, generations of storytellers, including Herman Melville, have added literature and art to the original narrative. As this tragic story continues to fascinate us almost 200 years after its initial publication, we are introduced to a new work: The Complete Illustrated Edition – Wreck of the Whale Ship Essex. Following an Introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winner Gilbert King, the work includes excerpts from literature and historical documents, beautiful photographs, and stunning illustrations amassed and woven into Chase’s account. A sperm whale attacks and sinks the whaleship Essex in 1820. Confined to just three whaleboats, 20 men suddenly face their first crucial decision: to sail to the nearby Marquesas or Society Islands and risk encountering cannibals or to sail south and risk starvation. Primal fear wins: the fear of being eaten alive by cannibals proves too much. They head south. A few weeks after their departure from the floating wreck, Henderson Island is sighted.
his log. In 1973, he completed his first Atlantic crossing on Saecwen as a very young man, and I enjoyed the parallels between his voyage across the North Atlantic and my first crossing in 1975, both featuring major gales and both relying entirely on celestial navigation, pre-LORAN and GPS. It is this personal experience with the sea and the use of a sextant that helps break up the well-developed history of navigation. Anyone who has spent time at sea will find elements of Sextant that will resonate, whether it is the challenges of a North Atlantic gale, the ice off Antarctica, or the raging weather confronting many a rounding of Cape Horn. As Mystic Seaport welcomed the new exhibit “Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude” in September this year, reading Sextant helps put John Harrison’s work and the challenges of the 18th century in meaningful context. Consequently, it is an appropriate and timely read for all Mystic Seaport members, and I highly recommend it. Steve White is President of Mystic Seaport.
The newly-illustrated edition of Chase’s account includes many photographs of the island and images of native birds and marine and plant life. The layers of material help us to understand how three men ultimately decide to remain on the island and await rescue. The others climb back into their whaleboats and continue south. Starvation soon begins to plague the men. Ironically, having originally decided to steer clear of cannibals, the men are forced to eat one another in order to survive. In the illustrated edition, the reader is invited to pause here and look at Theodore Gericault’s “The Raft of the Medusa.” No painting better captures the wretchedness of starving men lost in the ocean. A thorough telling of this story requires a community of contributors. This edition brings together much of this community. It is apropos then that it begins and ends with photographs of the Charles W. Morgan, the last wooden whaleship in the world, now docked at Mystic Seaport. This beautiful hardcover book is a must-have for storytellers. Jason Hine is a member of the Interpretation Department.
TO ORDER THESE OR OTHER BOOKS,PLEASE CALL 860.572.5386, OR EMAILMSMBOOKSTORE@EVENTNETWORK.COM DON’T FORGET YOUR 10% MEMBERS’ DISCOUNT! MEMBERS’ DOUBLE DISCOUNT DAYS NOV. 27-DEC. 6. REMEMBER WE SHIP ANYWHERE!
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Books Written by Mystic Seaport Staff, Former Staff, and Volunteers
BY ANDREAS AF MALMBORG (TEXT) AND OLA HUSBERG (PHOTOS) First published in 1998 and now re-issued in English, Wooden Boats, with the sub-title “The Art of Loving and Caring for Wooden Boats,” is a gorgeous book about gorgeous boats. Swedish author Andreas af Malmborg and photographer Ola Husberg write in the preface that the book “is about pleasure boats made from wood. We’ve tried to describe what makes them beautiful, fun, enchanting, practical, and special.” They continue, “No country has a greater wealth of unique wooden boats than Sweden,” which might seem to be a bold statement, but after studying Husberg’s stunning photographs of just a few of his native country’s large fleet of wooden boats, one is likely to agree with af Malmborg and Husberg. This is not only a coffee-table book with fabulous photographs; each chapter contains a wealth of information when it comes to the history of these wonderful wooden boats.
