Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Make Mine Maritime, Museum That Is

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
While at the waterfront, I took a quick but fascinating swing through the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

It is a kid pleaser from the moment you walk in, thanks to a grisly recreation of a dead pirate hanging in a gibbet and to the Kraken that looms in a corner upstairs.


An adult pleaser, too. What's your craft? Small boats, large boats/ships, working boats/ships, pleasure boats/ships, oars, steam or sail? All are here, life-sized or models.

 Particularly interesting and poignant, especially to the non-nautically inclined, are re-creations and artifacts from the doomed HMS Titanic and its passengers. A wooden deck chair from the elegant liner, pieces of carved wood decorative elements, a mortuary bag. So sound a sleeper was Halifax millionaire George Wright that he slept through the alarms and was lost at sea.
Of course there is an exhibit on Samuel Cunard, the native son who became a shipping magnate and whose name still graces the world's only regularly scheduled ocean liner service between Great Britain and the United States.

Another fascinating section is dedicated to the Great Halifax Explosion, a temporary exhibit so popular with Haligonians that it is now a permanent fixture.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.
The next day, the Good Girls returned to the waterfront. We had a grand time learning about the 1.5 million immigrants who came to Canada through Pier 21, the Canadian Ellis Island,  between the 1920s and 1970s. Our visit to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 was, for non-Canadians, surprisingly interesting.

Etiquette Lesson
Would you have arrived as a first, second or third class passenger? See if you can pick out and properly set your china and glassware.

First class setting.

Which fork?

After World War II, one of the biggest waves of immigration occurred. Canada needed farmers, the Netherlands had farmers and many came with $100 per family and a kist, a box of everything they expected to need for their new life on a Canadian farm. The contents of these, some as large as a two-car garage, are fascinating.
Sample kist.
Kist Up Close

On the train car west.
Daunting is the word for the train trip that took them from Halifax to Vancouver. We sat in the model train car and tried to imagine what life in those packed cars must have been like.

Debi and Judy.
We didn't have to imagine the nurses who examined immigrants because in typical Good Girls style, we tried on their uniforms.

Don't miss the very good museum store on the first floor.

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