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

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A New Blessing of the Fleet

This year hundreds gathered Saturday outside the Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point to take part in the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony. The first-ever event to start the Great Lakes shipping season.

Peter Werle, the center’s lead volunteer, said he arranged the ceremony to get people down to the water and recognize the city’s maritime heritage, now largely reduced to tourist vessels and tall ships. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved a slogan deeming the city the ‘‘Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes’’ in 2005.

Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies are held annually in coastal towns throughout the world. Narragansett, RI; Stonington, CT; Darien, GA; Kemah, TX; and Ulladulla, New South Wales and follows a centuries-old tradition originating in southern European, predominantly Catholic, fishing communities. A blessing from the local priest was meant to ensure a safe and bountiful season.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Position Announcement: Independence Seaport

Project Archivist: Independence Seaport Museum
Applications Contact person: Megan Fraser
Application due date: 2007/04/30
Salary range: Mid 30's
Web Address:
The Independence Seaport Museum Library seeks a full-time archivist for a one-year processing project. The archivist will arrange and describe two significant collections: the John E. Hand and Sons Company Records and the Seamen's Church Institute Records.
John E. Hand and Sons were manufacturers of nautical instruments in the Philadelphia area for more than 100 years. The archives of the company date from 1873-1997, and consist of approximately 18,000 items, including business correspondence with shipyards, patents, photographs, promotional materials such as calendars and brochures, and approximately 4,000 blueprints and drawings for virtually all of the instruments produced by the company.
The Seamen's Church Institute was founded in Philadelphia in 1843 to offer both spiritual and practical assistance to seafarers from around the world. The organization's archives consist of business and financial records, board meeting minutes, promotional materials and publications, photographs, art work, and records of those who used their facilities.
The goal of the project is to provide intellectual and physical access to these two important collections. The archivist will conduct a survey and determine appropriate arrangement schemes in consultation with the library director. S/he will arrange and rehouse the collection according to standard archival practice, and produce a finding aid including a scope and content note, a brief historical note, and a container/location list. Data from the finding aid will be used in the creation of an electronic record to be contributed to the OCLC union catalog.
Upon completion of arrangement and description, the archivist will co-curate a small exhibit of materials from the collections for the library's display cases. This work will include selection of items, composition of label text and exhibit design. Images and text from this exhibit will be used in a long-term online exhibit mounted on the Museum's website.
Required: ALA-accredited MLS with formal training in archival theory and practice. Knowledge of American/maritime history/technology. Excellent writing and organizational skills, accuracy, attention to detail. Ability to work independently.
Preferred: Undergraduate degree in humanities. Three years experience with mixed materials collections. Reference and/or research experience.
To Apply: Send resume, cover letter and finding aid sample to Megan Fraser, Library Director, Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19106; fax: 215.925.6713; or e-mail: P

Monday, March 12, 2007

New York Times Museum Review: USS Monitor

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — As sacred relics go, it doesn’t seem too inspiring. In appearance, Nathaniel Hawthorne said, it “looked like a gigantic rat-trap.” In life, it had little more than a single day of major achievement, and in that it was less than triumphant. In death, it was even less grand, sinking into the Atlantic during a storm, not even a year after it first lumbered onto the scene.....Full Story

Pirates Again

Blackbeards ship, Queen Anne's Revenge is thought to be the vessel under excavation off the coast of North Carolina.

According to

Several officials said historical data and coral-covered artifacts recovered from the site -- including 25 cannons, which experts said was an uncommonly large number to find on a ship in the region in the early 18th century -- remove any doubt the wreckage belonged to Blackbeard.

Three university professors, including two from East Carolina University, have challenged the findings. But officials working on the excavation said Friday that the more they find, the stronger their case becomes.

"Historians have really looked at it thoroughly and don't feel that there's any possibility anything else is in there that was not recorded," said Mark Wilde-Ramsing, director of the Queen Anne's Revenge Project. "And the artifacts continue to support it."

Wilde-Ramsing said a coin weight recovered last fall bearing a likeness of Britain's Queen Anne and a King George cup, both dated before the shipwreck, further bolster their position.


Plans are to fully excavate the ship in 3 years.

