South Street Seaport Museum

South Street Seaport Museum A cultural institution dedicated to telling the story of rise of New York as a port city and its critical role in the development of the United States.
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I like to imagine Fulton and South Streets in 1812 when Peter Schermerhorn completed the 12 buildings that comprise Schermerhorn Row, when people came from all over New York to marvel at this row of Federal-style warehouses on the East River. In those days the piers were crowded with ships from all over the world discharging their cargoes of coffee, tea, cotton, molasses, and countless other trade

I like to imagine Fulton and South Streets in 1812 when Peter Schermerhorn completed the 12 buildings that comprise Schermerhorn Row, when people came from all over New York to marvel at this row of Federal-style warehouses on the East River. In those days the piers were crowded with ships from all over the world discharging their cargoes of coffee, tea, cotton, molasses, and countless other trade

Operating as usual

Happy #NationalLighthouseDay! The history of lighthouses in America dates as far back as 1715, when the first lighthouse...
08/07/2021

Happy #NationalLighthouseDay! The history of lighthouses in America dates as far back as 1715, when the first lighthouse was constructed at the entrance of Boston harbor by the Province of Massachusetts. Then, on August 7, 1789, an Act of Congress authorized the maintenance of lighthouses by the United States Government, and that is why this date is celebrated annually as National Lighthouse Day.

The dramatic settings and the individual stories of each lighthouse made them objects of great interest, but at the same time advances in technology during the second half of the 20th century have made many of them obsolete. Luckily, the pressure to save these symbols of maritime heritage prompted the establishment of numerous lighthouse preservation organizations, and more recently, the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 which provides a mechanism for the transfer of Federally-owned historic light stations at no cost into the care of nonprofit organizations, educational agencies, community development organizations, and federal, state, and local governments.

New York Harbor is home to many lighthouses and light-vessels which, over the years, have guided countless ships into port, but beyond their unique architectural features and historic significance, each one of them has at its heart a powerful human story of life, bravery, immigration, feats of engineering, and above all, resiliency. Discover more of them on our blog at seaportmuseum.org/new-york-harbor-lighthouses/

Image: Coney Island Lighthouse, 1982. South Street Seaport Museum Photo Archive H91-024

#Lighthouse #NewYorkHarbor #MaritimeHeritage #WhereNewYorkBegins #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum

Happy #NationalLighthouseDay! The history of lighthouses in America dates as far back as 1715, when the first lighthouse was constructed at the entrance of Boston harbor by the Province of Massachusetts. Then, on August 7, 1789, an Act of Congress authorized the maintenance of lighthouses by the United States Government, and that is why this date is celebrated annually as National Lighthouse Day.

The dramatic settings and the individual stories of each lighthouse made them objects of great interest, but at the same time advances in technology during the second half of the 20th century have made many of them obsolete. Luckily, the pressure to save these symbols of maritime heritage prompted the establishment of numerous lighthouse preservation organizations, and more recently, the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 which provides a mechanism for the transfer of Federally-owned historic light stations at no cost into the care of nonprofit organizations, educational agencies, community development organizations, and federal, state, and local governments.

New York Harbor is home to many lighthouses and light-vessels which, over the years, have guided countless ships into port, but beyond their unique architectural features and historic significance, each one of them has at its heart a powerful human story of life, bravery, immigration, feats of engineering, and above all, resiliency. Discover more of them on our blog at seaportmuseum.org/new-york-harbor-lighthouses/

Image: Coney Island Lighthouse, 1982. South Street Seaport Museum Photo Archive H91-024

#Lighthouse #NewYorkHarbor #MaritimeHeritage #WhereNewYorkBegins #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum

Today we start tours of our 1908 lightship Ambrose as part of our free Open Days! Tours will be held on Fridays, Saturda...
08/06/2021

Today we start tours of our 1908 lightship Ambrose as part of our free Open Days! Tours will be held on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, four times a day, through October 2021. Visitors will be guided through the living and working spaces of the ship, once inhabited by “the non-sailing sailors.” Ambrose marked the main shipping channel in and out of the ports of New York and New Jersey between 1908 and 1932, guiding vessels as a floating lighthouse.

