Went yesterday to the Amsterdam/New Amsterdam: The Worlds of Henry Hudson show at the Museum of the City of New York (5th ave at 103rd st). Some really fantastic stuff, mostly from the Maritime Museum in Amsterdam. There’s a model’s of Hudson’s ship, the Half-Moon, some great atlas & other books, a canon recovered from underwater, clothing, one sword and part of another…
The exhibition used a lot of reproductions and also projected images from maps on the wall, so that they could show more material. There were several audio clips, one of a Dutch sea-chantey. Navigational tools included a log line, magnetic and geometric compasses, and a gorgeous pair of 17c globes.
But probably the most interesting part of the show was the explicit connection between the 70-foot long space of the exhibition hall and the 70-foot long ship on which Hudson sailed upriver. Two “sails” flew overhead, and the center of the gallery space was framed in with dark wood panels so that you felt you were on a (small) ocean-going ship. A great way to bring the material into the lives of the audience.
Though the truth is that my daughter loved the 19c dollhouses upstairs more than even the 17c tiles that showed Dutch children at play.
Sounds incredible, especially the actual recovered materials. Ever plan on posting pictures (if you were allowed to take any)?
By the way, something else I’ve been meaning to ask you: I’ve been looking around your website and reading about your latest work that deals with the sea and shipwreck, and I was wondering if you’ve ever read Yann Martell’s Life of Pi. It won the Man Booker Prize in 2002, and it’s one of my favorite novels. I’d love to read it again, this time keeping an eye out for the way the sea and shipwreck themes are presented.
Do you plan on teaching a course centered around these themes any time soon?
I too am a fan of *Life of Pi*, and I’ve taught it on several occasions. In fact I’ll be teaching it this fall, in a Honors section of Global Lit that will be sea-themed.
I haven’t fully worked up my grad course for spring 2010 yet, but I’m leaning toward an early modern globalism/transoceanic culture course, to dovetail with the show at the Folger that I’ll be curating in June 2010. Stay tuned for further info…
That global lit class sounds great, and it kind of makes me wish I hadn’t already taken that class a few years ago.
That possible grad class sounds interesting so far too. I’ll be on the lookout for grad or undergrad (since I’m not yet a full time grad student) classes that deal with these issues.