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

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mariners Museum archivist charged in theft

NORFOLK, Va., Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The former head of a Virginia maritime museum has been charged with selling off items from its Titanic collection and other memorabilia.

Lester Weber, onetime director of the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, was charged along with his wife with 26 counts of theft, fraud and failure to file tax returns.

Federal prosecutors allege the couple stole historical items from the museum between 2002 and 2006 and peddled them on eBay, the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot said Wednesday.

The allegedly stolen items include photos and papers from a mother and son who had survived the 1912 sinking of the Titanic.

Weber and Childs made their first appearance in federal court yesterday after the indictment (made late last week) was unsealed. They were released on $5,000 bond each. "In four years and nine months, the couple sold nearly 1,500 items [on eBay], receiving $162,959 from buyers across the country, according to the indictment. They also are accused of failing to report income from those sales in four years of tax returns."

Weber began working at the museum in 2000, and was the head of the archives for the six months before he was fired on 25 September 2006.

The civil suit against Weber and Childs is still pending, authorities said. The museum issued a statement yesterday saying "We will have no comment on this matter while proceedings under the indictment are pending." Weber and Childs told the court yesterday that they are "broke, unemployed and that their house is in default. A federal magistrate granted their request for court-appointed lawyers." They'll be in court next on 27 February for arraignment.

The full indictment is posted at:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Talking Heads

I've been contacted recently by a respected film company who would like "an expert" to talk about Irving Johnson. They were a little taken aback by the fact while I know a great deal about the Johnson's and their cruises (have read all the books, and processed all their manuscripts (don't tell anyone, but I read them all too) that I don't feel qualified in saying I'm an expert.

So - anyone out there want to volunteer?

Or- would anyone care to define what makes one an expert?

Recent Grant Awards

The Annapolis Maritime Museum has a grant from the Four Rivers Heritage Area to record 12 oral histories on the oystering industries. full story

The Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Hudson River Valley Greenway Council. The funding will be to build new kayak and rowing shell docks at the Museum’s Rondout Creek location a part of the Hudson River Water Trail. full story

The Port of Seattle is writing off another $1.5 million in debt from the Odyssey Maritime museum. full story

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Position: Maritime Museum Curator

City of Los Angeles - Department of Recreation and Parks

Maritime Museum Curator

The City of Los Angeles – Department of Recreation and Parks is currently seeking to fill Maritime Museum Curator position within the Los Angeles Maritime Museum and welcome all interested individuals to explore this great opportunity.

SALARY: $47,940 annually


Supervise the care of the Museum's collection of maritime artifacts and create new educational exhibits for the education of the general public and school groups. Duties include: evaluation, accession, and conservation of collection, as well as working within the community to identify and acquire appropriate additions to the collection. Refine and update exhibits as necessary to ensure that subject matter is relevant to Museum's mission. Maintain an inventory of acquired items and provide for proper storage. Supervise volunteers and interns working on collection and exhibits. Work with Museum Director and appropriate staff to create long-term plan for funding, care and display of collections.

Assist with creation of new programs for public and school groups. Duties include: organizing guest speakers, creating hands-on activities for family visitors, training volunteers, and promoting of Museum through newsletter articles.

Assist with operations when needed, including special event staffing and special tours.


Bachelor of Arts Degree from an accredited 4-year college or university is required. Masters of Arts Degree preferred with concentration in history or Museum studies.

Two years of curatorial and exhibit experience required as well as knowledge of Museum standards and procedures.


Interested candidates must submit both a completed City Application Form and resume. Please send your completed City Application Form and resume to:

City of Los Angeles

Department of Recreation and Parks

1200 W. 7th Street, 3rd Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90017

Attn: Diane Moore

The City Application Form may be obtained at:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Position: Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport, the Museum of America and the Sea, seeks and Collections and Research Access Associate. This is a full time 35 hour/week position.

The successful applicant will provide intellectual, physical and electronic access to the Collections of Mystic Seaport specializing in, but not limited to the historic, contemporary and Rosenfeld photograph and image collections. Requirements include Bachelor’s degree with general computer knowledge and historical curiosity. Candidate must be team and customer-oriented with the ability to handle fragile objects. Starting pay $11.00 – $13.00/hr depending upon qualifications.


  • Staff the Collections Reference and Research Room on a rotating basis. Duties include shelving of retrieved Collections materials, circulation of books, answering phones, overseeing reading room, etc.
  • Respond to reference requests, including onsite, written, commercial and personal, related to the Collections using all available Collections Access Systems.
  • Master the various means of Collections access, including but not limited to Voyager, XG, websites, visual files, card files and databases.
  • Serve as the point person and coordinator for access to the historic, contemporary and Rosenfeld photograph collections.
  • Advise patrons and clients on research and derivative fees when applicable and initiate production orders for Production Team.
  • Help maintain Collection-wide Customer Relation Database
  • Work with the licensing and product development groups to bring Collection to a wider audience through publications and products
  • Participate in developing a Collections Access Plan to establish and maintain a fine-tuned, web-centric system of access to collections information.
  • Work as part of team to develop Collections Cataloging priorities. Specifically providing information on optimizing Collections usage and the understanding of the need to get the information about Collections out to users in a timely fashion.
  • Improve and increase public Web resources related to the Collections
  • Promote awareness and use of the collections, advocating the department within the Museum, related professional communities, educational institutions and the general public.
  • Encourage and recruit other staff in the department to participate in various outreach efforts
  • Compile Collections access statistics and prepares monthly reports
  • Co-ordinate tours and programs at the Collections Research Center under the direction of the Association Director of Collections Access and in accordance with Department policies