Dark Places of the Earth: The Voyage of the Slave Ship Antelope BY JONATHAN M. BRYANT Before the Amistad, there was the Antelope. In 1820, a U.S. revenue cutter captured the Spanish slaver Antelope off the coast of Spanish Florida. The vessel carried 281 slaves. While slavery was legal in half of the United States, the Atlantic slave trade was not. A court would need to decide if the captives—many of them children—were free men and women or if they belonged to someone in the eyes of the law. In other words, were the natural rights of liberty more important than the rights of property? This court case, which dragged on for seven long years and took a tremendous toll on the captives, who were set to work in the Savannah area, became a legal battle fought on murky waters. Jonathan M. Bryant tells an incredible tale of the grim history of the international slave trade.
Trapped Under the Sea BY NEIL SWIDEY The year 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the so-called Boston Harbor cleanup. It is also the 15th anniversary of its completion as well the completion of the Deer Island tunnel. The project came to be regarded as an environmental triumph that transformed the city of Boston. However, the success came with a very high price, Neil Swidey writes in his suspenseful Trapped Under the Sea. The author went through thousands of documents and conducted hundreds of interviews to present the lives of five commercial divers who are at the core of the story. When bad decisions were made that would endanger the project, the five divers were sent into the tunnel. Only three would make it out alive. This book is a masterful tale about brave men working in a claustrophobic world.
The Devil’s Cormorant: A Natural History BY RICHARD J. KING In The Devil’s Cormorant: A Natural History, Richard J. King, who teaches Literature of the Sea with The Williams College-Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program, builds up a case for the world’s most misunderstood waterfowl, the cormorant. This bird has for a long time been a symbol of gluttony, greed, bad luck, and evil. Already demonized in early literary works such as Olaus Magnus’s 1555 Description of the Northern Peoples and John Milton’s 1667 Paradise Lost, the dark description of this animal continued in verse and prose by literary giants like Shakespeare, Scott, Shelley, Coleridge, Melville, Browning, Verne, Longfellow, Yeats, and, in our time, Hughes. In his studies, King has found a somewhat different, almost sympathetic view of the bird in a tale by the semi-famous Irish author Liam O’Flaherty. In his well-written The Devil’s Cormorant, King tries to explore, he writes, “from where derives the anger toward cormorants, which is especially widespread in North America and Europe.” The bird has been hunted to extinction in the Arctic, trained by the Japanese to catch fish, and exterminated by sport and commercial fishermen around the world. King takes us back in time to show us the history, nature, ecology, and economy of the cormorant.
Steamboats on Long Island Sound BY NORMAN J. BROUWER With well-researched comments and captions to old photographs and drawings, mostly from his own collection, Norman J. Brouwer, a volunteer at the Museum’s Collections Research Center, has created a treasuretrove for anyone interested in the rich history of steamboats. In Steamboats on Long Island Sound, the author tells the stories of steamboats that linked New York with major cities and towns in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and southern Massachusetts. Between 1815 and 1942, steamboats on Long Island Sound ferried passengers and, with the expansion of industries in southern New England, raw materials to mills and factories, and then their finished products, making the steamboat lines a lucrative business. This led to the construction of more elegant steamboats, “floating palaces.” This is a book for steamboat lovers.
A Yank at Cambridge – B.H. Howell: The Forgotten Champion BY GÖRAN R BUCKHORN In the fall of 1894, Benjamin Hunting Howell, of New York, began to study at Trinity Hall in Cambridge, England. Soon young Howell found himself out boating on the River Cam, and he became a very successful oarsman during the late 1890s, first in the colors of the college’s Trinity Hall BC and later for the Tideway club, Thames RC. Howell took several trophies on the Cam, at Henley Royal Regatta (twice the winner of the Diamond Challenge Sculls), and the Wingfield Sculls, the amateur championships of the Thames and Great Britain in the single sculls. In A Yank at Cambridge, Göran R Buckhorn, editor of the Mystic Seaport Magazine, not only tells the tale of the “forgotten champion” Hunting Howell, he also depicts many of the American’s famous contemporary oarsmen, coaches, and rowing writers. This rowing bibliography is for anyone who has once plied an oar or two sculls.
