For Those In Peril: Shipwrecks, Memorials, and Rescues

Join us for the Opening Reception Friday, May 24, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Saturday, May 25—Sunday, October 20, 2013

For-Those-In_Peril-posterThroughout history, shipwrecks have been the subject of legends, music, books, paintings, and performance. Disasters at sea, whether from storms, collisions, fires, war, vessel failure, or disease, have impacted life around the world. In Maine, we have an especially poignant history of loss to the sea: from the 19th century days of merchant sail, through the vast numbers of fishermen who worked and continue to work under hazardous conditions, to present day merchant marine training and recreational boating, Maine families and communities have known tragedies and triumphs on the water.

Penobscot Marine Museum’s exhibit explores the shipwrecks and near misses; the perfect storms and sudden squalls; those lost at sea and the families left behind; and the brave lifesavers and brilliant marine equipment innovators. Through the museum’s collection of marine art, portraits, photographs, lifesaving equipment, original manuscripts and logbooks, small watercraft, models, and navigational instruments, the stories of “those in peril” will come alive in the summer of 2013.

This exhibit will feature an overview gallery exhibit to set the stage; our sea captain’s home will be a house in mourning for a lost captain; safety equipment and fishermen’s memorials will be featured in our Gone Fishing exhibit; and a lighthouse playscape and a marine archeology salvage activity will be in one of our dedicated children’s rooms.

Although equipment, vessels, and communications have changed dramatically over the past 150 years, the sea has not. Recent events, such as the loss of the Bounty in the recent storm, illustrate this point. The sea is still a formidable force that demands experience, training, and respect. Our exhibit will heighten public awareness of the dangers of the sea, no matter what one’s level of occupational or recreational involvement. It will provide audiences with a greater understanding of the communities of the Maine coast and how they have been shaped in part by the sea and its dangers. Visitors to the museum in 2013 will learn what has happened and can happen at sea; experience first-hand accounts, both historical and more contemporary, of disasters and their aftereffects; gain appreciation for the difficult and sometimes capricious nature of people’s lives when they depend on the sea for a living; and share some of their own stories on our “Ship Log Blog,” which will contain both historic accounts and tales of modern disasters contributed by the public.