Tuesday, July 13, 2010
National Maritime Museum
We toured the Caird Library, which is one of the largest Maritime Libraries in the world. The collection is quite unique, holding papers, archives, and rare books on immigration, piracy, astronomy, voyages and explorations, and naval architecture. The library was donated by Sir James Caird and has been open to the public since 1937. The hours have been minimized to only 3 days a week because of their future plans for a new building. The move is supposed to help with the accessibility of the library. Since the library is located in the back of the museum, it's currently a hidden secret. The new facility is supposed to bring in more patrons and be easier to locate. The Caird Library holds 8,000 rare books and 20,000 periodicals. There are 70,000 records and the archives contains over 4 miles of shelving. Caird Library is publicly funded. Martin and Hannah divided the group up to show us some of the rare collections the Caird Library holds. The Principles of Mr. Harrison's Timekeeper contains Harrison's accurate timekeeper. He had four models, H1,2,3, and 4. The fourth won the award in 1769 for being the most accurate timekeeper. One of my favorites was the Aurora Staris, which was the first book ever printed, illustrated, and bound in the Antarctic. Apparently, printing books was a popular past time in Antarctica. The printing press was donated and accompanied the journey. The book is 120 pages, containing poems and illustrations. George Marson. the on board artist, made the illustrations. Another interesting piece were the small books on the narrative of the Royal George. The ship sank during a repair, killing 900 people. The author of the books is unknown. There are detailed illustrations of the ship sinking and include many different accounts of the sinking.