February 21, 2019

Curatorial Corner: Winter 2019

This winter has been a busy one in the Collections department at HMM!

This winter has been a busy one in the Collections department at HMM!
Ongoing temperature and humidity monitoring experiments in the hall of boats are helping us to improve our collections stewardship. The winter project has been guided by HMM's Boat Preservation Committee (BPC), and much of the monitoring work is being undertaken by recent RWU graduate and historic preservation intern, Bernie O'Brien. Boats in the collection are also - literally - receiving better support with the addition of custom poppets designed by the BPC and built by East Passage Boatwrights. There are still opportunities to sponsor poppets if you are interested in advertising your shop or business or commemorating a special someone! Contact Bill Lynn at the museum for more details.
The much anticipated Herreshoff Steam Exhibit is in final stages of installation and we will be excited to share it with you on April 28, 2019, our Opening Day. A new audio tour will also debut on opening day, with access via smartphone download or by borrowing a tablet from the guide desk.
The Lecture Series, sponsored by Points East Magazine, Cisco Brewery, Gowrie Group and American Cruise Lines, has been well attended and was particularly HMCo.-centric this winter, with talks by curator emeritus John Palmieri and current curatorial associate, Evelyn Ansel. Mr. Palmieri's talk covered Herreshoff torpedo boats, while Ms. Ansel's talk highlighted recent discoveries from the Haffenreffer-Herreshoff Digitization project at the MIT Museum.
Processing of the manuscript collection of the late Richard V. Simpson, local author, historian and long-time friend of the Museum, has begun.  Richard bequeathed to the museum his extensive collection of source materials related to his research on Herreshoff torpedo boats and the America's Cup.  Volunteer Dan Vilenski, who has been working in the Museum's archives for several years, is processing collections of original source materials related to both subjects.
Staff has been assisting the volunteer staff of The Barnacle Historic State Park in Coconut Grove as they enlarge their collection of materials and photographs related to Commodore Ralph Middleton Munroe, Florida pioneer and original owner of The Barnacle, the 1891 house that is the heart of this state park. Commodore Munroe had a long association with the Herreshoffs, meeting J.B., Charles and Nat when cruising to Bristol in 1882 and 1883. When Capt. Nat cruised into Biscayne Bay in 1921 aboard HELIANTHUS, a close friendship began.
Over the next decade, Capt. Nat and his wife Ann also visited in PLEASURE and WATER LILY. Capt. Nat devoted much of his time to building sailing models, assisted by Commodore Munroe. This friendship was described by Munroe's daughter Patty Munroe Catlow in an article written for HMM Chronicle, Spring 1980, edition. She subsequently donated a collection of snapshots and photos documenting Capt. Nat's winter visits. We have been pleased to add to The Barnacle House collection and hope to visit the museum to add to HMM's knowledge of this friendship as well as collecting additional information on the Herreshoff 14 Class, active in Biscayne Bay during this time period.