Today the National Maritime Museum is opening an exhibition to mark the centenary of the sinking of the passenger liner Titanic in 1912.
The Titanic has become the most famous maritime disaster in history, largely through the compelling personal stories told by survivors of the tragedy, in which over 1500 people lost their lives.
This exhibition will focus on some of these stories as told to Walter Lord who featured them in the book, A Night to Remember. The book was later made into a film by producer William MacQuitty. The exhibition will display for the first time a selection of items from the Lord-MacQuitty Titaniccollection which was bequeathed to the National Maritime Museum.
Love Flickr? We’re looking for active Flickr members to take part in an exciting co-curation project to choose photos from the Museum’s collection that you’d like to see on display. We’re keen to understand what interests and motivates you as Flickr members, and how it can inform the way we interpret our photographic collections. You’ll get a behind the scenes look at the Museum and find out how displays are put together, from selecting a theme to writing gallery text and more. The photos selected will be uploaded onto Flickr Commons and will also be exhibited in the Compass Lounge; the Museum’s new interactive gallery space in the Sammy Ofer Wing. The display will run for a period of six months until February 2013.
The workshops are part of a PhD research project that is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the National Maritime Museum. The workshops will take place on 14 April and 12 – 13 May from 10am – 4pm at the Museum in Greenwich, London. If you would like to be involved please email Bronwen Colquhoun at firstname.lastname@example.org to express an interest in taking part, as places are limited. We will get back to you with more definite dates and times once they have been confirmed.
Please note that participants must be able attend all of the stated sessions and there are no fees or expenses available, but lunch will be provided free of charge.
Whilst undertaking my internship in the Metals Conservation studio at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, part of my duties involve regular visits to the stores. On a routine inspection of one of the sections, the discovery of these interesting objects quickly caught my attention. A pair of weighted brass and leather diving boots, with brass buckles and copper rivets is not something that one comes across every day.
Manufactured by famous London diving company Siebe Gorman in the mid-19th century, these boots would have been used for underwater diving on a soft and loose bottomed sea bed such as sand or silt.
The boots were showing signs of active corrosion products of a bright green soft waxy deposit predominantly around the areas where the copper rivets attach to the leather. This is caused by the reaction between the free fatty acids found in the leather with the copper, which forms a waxy metal salt, most commonly known in conservation as a metal soap. The brass was also covered in a green corrosion product, although this was a harder product, more firmly attached to the metal. The leather was dirty, very waxy and rigid and brittle in areas and due to its weight, the leather had collapsed and ‘set’ itself into a slumped form.
Various methods of treatment were decided on to remove the corrosion products, clean, reshape and support the slumped leather suitable for re-storage. Delicate mechanical removal of the waxy deposits was undertaken, taking care not to damage the brown coloured copper oxide layer beneath. Whilst working under a 20 x microscope mechanical removal using a scalpel was used to remove the harder corrosion products from the brass components. A temporary custom built ‘tent’ was used to house the boots for humidification to soften the leather to enable re-shaping and support.
Conservation work on the diving boots is still underway. I am continuing to stabilise the corrosion and will shortly start constructing inner supports for the leather.
Siebe Gorman Diving Boots before conservation treatment