Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Peabody Museum

This follows up on my recent post on Oceanic Art. I remembered some old photographs of the Peabody Museum in Salem, Massachusetts that are in the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Collection (PPOC). Here's a photo (taken c. 1910) of the exterior of the East India Marine Hall (constructed 1824) which houses the museum:

Detroit Publishing Co. Collection (PPOC), Library of Congress, LC-D4-78028

The massive anchor standing by the front entrance really impressed me as a kid. . . I always wanted to climb the iron fence and get closer! Here's another, more recent shot of the Marine Hall, exactly as I remember it. And here's an older view. . . note the cobblestone pavement and the obtrusive telegraph poles.

Here's an interior shot of their bird exhibits, also featuring the awesome skeleton of a whale:

Detroit Publishing Co. Collection (PPOC), Library of Congress, LC-D4-39495

There was also a big diorama behind glass featuring birds in a facsimile of their natural habitat. All the species were listed on a panel and when you pressed a button a recording of the selected bird's call played while a spot light simultaneously illuminated the bird in the display.

This is the second story of the museum. The room was so big and open that you really had to restrain yourself (or be restrained by an adult) from running! Lots of detailed ship models to see, plus some brightly painted ships figureheads. In front of the arched windows to the rear are two giant sponge plants; Neptune's Cups I think they are called. To the rear left is the doorway leading to the Japanese, South Pacific and African collections. Here's the room of Japanese Artifacts:

Detroit Publishing Co. Collection (PPOC), Library of Congress, LC-D4-39494

And here's my favorite, the room of South Pacific and African artifacts:

Detroit Publishing Co. Collection (PPOC), Library of Congress, LC-D4-39492

The collection was on the uppermost floor and there was the most intriguing smell. As I mentioned before, it only takes a whiff of Labdanum (aka Rock Rose) essential oil to transport me back in time.

1 comment:

Cyth said...

I have not been to the museum that you speak of. I've meant to for a very long time, and just haven't. But it reminds me of the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. I went there as a young child and had the pleasure of taking my 5th graders there as part of our art curriculum for the better part of 20 years. I LOVE it. Now that I'm living 2 hours away I rarely get to it. Thanks for jogging my memory. Have a good day