Fan of Full Fathom Five? Be sure to check it out at its new home!

Monday, April 30, 2007

CFP: New Researchers in Maritime History 2008

The sixteenth New Researchers in Maritime History Conference, managed by the British Commission for Maritime History and sponsored by the Society for Nautical Research, will be hosted by the University of Salford, Greater Manchester, UK, on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 March 2008.

The Conference provides an opportunity for those who have recently become engaged in research in maritime history (broadly defined) to present a paper of twenty minutes duration and then answer questions from a supportive audience.

Proposals should take the form of a 200-word abstract and a one-page CV. Your CV should have details of your degrees or other qualifications; your current student or employment status; and your publications (if any). Proposals (email attachment preferred) should be sent by 9 November 2007.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Position (sort of) South Street Seaport

Is this common museum practice or something new? Given that education, in tandem with collecting, is the foundation of the museum mission I find the use of non-regular non-staff to provide a primary service disconcerting.

South Street Seaport is seeking Per Diem Educators is to teach Museum-based programs to visiting school groups, afterschool programs, camp groups and other youth and community organizations, as well as occasional weekend family programs.

Per Diem educators are part-time Museum employees. Hours generally consist of weekday mornings, averaging 2-3 days per week, as well as occasional weekend afternoons. Pay rate is $15 per hour for a minimum of four hours; training rate is $9 per hour.

Please send a cover letter and resume to Manager of School and Family Programs, South Street Seaport Museum, 12 Fulton Street, New York, NY 10038, fax to 212-748-8610, or email

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

And then there were six

Radio Praha reports the discovery of a rare 16th century nautical atlas in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia.

While moving a safe containing rare documents to a new building, historians at the Research Library in Olomouc, found a seven-page nautical atlas that was hand-made in 1563. The richly coloured parchment with gold and silver linings shows the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and the northern part of the Atlantic. Made by the Catalan cartographer Jaume Olives, there are only five others in the world - in Barcelona, New York, Florence, Milan, and Valenciennes in France.

If anyone can read Czeck, supposedly the maps have been digitized and are available on their website: I can't but that site is an amazing map source!

Many thanks to B. Russell for this story lead.

Monday, April 23, 2007

NAOSH Annual Conference

Gene Smith from the North American Oceanic Society for History would like to remind everyone that the Annual Conference is less than a month away!

The conference entitled "The Merchant Marine in Peace and War" is being held at the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY.

The program line up is impressive, and some great behind the scenes tours have also been arranged.

Sadly I'll be unable to attend but if someone would like to report on the events, I'd really like to post them.

Auction News: A Paradox

While we rarely talk about the monetary value of our Maritime Collections (Priceless!), others are turning larger and larger profits from collecting and selling them. Recently a bill of sale for the Charles W. Morgan sold on e-bay to an announmous purchaser for over $1600.00. Antiques Roadshow is repeatedly asked to value maritime artifacts, from pilot charts to schrimshaw (and fakeshaw). Now a major Early Australian Private Collection is heading for the auction block.

While the bulk of the collection contains convict related materials the related news story and auctioneers at Bonhams & Goodmanare are quick to point out that the sale will also include:

early whaling hand held harpoons including one from the Charles W. Morgan, an American whaleship which hunted extensively in Australian and New Zealand waters and which has been preserved at Mystic Seaport in the US. Other rare whaling items include whale guns and bomb lance guns used widely during the latter years of the sail era.

Both the e-bay item and the harpoon are gaining added value because a museum preserves the original artifact. I often run across similar value claims regarding other maritime-museum related items. It is, in fact our preservation efforts that make it harder and harder for us to acquire related items. Of course, at the same time, we tend to be the beneficiaries of donors who wouldn't know of us otherwise and just want their family history to have a good home.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Professional maritime historian hired for Maritime Museum

see article in the Times-Picayune.

The Lake Ponchartrain Basin Maritime Museum

Job Posting: Wisconsin Maritime Museum Curator

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum, an AAM accredited institution and Smithsonian Affiliate, is seeking an experienced curator. Knowledge of American naval history and Great Lakes maritime history and culture is a plus. Understanding of the historical and environmental significance of the Great Lakes watershed is essential.

The curator will be responsible for the development of exciting new exhibits as well as maintenance and enhancement of existing exhibits. The curator will collaborate with the Museum Educator to make the Museum’s collections and the region’s history accessible to the public through innovative, academically grounded educational programming. The curator will supervise the Registrar/Collections Manager in the care and management of the Museum’s substantial archives and collections, including USS Cobia.

NOTES: North American Residents Only. Employer will assist with relocation costs. Salary commensurate with qualifications and experience. Salaried, exempt position with excellent benefits, including health insurance, 3 wks pd. vacation, and 403(b) with employer contribution. Relocation allowance.

Qualifications • Minimum, M.A. in museum studies, public history, history or other appropriate field of study with 5-7 years of museum experience. Ph.D. in field of interest is highly desirable. • Curatorial experience, including experience developing/designing/installing exhibits. • Meticulous research and writing skills, excellent verbal communication skills. • Excellent organizational/supervisory skills. • Strong interpersonal skills; must work effectively in collaborative team environment. • Self-motivated, energetic leader with ability to visualize the future.

For more information

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Its between that and flipping burgers"

Such was the lead comment of "Deadliest Catch" Captain Sig Hansen on the "Daily Show." The interview is pretty good and deals with how hard it is to crab, and the conflicts on board ship and 'breaking ice."

