“The maritime influence on American history is one of the most compelling chapters in the national story,” said Museum Director Brent D. Glass. “‘On the Water’ will transport visitors to places they have never been, allowing them to experience life at sea through the experiences of real people and objects from one of the Smithsonian’s oldest collections.”
And from the museum’s website:
Marine transportation and waterborne commerce underlie American history like a strong and steady ocean current. Maritime trade established major cities, created connections between people and places and opened the continent. Visitors to this new permanent exhibition will explore life and work on the nation’s waterways, discovering the stories of whaling crews, fishermen, shipbuilders, merchant mariners, passengers, and many others. From 18th-century sailing ships, 19th-century steamboats and fishing craft to today’s mega containerships, the exhibition will reveal America’s maritime connections through objects, documents, audiovisual programs, and interactives. Visitors will discover the continuous and significant role maritime activity has played in American lives.
If you enjoy reading the Sea-Fever blog, you’re going to love exploring On the Water. But make sure you’re wearing you Internet PFD, because you could drown in the depth of information anchored there. Things are organized by period:
You can also search the museum’s vast maritime collection filtered by keywords and eras that reflect National Standards for U.S. History, Grades 5-12. Video and audio clips are extensively and effectively used throughout the website and there’s some great age appropriate learning resources available for educators and families too.
The name in the title might look familiar and that’s because the artist is my cousin. Today the New Bedford Whaling Museum is opening a show of Phil’s amazing collection of photographic portraits of New Bedford commercial waterfront workers. From the museum’s website:
Working Waterfront, Photographic Portraits focuses on local shoreside workers and their jobs: from fish cutter to purveyor, from welder to auctioneer, from lumper to inspector, as well as fishermen. Each person, each job, is vital to the daily operation of supplying seafood to market. All photographs were taken by Phillip Mello, mostly using a Mamiya RZ 67 camera with Kodak BW400cn Professional film. They are part of a project he began early in 2008 and which continues today: to photograph the local fishing industry through the people who work in it. Mr. Mello knows these people and this place well, having worked on the waterfront for over thirty-four years, currently as plant manager at Bergie’s Seafood. His photographs benefit from this closeness, and we are fortunate to have had these doors opened.
There’s an opening reception this evening after the Whaling Museum’s Annual Meeting and before/during their very popular After Hours Friday night social event. But in case you can’t make the event or have trouble getting to the gallery anytime soon, you can experience Phil’s work via the Whaling Museum’s Flickr page.
Phil is also the president of the New Bedford Port Society which owns and operate the Seamen’s Bethel, which first came to fame as the Whalemen’s Chapel in Herman Melville’s classic American novel Moby-Dick, as well as the historic Mariner’s Home.
Reproductions of photographs in the exhibit are available via the Whaling Museum’s photography department by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds from their sale will be split evenly between the Whaling Museum and the New Bedford Port Society.
It’s an amazing body of work that celebrates the spirit of the people who work anonymously on New Bedford’s commercial waterfront everyday. Thanks to Michael Lapides, the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Director of Digital Initiatives / Curator of Photography for giving the community the opportunity to get this inside look and for creating a historical document that captures an important part of New Bedford today. And thanks Phil, the Mello family is proud!
Kite surfer at the Hatch snags a tall ship (the "Hawaiian Chieftain" visiting Hood River with the "Lady Washington" on their way up the Columbia River). Last seen calmly slaloming it on it by the White Salmon bridge. Footage from May 17, 2009. (smoberlin on YouTube)
In a world rife with fiction by people who maybe shouldn’t be writing fiction, Julie Schaper and Steve Horwitz tracked down a few people who weren’t writing fiction but ought to be. The two editors’ new anthology, Amplified, (Melville House, 2009) collects short stories by some of alt-country music’s most influential songwriters, including Laura Viers,Maria McKee of Lone Justice, and Rhett Miller of the Old 97’s.
Among these bright lights is Jon Langford of punk rock’s The Mekons and the proto-cowpunk outfit the Waco Brothers. And this is where Moby Monday comes in. Langford’s 1998 solo album, Skull Orchard, contains two whale-themed songs, and lyrics from both appear within Langford’s tragicomic story “Inside the Whale,” whose narrator is a beached Moby Dick.
“Apparently, I discovered, I am the very rarest stuff of legend,” says the whale, recalling the time he’d met a female dolphin—big fan—who had read Moby-Dick cover to cover. “She said you’d been looking for me forever,” he tells a human on the beach. “How was I supposed to know?”
In an elliptical tale that touches upon such curiosities as the original Captain Morgan of rum fame, forgotten boxing great Sam Langford, and an aching homesickness the Welsh call hiraeth, the author strikes a melancholy chord. But throughout, he also invites a happier sensation with which the Melville fan is well acquainted: the pleasure of looking stuff up.
In 2006 United States Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen was joined by investor Warren Buffett, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Proctor & Gamble Chief Executive Officer Arthur Lafley, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and 12 other impressive individuals in being named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders. Today Admiral Allen leads nearly 100,000 enlisted, reservist, civilian and auxiliary men and woman who fulfill the Coast Guard’s mission “to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic and security interests in any maritime region in which those interests may be at risk, including international waters and America’s coasts, ports, and inland waterways.”
The Squaresail.com website is a great resource on the ship. I particularly enjoyed reading through the logs and imagining what those round the world trip must have been like. But if you’re an armchair adventurer like me, touring this website can still be pretty exciting.