Welcome to Collections Corner! Back in November, we launched an IMLS grant-funded project to more fully catalog a large portion of our collection. The results will make it easier to find and learn about objects in the museum’s online catalog. Today, we will highlight something interesting that has been recently cataloged.
Currently, we are working to document half hull models. Prior to the practice of drafting plans, shipwrights constructed half hull models as the primary means of planning a ship’s design and ensuring that the ship would be symmetrical. The half hulls were exact scale representations of the intended ship’s hull. One such half hull in the collection is 99.088.3, which is of the North Star, a ship built by Joseph Foster of Bath, which we know because it was written on the model. It is the earliest half model in the collection, made around 1810. Interestingly, the scaled-up dimensions of the model do not match the dimensions of the ship, but slight alterations to a model in the building of a ship were not uncommon. Despite the differences, it is an incredible documentation of the early shipbuilding traditions of Bath.
You can access the collections database to learn more about this object and many others here: https://maritimeme.catalogaccess.com/home