October 13, 2014

U.S. Naval Academy Museum

After a wet round of golf today in Queenstown Harbor, AW and I stopped at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum on the way home. It had been more than 17 years since my last visit there. I had heard they did a renovation about 4 years ago, so a trip was due.

Overview of the Dockyard models
Readers of my blog will know I have a strong interest in ship models. My layout will eventually house several ship models.  My models will be essentially structures set in water. Though I will try to make them as accurate as possible, they will not compare to the models the Naval Academy's collection of Admiralty or Dockyard models. These were model ships built by the ship contractors of the time, probably as gifts to naval leaders they needed to impress. Since so few ships from this period survived, but several hundred models did, these are the best look we have at ship construction in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Many models dockyard models did not
 have rigging, but some, as this one, does.
The ship models in the Naval Academy museum came mostly from the Col Henry H. Rodgers collection. He was the son of a wealthy American oil magnate who collected ship models from antique dealers and private individuals. He bequeathed them to the Academy in 1935.  He also had a collection of prisoners of war bone models, also very impressive models. For more info see this video about the museum's collection .



Note the intricate carved gun ports and the female figures carved in the poop deck supports.

An example of the craftsmanship, 40,000 tacks used to copper plate the hull of HMS Minerva.

Close up of the bow



The museum also has a nice collection of other ship models, though their collection of ACW era ships are somewhat sparse.

The USS Syren, a fine looking brig.

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