Signal Flags BY ANDREW W. GERMAN In Signal Flags, a 24-page pamphlet, Andrew W. German, the former editor of The Log of Mystic Seaport and the former director of Publications at Mystic Seaport, gives a brief description of the use of maritime signal flags by U.S. vessels. This is followed by large images of signal flags, from Alpha (“I have a diver down; keep well clear at low speed”) to Zulu (“I require a tug”). The little publication also has images of the four NATO substitute flags and number flags. This is a handy little book about the language of the sea.
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Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania BY ERIK LARSON (Crown Publishers, 2015, 430 pages) Reviewed by GÖRAN R BUCKHORN
At 2:10 p.m., Kapitänleutnant Walther Schwieger gives an order to his crew on U-Boat-20 to fire a torpedo towards the target he sees in his periscope. The crew can hear the familiar “whoosh” and feel the submarine tremble when the torpedo leaves its tube. Kptlt. Schwieger steps aside so his “war pilot,” Lanz, an expert on identifying vessels by looking at their silhouettes, can peer through the periscope. Lanz says, “My God, it’s the Lusitania.” It was a warm and beautiful day, the sea still, and the British Cunard Line’s passenger ship, the 787-foot Lusitania, was off the southern coast of Ireland, heading for St. George’s Channel. She was approximately 16 hours from her destination, Liverpool. After lunch, the passengers were strolling on the ship’s decks when suddenly the bow look-out yelled: “Torpedo coming on starboard side!” Passengers leaned on the rails to see bubbles forming a track coming towards the Lusitania. The 20-foot long torpedo was travelling 10 feet below the surface at a speed of 35 knots. Many passengers could not move: they were transfixed by the object approaching the passenger liner. James Brooks, a salesman from Connecticut, said, “It was a beautiful sight.” The torpedo hit Lusitania's starboard side close behind the bridge, and as 350 pounds of explosives detonated, it created a 40-foot wide, 15-foot high hole in the hull— “a geyser of seawater, planking, rope, and shards of steel soared upward to twice the height of the ship.” William Turner, captain of the Lusitania, had just come out from his cabin on A Deck when he heard the cry of “torpedo.” The explosion threw Turner off balance, and with debris and seawater raining down on him, he ran up to the bridge to take command. A notice had appeared in the New York newspapers on May 1, the date of the Lusitania’s departure from New York, in which the German Embassy in Washington, D.C., warned passengers not to travel on board vessels that were headed for the war zone (as proclaimed by Germany) around the British Isles and Ireland. But despite the increasing threat of being attacked by German submarines, Capt. Turner never believed that a U-boat commander would dare to try to sink a passenger liner as large and fast as the Lusitania. He was wrong. It only took 18 minutes for the gigantic ship to disappear into the deep of the sea. For the 100-year anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania, a disaster that took 1,198 lives, including 123 Americans (some sources say 128) and, ironically, three German stowaways, and only had 764 survivors, renowned author Erik Larson has published Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. As with Larson’s other non-fiction books, Dead Wake is properly researched, well written, and entertaining drama in all its tragedy, and it reads like a thriller, filled with captivating characters. The author cleverly alternates the chapters between the ocean liner and the submarine.