  • General knowledge of maritime history and terminology
  • Ability to participate, lead and thrive in a team setting
  • Bachelors Degree
  • Knowledge of search strategies and information retrieval practices
  • Strong foundation and belief in providing superior customer service
  • Ability to work with and continuously learn common computer applications
  • Detail-oriented and able to handle fragile objects with great care.

For information or an application visit our website or call Human Resources 860.572.5346. To apply, send cover letter, resume and names of three references by Feb 8, 2008 to: Mystic Seaport Museum, PO Box 6000, Mystic, CT 06355, Attn: Human Resources.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

If you get a chance to go to Dallas reports that the Dallas Museum of Art will present the largest and most comprehensive retrospective ever presented in the United States of the career of J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851), one of the greatest landscape and seascape painters in the history of art. The exhibition opened Feb. 10 in the J. E. R. Chilton Galleries.

The show will be in Dallas February 10 - May 18, 2008, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York June 24 - September 21, 2008. The show is presents in association with Tate Britain, London, which is lending 86 works from its vast and impressive Turner bequest.

Theft of diving suit reported

Part of a historic deep-sea diver's suit has been stolen by thieves who ram raided Lowestoft Maritime Museum last week.

Thieves are believed to have driven a motorbike through the reception doors at the museum between Saturday February 3 and Tuesday February 5 and hacked off the brass fittings of the old diving suit, which was displayed in a glass display cabinet.

Speaking to the Lowestoft Journal, Museum Curator Peter Parker said: “I came down to find they had got through the front door of the cottage; it looked like it had been ram-raided by a motorbike and the locks and deadlocks had been knocked out. It seems as though someone knew what was in the museum and they wanted it.”

Although the museum says the historical importance outweighs any monetary value, the items are believed to be worth in excess of £2,000.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Singalong Pirates

It's that time of year--love, song, and pirates. If you're going to be in the San Francisco Bay Area on Frederic, the Pirate Apprentice's birthday (otherwise known as leap day, Feb. 29), check out The Lamplighters' Pirates of Penzance Singalong. One of the top Gilbert & Sullivan companies in the world, The Lamplighters offer not only a memorable production in the best nautical tradition, but at this Singalong, there will be prizes for the best costumes!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Happy birthday, Jules Verne

Jules Verne, author of the work that made many fall in love with submarines, Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), was born on this day in 1828.

His works are full of stirring adventure, and were often published with covers as enticing as his prose. Andrew Nash's website,, has many images of covers, spines, and sets, that will send your imagination under the sea, across the sea, and to the moon.

To read more, click on the image above to go to the Wikipedia article on Verne--scroll to the "External Links" section at the bottom to link quickly to etexts, free audio books available on line, and more bibliographies and criticism.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Who issued mariners' documents?

gCaptain mentioned a great article, Coast Guard wasn't always in charge of mariners' documents, by Capt. Kelly Sweeney. He provides an overview of the issuance of seamen's papers in the U.S. from the mid-19th century to the present, and the direction of future merchant mariner licensing.

And where can researchers find most of these documents? The National Archives.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

South Street Pier Space Under Dispute

Home to the Peking Wavertree and
and other fine historic vessels, South Street Seaport is fighting for pier space to dock, maintain and promote it's collection.

Pier 15 is under the jurisdiction of the Economic Development Committee which has been redesigning the pier to accommodate more business and open space use as opposed to maximize it's waterfront use. (Full Story)

Seems short sighted and backwards. Here you have a draw to the natural history of a world famous port as well as a whole new way to open up the City and developers just want to make more of what already crowds the city blocks. As Frank Sciame of the Seaport Board says, "“Why wouldn’t the city want that pier to be authentic, historic, a benchmark that was the very history of South St.?” Why indeed?

Photo from New York Photo

Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum

Fred Bursch, president of Bursch Travel, was elected president of the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum board of directors.

Bursch is a founding director of the Maritime Museum, a nonprofit organization in Alexandria that supports preservation of antique and classic watercraft, resort memorabilia and sporting equipment. It's open to the public from May 15 to Oct. 15.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Storm Uncovers Shipwreck On Cape Cod Beach

WELLFLEET (AP) ― The remains of what experts think was a 19th-century schooner have been discovered on a Cape Cod beach.

The 50-foot keel and wooden ribs appeared on Wellfleet's Newcomb Hollow Beach on Tuesday, apparently pushed to shore by waves from a storm Sunday.

Full story.