When Ambrose LV-87 took her station in New York Harbor in 1908, there were 14 mariners onboard including one master, one mate, two engineers, three firemen, six seamen, and one cook. Crew members ensured the lightship would run smoothly, and would have a shift lasting about three weeks and then have a week off.

Compared to the wooden lightships of the 19th century, lightships like Ambrose LV-87 were designed with the comfort of the crew in mind. Early lightships were often not built for the purpose of sitting at anchor as a fixed light platform and would roll and pitch with rough seas. When comparing the new Ambrose to the older lightships, Ambrose was described as less of “a bucking bronco” which must have been of some relief to the crew living on board. Other amenities for the crew included bath facilities, steam heated cabins, and a small library of books provided by the Lighthouse Service.

Come see this incredible ship yourself! Tickets are free for adults and kids. Learn more and book your tickets at seaportmuseum.org/lightship-ambrose/

Image credit Richard Bowditch

#lightshipAMBROSE #HistoricShips #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum #SouthStreetSeaport #LowerManhattan #NewYorkCity #WhereNewYorkBegins

Today we start tours of our 1908 lightship Ambrose as part of our free Open Days! Tours will be held on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, four times a day, through October 2021. Visitors will be guided through the living and working spaces of the ship, once inhabited by “the non-sailing sailors.” Ambrose marked the main shipping channel in and out of the ports of New York and New Jersey between 1908 and 1932, guiding vessels as a floating lighthouse.

When Ambrose LV-87 took her station in New York Harbor in 1908, there were 14 mariners onboard including one master, one mate, two engineers, three firemen, six seamen, and one cook. Crew members ensured the lightship would run smoothly, and would have a shift lasting about three weeks and then have a week off.

Compared to the wooden lightships of the 19th century, lightships like Ambrose LV-87 were designed with the comfort of the crew in mind. Early lightships were often not built for the purpose of sitting at anchor as a fixed light platform and would roll and pitch with rough seas. When comparing the new Ambrose to the older lightships, Ambrose was described as less of “a bucking bronco” which must have been of some relief to the crew living on board. Other amenities for the crew included bath facilities, steam heated cabins, and a small library of books provided by the Lighthouse Service.

Come see this incredible ship yourself! Tickets are free for adults and kids. Learn more and book your tickets at seaportmuseum.org/lightship-ambrose/

Image credit Richard Bowditch

#lightshipAMBROSE #HistoricShips #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum #SouthStreetSeaport #LowerManhattan #NewYorkCity #WhereNewYorkBegins

Today we are excited to join US National Archives for the August #ArchivesHashtagParty! Along with thousands of other cu...
08/06/2021

Today we are excited to join US National Archives for the August #ArchivesHashtagParty! Along with thousands of other cultural institutions, we’re sharing items from our collection related to a common theme on Twitter. Inspired by the Olympics, the National Archives organized today’s party around #ArchivesAthletes.

Throughout the day we posted a variety of artifacts found throughout our collections and archives including a miniature model of the Americas Cup, a program for the deck games played on RMS Homeric, an aerial photograph of the Yale-Harvard Boat Race of 1949, and a signal cannon of the type used to start yacht races.

Check out these highlights here or visit our twitter account to see the whole #FromTheArchives series.

#Olympics2021 #FromTheArchives #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum #SSSMcollection

Have you ever sent or received a postcard? If you haven’t sent one yourself, you’ve likely seen a rack of postcards for ...
08/05/2021

Have you ever sent or received a postcard? If you haven’t sent one yourself, you’ve likely seen a rack of postcards for sale at a souvenir shop at some point. Unlike many artifact types in the Seaport Museum collections and archives, postcards are still being printed, purchased and sent around the world, including at Bowne & Co., the Museum's historic letterpress print shop.

Compared to scrimshaw, clipper cards, and mucilage bottles, postcards are something that most people are familiar with and need little explanation. But, as the old saying goes, does familiarity breed contempt? Are postcards valuable enough to be part of a museum collection? Of course they are!