Not only is Sig Hensen the most famous Alaskan crab fishing captain, he and his brothers also have a myspace page. How many fishermen have these? Are they valuable maritime artifacts? Are museums preserving these?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Does any body really know what time it is?

For between $7,800 and $173,100 you can buy a Swiss watch made from a piece of the Titanic's hull.

Geneva watchmaker Romain Jerome said it purchased a piece of the hull weighing about 1.5 kg (3 pounds) that was retrieved in 1991, but declined to identify the seller. The metal has been certified as authentic by the Titanic's builders Harland and Wolff.

Jerome noted that "So many rich people buy incredibly complicated watches without understanding how they work, because they want a story to tell," he said. "To them we offer a story."

...and I thought that is what museums do! and so they do...

Independence Seaport Museum has just launched the online exhibit
Titanic Survivor: Selections from the Thayer Family Collection

Friday, April 13, 2007

Traveling Exhibit Anyone?

Shanghai's National Maritime Museum, set to open in September 2009, is having trouble finding enough exhibits to fill the space and has appealed for donations from both home and abroad.

"We are looking for valuable items that record the changing of the country's maritime development," Xu Peixing, an official in charge of the preparation work for the museum, was quoted as saying by Xinhua News Agency.

China News Story

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Book Review to Go!

The Library of Congress has posted a new podcast: Stephen H. Grant Discusses His Book Peter Strickland: New London Shipmaster, Boston Merchant, First Consul to Senegal

More info, and the link to the 'cast at: the Library of Congress

Much of the research for this book is based upon Mystic Seaport's Peter Strickland Collection,

The book is pretty good too!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Edward S. Miller Research Fellowship in Naval History

The Naval War College Foundation intends to award one grant of $1,000 to the researcher who has the greatest need and can make the optimum use of research materials for naval history located in the Naval War College's Archives, Naval Historical Collection, Naval War College Museum, and Henry E. Eccles Library.

A guide to the College's manuscript, archival, and oral history collections may be found on the Naval War College's website Scroll down to 'naval history resources' and click on "Naval Historical Collection Publications." Further information on the manuscript and archival collections and
copies of the registers for specific collections are available online or on request from the Head, Naval Historical Collection. E-mail:

The recipient will be a Research Fellow in the Naval War College's Maritime History Department, which will provide administrative support during the research visit. Submit detailed research proposal that includes statement of need and plan for optimal use of Naval War College materials, curriculum vitae, at least two letters of recommendation, and relevant background information to:

Miller Naval History Fellowship Committee
Naval War College Foundation
686 Cushing Road
Newport RI 02841-1207

by 1 August 2007. For further information, contact the chair of the selection committee at Employees of the U.S. Naval War College or any agency of the U.S. Department of Defense are not eligible for consideration; EEO/AA regulations apply.

Job Posting: Nantucket Historical Association

The Nantucket Historical Association seeks a Public Programs Coordinator to plan, prepare, conduct and evaluate educational public programs and outreach experiences for adults and families at its Whaling Museum and historic sites. Researches, organizes, and implements programming based on the Association’s collections. Responsibilities include public programs, the Discovery Room—a dedicated space at the Whaling Museum where intergenerational groups engage in both self-guided and educator-led learning, museum education summer internship program, and special educational initiatives.

Qualifications: M.A. in museum education, museum studies, or related field, and experience developing creative museum programs. Excellent organization and writing skills necessary. Ability to work evenings and weekends as required for programs.

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and the name of three references by Friday, April 27 to:

Johanna Richard, Director of Finance and Administration
P.O. Box 1016
Nantucket Historical Association, Nantucket, MA 02554

The mission of the Nantucket Historical Association is to preserve and interpret the history of Nantucket Island in order to inspire island residents, both year-round and seasonal, to shape the island's future with a greater appreciation and respect for their shared heritage, and to foster among all Nantucket residents and visitors a deeper appreciation of the important historical role that the island's people have played in national and world history.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Maritime Makes the Daily Show

On March 27 Jon Stewart interviewed John Bolton on The Daily Show. Jon's calling Bolton out on a number of issues aside, the highlight of the interview for those of us in the maritime world was when Stewart compared appointing Bolton UN Ambassador to say putting "Capt. Ahab in charge of Save the Whales."... and lots of people are loving the reference!

You can view a video of the interview on The Daily Show website...but as it usually freezes up my computer check it out at Pollyticks. warning! interview content has blatent liberal bias!

Image is of Gregory Peck in Moby Dick

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Songs of the Erie Canal

The Library of Congress' latest addition to their American Memory Collection, Captain Pearl R. Nye: Life on the Ohio and and Erie Canal is an interesting collection of 75 songs recorded in the 1930s. While the collection includes two essays and a few manuscripts and photographs, the heart is the audio. Easily downloadable in .wav. .mpg. or realplayer formats Nye's voice carries a fine tune.

Things I Didn't Know

This weekend I picked up The Birth of Black America: The First African Americans and the Pursuit of Freedom at Jamestown by Tim Hashaw, and while I'm only on page 117 I've already learned a great deal about colonial Virginia and it's black settlers and would recommend it highly. Although it does not promote itself as such it is one of the few books I've come across that truly give a sense of the wholeness of the "Atlantic World."