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However, Larson offers no more answers or clarifications to the many mysteries that surround the sinking of the Lusitania than, for example, historian Diana Preston was able to provide in her Lusitania: An Epic Tragedy (2002). After the torpedo had detonated there was a second explosion. Was that a load of munition that blew up? The super-secret spy group Room 40, working for the British Admiralty, had tracked U-20 since April 30, but the Lusitania received no warning that the German U-boat was lurking in the Irish Sea. Why was the ocean liner left without escort from the Royal Navy when she entered British waters? When the news of the sinking reached HMS Juno, based in Queenstown, on the south-eastern coast of Ireland, the old cruiser immediately left the harbor to come to Lusitania’s aid but was called back by the Admiralty. It is easy to appoint Kptlt. Walther Schwieger, who was adored by his crew, the great villain in this story, but in an interview Larson said about Schwieger: “He was a submarine commander whose sole mission was to sink as much British tonnage as possible. This was war, he did his job.” In April 1917, Schwieger was given command of U-88, a new, larger submarine, and a few months later, he was awarded the German navy’s highest award, “the Blue Max,” for having sunk 190,000 gross ton of vessels. In September of the same year, U-88 steered into a British minefield in the North Sea and was never seen again. With all the naval intelligence that the British Admiralty possessed about U-20, some responsibility for the disaster has to be shared by the Admiralty, which at the time was led by First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, and his number two, First Sea Lord Admiral Jacky Fisher. To this day, many of these mysteries of the Lusitania are still unsolved, as the Admiralty quickly put the lid on. To divert any suspicion of wrong-doing, the Admiralty found a scapegoat in the brave Capt. Turner, who had stayed at his post till the sea had swallowed the bridge. Larson writes that the late British naval historian Patrick Beesly, himself an officer in the naval intelligence during the Second World War, did extensive research on the passenger liner and the work in Room 40. Beesly was of the opinion that the harm put in Lusitania’s way was “an unforgivable cock-up,” and he would later say that “the most likely explanation is that there was indeed a plot, […], to endanger the Lusitania in order to involve the Unites States in the war.” The sinking of the Lusitania turned American opinion against Germany, although it took another two years before President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany, in April 1917. PHOTO: BENJAMIN BENSCHNEIDER
Friday, May 7, 1915.
Göran R Buckhorn is the editor of the Mystic Seaport Magazine.
W H AT ’ S U P ?
What’s Up? Meet the Spooks
Calling all kids! Join us for trick-or-treating— perfect for children age 10 and younger. Dress in costume and walk along the pumpkin path to the Museum’s Village where spooks are hiding to fill your trick-or-treat bags, compliments of Citizens Bank, which is sponsoring this event. The Membership Office would appreciate your pre-registration at 860.572.5331 (October 31).
In the Museum’s Gift Shop, Members’ Double Discount Days starts the day after Thanksgiving and lasts through Sunday, December 6. Almost everything in the store and online is 20% off for members, except sale items and original art. The Museum store is open until 9:30 p.m. on Lantern Light Tour evenings, Nov. 27, 28, and Dec. 4, 5 (November 27-December 6).
Mind Your Ps and Qs
Ho, Ho, Ho…
Sign up and learn how to design, set, and print a holiday greeting card on a 19th-century press. Attend four consecutive Monday classes where you will discover the upper and lower cases, set type in a composing stick, quoin a phrase, make good impressions, and go home with 12 cards and envelopes. All materials are provided (starting November 2).
Bring the children to meet Santa Claus in the Membership Building at 1-3 p.m. He is eager to hear if they have been good and if they have any special Christmas wishes. Then enjoy a cup of cider and cookies to celebrate the season (December 12).
1876 Christmas Eve Join us for the 36th annual Lantern Light Tours at Mystic Seaport. Set on Christmas Eve in 1876, this play unfolds through five scenes in exhibit buildings around the Museum’s Village. To complete this unique theatrical experience, Lantern Light Tours also includes several seasonal highlights such as a horse-drawn carriage ride, a spirited circle dance, and, just perhaps, a visit with old St. Nick himself (starting November 27).
The Oldest Tradition at Mystic Seaport Welcome to Mystic Seaport’s 61st annual Community Carol Sing led by Jamie Spillane. Bring a canned good for the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center and enjoy the Museum and the Carol Sing for free. The Mystic Seaport Carolers will perform in the Greenmanville Church at 2 p.m. The day will conclude with the Carol Sing at 3 p.m. The Treworgy Planetarium will present a free seasonal program at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. (December 20).