In this week's Collections Chronicles blog our two Collections and Curatorial Summer Interns explored the origins of the format of postcards, their uniqueness as historical documents and voices of the past, and the importance of correctly cataloging these precious pieces of ephemera that they worked closely with over the past few months. seaportmuseum.org/missives-from-the-past

#CollectionsCare #SummerInternship #Postcards #Ephemera #SSSMcollection #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum

#OnThisDay in 1968 the iconic lightship Ambrose (LV-87/WAL-512), currently docked at Pier 16, arrived at the South Stree...
08/05/2021

#OnThisDay in 1968 the iconic lightship Ambrose (LV-87/WAL-512), currently docked at Pier 16, arrived at the South Street Seaport Museum. From 1908 until 1932 she had marked the entrance to the Ambrose Channel, a deeper channel dredged in New York Harbor in the early 20th century to accommodate larger and larger ships. The great ocean liners of the era that carried millions of immigrants to Ellis Island, as well as ever-expanding cargo vessels that powered New York’s economy, would pass through Ambrose Channel—guided by the steadfast light of lightship Ambrose.

After her long career, lightship Ambrose was donated to the newly-formed South Street Seaport Museum by the U.S. Coast Guard, making her the first vessel to join our fleet. She has inspired multiple ship models in our collection, including this one made in 1987 that reflects Ambrose as she’s appeared for the past decades at the Seaport Museum.

Image: Col. Walter R. Bruyere III (196-2004), maker. “Lightship Ambrose” ca. 1987. Wood, paint, thread, metal. Gift of Walter R. Bruyere 1987.007.0001

#TodayinHistory #OnThisDay #Lighship #LightshipAMBROSE #HistoricShip #NewYorkHarbor #NYHistory #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum #WhereNewYorkBegins

#OnThisDay in 1968 the iconic lightship Ambrose (LV-87/WAL-512), currently docked at Pier 16, arrived at the South Street Seaport Museum. From 1908 until 1932 she had marked the entrance to the Ambrose Channel, a deeper channel dredged in New York Harbor in the early 20th century to accommodate larger and larger ships. The great ocean liners of the era that carried millions of immigrants to Ellis Island, as well as ever-expanding cargo vessels that powered New York’s economy, would pass through Ambrose Channel—guided by the steadfast light of lightship Ambrose.

After her long career, lightship Ambrose was donated to the newly-formed South Street Seaport Museum by the U.S. Coast Guard, making her the first vessel to join our fleet. She has inspired multiple ship models in our collection, including this one made in 1987 that reflects Ambrose as she’s appeared for the past decades at the Seaport Museum.

Image: Col. Walter R. Bruyere III (196-2004), maker. “Lightship Ambrose” ca. 1987. Wood, paint, thread, metal. Gift of Walter R. Bruyere 1987.007.0001

#TodayinHistory #OnThisDay #Lighship #LightshipAMBROSE #HistoricShip #NewYorkHarbor #NYHistory #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum #WhereNewYorkBegins

Today is the birthday of the United States Coast Guard! #OnThisDay in 1790, the United States Congress authorized Alexan...
08/04/2021

Today is the birthday of the United States Coast Guard! #OnThisDay in 1790, the United States Congress authorized Alexander Hamilton, then Secretary of the Treasury, to build ten “cutters” (a small, maneuverable type of vessel) to protect the new nation's maritime trade revenue, enforce tariff and trade laws, and prevent smuggling. This date is now recognized as the official birthday of the Coast Guard, though the name “US Coast Guard” was adopted when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Life-Saving Service in 1915.

This photograph shows a Revenue cutter cruising in New York Harbor in the years just before the formation of the US Coast Guard. It is one of the hundreds of photographs of the US Custom House Collection the Museum has recently digitized. A selection of 200 photographic prints, dated ca. 1920s-1960s, from the collection are available to browse on our free Collections Online Portal at seaportmuseum.org/collectionsonline

Image: “US Revenue Cutter” 1907-1915. US Custom House Collection, 2005.USCH.0335

#MaritimeHeritage #MaritimeHistory #USCoastGuard #SSSMcollection #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum

Today is the birthday of the United States Coast Guard! #OnThisDay in 1790, the United States Congress authorized Alexander Hamilton, then Secretary of the Treasury, to build ten “cutters” (a small, maneuverable type of vessel) to protect the new nation's maritime trade revenue, enforce tariff and trade laws, and prevent smuggling. This date is now recognized as the official birthday of the Coast Guard, though the name “US Coast Guard” was adopted when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Life-Saving Service in 1915.

