Muqim, active 1609–59, Pakistan, Planispheric astrolabe (detail), 1640–50. Brass. Gift of Richard Wheatland, 1921. M2560. © Peabody Essex Museum.
In the new space, visitors encounter a blend of stunning maritime paintings next to things made by lonely and hardworking sailors, offering a well-rounded understanding of the creative output inspired by the sea. A curious object called a calendar stick helps tell this story, putting us in the shoes of its maker. The stick started as a sealing club and turned into something far more significant. A Rhode Island man, stranded on a remote island after a shipwreck in 1804, put 161 notches into this stick to document his days. “No doubt staring out at the horizon all day, every day, waiting to see another sail appear,” adds Finamore.
Another significant object in the gallery is a logbook from the first voyage of the Friendship of Salem. The first mate’s 18th-century loopy script tells us about wind, currents, rare bird sightings, the sickness of the crew and the rum exchanged for coffee in Batavia.
Thomas Russell. 1780–1817, United States and Mr. Odell. Active late 1700s–early 1800s, United States Model of the 1797 ship Friendship, about 1804. Wood, cordage, and bronze. Gift of William Story, about 1804. Courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts.
A multimedia interactive station invites visitors to click on highlights of the nearly year-long voyage and see the adventures that took place between Salem and the East Indies in order to better understand the danger, excitement and sheer length of a global voyage at sea. Then, they may compare PEM’s model of the ship, constructed aboard the Friendship in 1804, with the full-scale replica in Salem Harbor.
© 2019 Peabody Essex Museum. Photography by Bob Packert
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