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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bringing 'Old Ironsides' Crew to Life

The folks at the USS Constitution Museum are in the process of an impressive project that looks below the surface of a national monument by looking at the individuals who served aboard CONSTITUTION during the War of 1812 and how their experience aboard affected them, their families, and the country.

Building upon a database created by former Commanding Officer, Tyrone Martin, two Research Coordinators, Lauren McCormack and Matt Brenckle will expand that database and add information about the crew gained from months of research in the Naval War and maritime records. The immediate outcome of the project is to be "Sailor's Speak", an exhbit giving voice for the first time to the ship’s company. The long term benefits of the resulting database will provide scholars and researchers with ways of seeing each sailors' life at sea in ways that were previous unimaginable.

Yesterday I met with Museum Curator Sarah Watkins and Research Coordinator Lauren McCormack. Aside from hearing some great stories about the Crews, we talked about the project and its potential. I can easily see how their work can serve as a prototype for other projects wishing to explore the people who went to sea and the extent of their lives both at sea and on land.

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