This photograph shows a Revenue cutter cruising in New York Harbor in the years just before the formation of the US Coast Guard. It is one of the hundreds of photographs of the US Custom House Collection the Museum has recently digitized. A selection of 200 photographic prints, dated ca. 1920s-1960s, from the collection are available to browse on our free Collections Online Portal at seaportmuseum.org/collectionsonline

Image: “US Revenue Cutter” 1907-1915. US Custom House Collection, 2005.USCH.0335

#MaritimeHeritage #MaritimeHistory #USCoastGuard #SSSMcollection #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum

Our new Object of the Month celebrates the birthday of one of Lower Manhattan’s most famous residents, Herman Melville (...
08/02/2021

Our new Object of the Month celebrates the birthday of one of Lower Manhattan’s most famous residents, Herman Melville (1819–1891). This striking painting by renowned maritime painter James E. Buttersworth (1817–1894) was used as the cover for “Tales of the Sea: An Illustrated Collection of Adventure Stories” a publication of short essays by authors such as Jack London and Herman Melville about life on the high seas, with illustrations from the South Street Seaport Museum Collection.

Herman Melville grew up with art; his home and the houses of his relatives were decorated with paintings, prints, and drawings. Maritime scenes like this often made their way into his later writings. Melville’s fondness for collecting and viewing art was possibly inherited from his father, a merchant and importer who collected prints and drawings of his travels. In adulthood, Melville built up a sizable art collection of his own.

James E. Buttersworth was famous for popularizing images of the “Great Age of Sail” as he was most interested in depicting grand vessels in their full, technical complexity. His favorite type of vessel to paint was the clipper ship, which had reached its height of popularity in the mid 1840’s. He sought to portray the elegance and speed of these ships, rather than focusing on light and atmosphere like other painters during the same period. In this painting, the ship is struggling against this great force of nature in order to take the crew to safety.

In “Tales of the Sea”, Melville describes what it was like to be part of the crew rounding Cape Horn. “...this was impossible; I could scarcely hear the man leeward at my elbow; the wind seemed to sn**ch the words from his mouth and fly away with them to the South Pole.” We wonder if these sailors in the painting were experiencing the same thing.

Image: James Edward Buttersworth (1817-1894), “Ship in Storm” ca. 1855. Oil on canvas. Peter A. and Jack R. Aron Collection, South Street Seaport Museum 1991.068.0094

#Painting #OilOnCanvas #MaritimeArt #MaritimeHistory #SSSMcollection #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum #WhereNewYorkBegins

Our new Object of the Month celebrates the birthday of one of Lower Manhattan’s most famous residents, Herman Melville (1819–1891). This striking painting by renowned maritime painter James E. Buttersworth (1817–1894) was used as the cover for “Tales of the Sea: An Illustrated Collection of Adventure Stories” a publication of short essays by authors such as Jack London and Herman Melville about life on the high seas, with illustrations from the South Street Seaport Museum Collection.

Herman Melville grew up with art; his home and the houses of his relatives were decorated with paintings, prints, and drawings. Maritime scenes like this often made their way into his later writings. Melville’s fondness for collecting and viewing art was possibly inherited from his father, a merchant and importer who collected prints and drawings of his travels. In adulthood, Melville built up a sizable art collection of his own.

James E. Buttersworth was famous for popularizing images of the “Great Age of Sail” as he was most interested in depicting grand vessels in their full, technical complexity. His favorite type of vessel to paint was the clipper ship, which had reached its height of popularity in the mid 1840’s. He sought to portray the elegance and speed of these ships, rather than focusing on light and atmosphere like other painters during the same period. In this painting, the ship is struggling against this great force of nature in order to take the crew to safety.

In “Tales of the Sea”, Melville describes what it was like to be part of the crew rounding Cape Horn. “...this was impossible; I could scarcely hear the man leeward at my elbow; the wind seemed to sn**ch the words from his mouth and fly away with them to the South Pole.” We wonder if these sailors in the painting were experiencing the same thing.

Image: James Edward Buttersworth (1817-1894), “Ship in Storm” ca. 1855. Oil on canvas. Peter A. and Jack R. Aron Collection, South Street Seaport Museum 1991.068.0094

#Painting #OilOnCanvas #MaritimeArt #MaritimeHistory #SSSMcollection #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum #WhereNewYorkBegins

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