A Must-Read! Ships, Clocks, and Stars: The Quest for Longitude BY RICHARD DUNN AND REBEKAH HIGGITT Ships, Clocks, and Stars: The Quest for Longitude is the companion book to the exhibit of the same name now open in the R.J. Schaefer Building at Mystic Seaport. Authors Richard Dunn and Rebekah Higgitt recount the pursuit of the measurement of longitude at sea, which stumped some of the finest minds of Western civilization for nearly 300 years. Commissioned by the National Maritime Museum in London, the book is an illustrated chronicle of the story, and in many ways it takes over where the exhibit leaves off. It presents additional information, historical context, and artifact photographs that add depth to the story of what the British dubbed the “longitude problem.” However, the book is far more than the typical exhibit catalog: it is a beautifully illustrated and designed hardcover that uses the photographs and illustrations to enhance the reading experience and bring the epic quest for longitude to life. For those who wish to learn more about the story, this is a very good place to start. . FALL / WINTER 2015
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FROM THE COLLECTIONS
A BOU T
P I C T U RE
Whose Boat Is That, Anyway?
By PAUL O’PECKO
T he image seen here represents two distinct objects from the
collections of Mystic Seaport. On the left side is a detail from a fold-out plate of private signal flags from the Constitution for the Government of the New York Yacht Club (1860). On the right is a detail from an oil painting by James E. Buttersworth depicting the New York Yacht Club race on June 3, 1858, from Staten Island around the Southwest Spit buoy. The main subject of the painting is the yacht Haswell, built in Mystic in 1858 by D.O. Richmond from a design by Charles Henry Mallory. Initially owned by Mallory, by 1860 she had been sold to Henry Butler of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and remained a yacht under various names for sixty years, until 1920. Looking at the painting, the owner’s private signal stands out clearly as a swallowtail with the upper half red, the lower half blue, overlaid in the center by a white waning crescent moon. In examining the plate of private signals, Haswell’s is easy to pick out in the center of the plate. There are four other sloop yachts in the full painting, three of which can also be identified by their owners’ private flags. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate the practical use of yacht club yearbooks for researchers. Initially, the annuals were used to lay down the letter of the law for the club while detailing the club’s members and the boats they owned. People often wish to know the history of their boat, or their grandfather’s boat, and using yacht club annuals, as well as published yacht registers,
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helps in their quest. Flags, as has ever been the case, were used for identification purposes as well. Whether used to determine race participants from afar, as was the case for Buttersworth in his artistic endeavors, or in helping other boaters determine who was out on the water on a particular day, flags served many purposes. Now, however, 19th- and early 20th-century yearbooks help us determine the names of the boats that appear in paintings or photographs and can also enable us to track down the dates of individual races. Knowing the names of the yachts, and their owners, adds value to a painting and often helps verify the provenance of a particular picture. The Museum has a wealth of information in yearbooks of many different clubs over the years, but we do have a number of gaps in the earliest annuals. Any pre-1920 yacht club yearbook can be a boon to researchers. And while we have representations from clubs from New York, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, and many more, we are always on the lookout for any early annuals to help us track down as many boats and owners as we can. Paul O’Pecko is Vice President of Collections and Research and Director of the G.W. Blunt White Library at Mystic Seaport.
To get more information about Mystic Seaport’s Collections Research Center and online resources, please visit http://library.mysticseaport.org
World-class entertainment found right in your community. Citizens Bank is pleased to support the Mystic Seaport Lantern Light Tours. We believe in making a difference within the communities we serve and we support those who share the same spirit and dedication.
Member FDIC. Citizens Bank is a brand name of Citizens Bank, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. 558863
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INSPIRE A YEAR OF EXPLORATION & DISCOVERY
GIVE THE GIFT OF MEMBERSHIP Your gift of a Mystic Seaport membership will open a new world for a friend or family member. Give a gift this year and we’ll send you – and your friend – a 2016 Mystic Seaport calendar. Plus – WE WILL EXTEND YOUR OWN MEMBERSHIP BY THREE FULL MONTHS.* And now with select exhibits open all year round, there’s even more time to enjoy your membership! To purchase a gift membership call 860.572.5339 or visit our website, www.mysticseaport.org/membergift *This is a limited time offer.
SEA HISTORY ALIVE
7/21/15 1:16 PM