Eighth Maritime Heritage Conference: Call For Papers

The Conference Program Committee of the 8th Maritime Heritage Conference which will be held in San Diego, California, Tuesday October 9th through Friday October 12th, 2007 invites abstracts for individual papers (15-30 minutes in length) and session proposals (three or four papers in 75 minutes). Papers may address a specific subject or aspects of the broader themes of the conference. Among the themes the conference will focus on are:

Maritime and Naval History ♦ History of Hydrographic Surveys ♦

Oceanic Trade and Communications ♦ National Marine Sanctuaries ♦ Marine Art ♦ Shipbuilding ♦ Ship Preservation ♦ Small Craft ♦ Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations ♦ Historic Ships ♦ Underwater Archaeology ♦ Maritime Libraries and Museums ♦

Maritime Heritage Education

Abstracts should be typed and consist of no more than one single-spaced page. Each abstract must be accompanied by a CV of no more than three pages. Abstracts and CVs are due no later than June 1st, 2007.

Full Details

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Position: National Maritime Museum

Curator of 17th-Century Imperial and Maritime Studies

Location: South London
Salary: £27,500 - £32,336 plus benefits
Date posted: 5 Mar 2007
Closing date: 20 Mar 2007

Ref: G/17

£27,500 - £32,336 + benefits o Greenwich

(Starting salary dependant on skills and experience. More may be available for the exceptional candidate)

We have ambitious plans for our new Centre for Imperial and Maritime Studies ( Driving innovative new initiatives and online resources, our goal is to establish the Museum as the major research institution and a global driving force for study in this area.

These roles are key to making that happen. Working closely with your fellow curators, you will conduct high-quality research on the Museum's collections and subjects, contribute to gallery and exhibition development, build partnerships with academics and key institutions and, working with Learning and Interpretation, develop imaginative ways to reach and engage a range of audiences.

With a postgraduate degree in a relevant subject, you should already have material published (or in preparation for publication). However, your area of specialisation is less important than your keenness to work with a range of unique 2 and 3-D materials, using them to bring alive Britain's imperial and maritime history for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

Private Ocean Liner Memoriabilia Collection Hosted by Cruise Lines

Norfolk Brings Maritime Memorabilia to New Terminal

Editorial Comment: Funny, they didn't make an arrangement with a museum.

Who owns abondoned documents?

Recently a large group of documents belonging to Todd Shipyards Corporation were discovered in the possession of the IKEA corporation who had purchased the former shipyard property. The documents along with other abandoned Shipyard property was found by Carolina Salguero, the founder of PortSide NewYork, a waterfront themed cultural and educational institution.

Salguero recovered the documents but then it appears Todd Shipyard wanted them back. You can read more about the story New deal snatches maritime documents from the trash heap, but my question is, why does Todd Shipyards have a right to the documents. They clearly deserted them, moved away without taking them, and then made no effort to recover them. IKEA did not even know they existed, so why would they not then belong to PortSide New York? And thinking many documents do we hold that were abondoned and added to our collections only after having been found by a third party?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Grant News!

Mystic Seaport has received a grant for $150,000 from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation to create a prototype Cultural Heritage Digital Library. This Library will focus on the maritime studies field, and also provide a framework around which other Cultural Heritage fields could build similar libraries. Building upon the successful implementation of the G. W. Blunt White Digital, this unique digital library will provide non-technical access to the type of electronic resources requested by maritime scholars in a recent study conducted by the G. W. Blunt White Library and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

While the exact configuration of The Cultural Heritage Digital Library will be determined in consultation with partner institutions, it will be international in nature and may consist of:

a) A Resource Discovery tool to collect, annotate and provide access to existing electronic maritime resources

b) A Multi-institutional Manuscript Collection Description Repository

c) A Digital Collection of historic maritime newspapers

d) A Repository for Electronic maritime materials with no other home, including curricula, grey literature and a maritime heritage studies journal.

Paul O’Pecko, Vice President for Collections and Research is the Project Director, responsible for setting the direction of the project, fund-raising for its continued success, convincing potential partners of the need to participate and presenting results at conferences.

Kelly S. Drake, Associate Director for Collections Access and Research is the Project Manager and will be in charge of the actual creation of the Library with input from institutional partners.

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation provides financial assistance to educational, cultural, scientific and religious institutions. The Board of Trustees’ current practice is to award grants primarily in the areas of private higher education, secondary education, graduate theological education, health care and public television.