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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ship Drawing at Hauntology

I really enjoyed my recent visit to the Hauntology Exhibit at the Berkeley Art Museum. Although there's currently no online version of the exhibit, one of the most impressive pieces is reproduced in some of the online reviews, and also on Flickr, "Ship Drawing" by Paul Sietsema. Part of a diptych, it's worth seeing in person if you get a chance, not only because of it's size (50 3/4 x 70 in.) but because of the presence of the other half of the diptych. According to Figure 3 : Paul Sietsema, Museum of Modern Art, the work was created by retouching a photograph, copying, and building up layers--the effect of which is enchanting. The work drew me in to examine it closely, yet because of its size, I continually stepped back to take in the whole. It's also a work that has stayed with me, and I hope to visit it again before the exhibit ends.

"Hauntology," a term coined by Jacques Derrida, "is a philosophy of history that upsets the easy progression of time by proposing that the present is simultaneously haunted by the past and the future," according to the BAM website. An interesting concept for museums, historians, and artists.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pigeon Point Light Station Anniversary

Pigeon Point Light Station
On Saturday, November 13, 2010, Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park will celebrate its 138th anniversary. According to the flyer (Adobe Acrobat .pdf format), the fresnel lens will be lit, the historic fog signal building & displays open, and the Seal House hostel will hold an open house, plus tours, videos, exhibits, displays, puppet show, and refreshments.

Sounds like a fun time, if you're near Pescadero, California!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Introductions to finding aids

Sometimes the visitors to our library are new to research, and it's not unusual for a visitor to arrive who has never used a library before. Some aspect of maritime history has intrigued them, and they want to learn more--usually about a ship or an ancestor.

We introduce them to the concept of our library catalog--that it's a listing of materials they can have paged to use here, but that are not for sale, and that they can not take home, and although there are links in the catalog to online materials, most of the items represented in the catalog are hardcopy books that are not available online. This part of the reference interview goes quickly.

Less easy to convey is the concept of an archival finding aid, that is designed to help the researcher decide if all or part of a potentially vast amount of material would be worth paging. Barbara Aikens, at the Smithsonian, has something that might help--"What Are Finding Aids?" on their Smithsonian Collections Blog. It's one of the best introductions I've seen to what exactly a finding aid is, with links for further exploration.

Keep this post in mind for research newbies, and even for experienced researchers--if you're considering research in the vast Smithsonian Archives, give it a read.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Duham's Journal of voyages

Pirates aiming at sailor with gun, aboard ship
fig. 177, "The Pirates' plan of exercising the nerves of Captives."

Journal of voyages : containing an account of the author's being twice captured by the English and once by Gibbs the pirate; his narrow escape when chased by an English war schooner; as well as his being cast away and residing with Indians, to which is added some account of the soil, products, laws and customs of Chagres, the Musquitto Shore, and St. Blas, at the Isthmus of Darien. With Illustrations, by Captain Jacob Dunham is now available at Project Gutenberg.