South Street Seaport Museum announces expansion of digital galleries in online collections portal

The South Street Seaport Museum announces the release of the next set of collectible artifacts for digital visitors to browse, search and enjoy. In March 2021, the museum launched an online collections portal, which today features more than 2,000 pieces in virtual display, allowing the public to explore New York City’s past through archives, artefacts and photographs from the South Street Seaport Museum. This third iteration includes more than 400 newly digitized works of art and historical objects spanning a variety of mediums, historical subjects and themes related to the growth and evolution of the physical fabric of New York City as a port. global. Now available, the digital galleries can be viewed FREE at

Discover history and works of art from the comfort of your own home with the new online database. Showcasing artefacts from the early 19th century to the mid-20th century, the online collection includes a searchable database of selected works of art and historical artifacts from the Seaport Museum’s permanent and working collections of over 28,500 objects, encapsulating New York City’s rich maritime heritage.

The four sets of new digital galleries include:

Architectural elements

The Museum’s collection of architectural and building components includes bricks, doors and windows, wallpaper samples, cast iron and terracotta ornaments, structural ironwork, and more. Most of the artifacts belong to various adaptations and style iterations of Schermerhorn Row, a Federal-style counting house built between 1810-1812 and which has housed the Seaport Museum since the 1970s. The remaining artifacts belong to other significant buildings in the Lower Manhattan which no longer exists, including, but not limited to the Edgar H. Laing stores of 1849, the Fulton Fish Market of 1882, the Rhinelander building of 1893 and the Bush Company building of 1905.

George P. Hall and Sons Photograph Collection

The large-format glass plate negatives in this collection provide detailed depictions of Manhattan from the 1880s to the 1910s, including port activity, bridge building, downtown streets, early skyscrapers, and more. as views of the new US Navy steel battleships of the 1890s. Commercial photography firm George P. Hall & Son operated in Manhattan from 1886 to 1914, working at several studios in Lower Manhattan and the Seaport, documenting the changing face of New York City at the turn of the 20th century.

Nautical instruments

The South Street Seaport Museum’s collection of nautical instruments includes navigational instruments used by sailors to monitor their environment and ships, as well as thousands of historic and antique tools used in shipyards and port work by laborers and riggers. These artifacts are testimony to the generations of craftsmen, carpenters, laborers, riggers and sailboats who used the South Street waterfront district as a place to manufacture, market and export their wares.

Wood patterns

This collection of small pieces of carved wood is an example of model making: an age-old technology used to build all kinds of fittings and ship parts. Some of the collection of wooden shipyard models were produced by the New York naval architecture firm Gibbs & Cox, while others were made by the historic Ira S. Bushey Shipyard, formerly located on Gowanus Creek, Brooklyn.

Other virtual highlights of the South Street Seaport Museum collections include the following categories at Drawings and Watercolors, Manuscripts and Ephemera, Navigational Instruments and Carpentry Tools, Neighborhood Items, Paintings, Prints and Lithographs, History Printing, Scrimshaw, Ship Components, Ship Models, Special Collections, Tattoo Collection, Remains of Old Hotels, Institutional Archives and Maritime Reference.

The South Street Seaport Museum’s collections consist of over 28,500 works of art and artifacts and over 55,000 historical records documenting New York’s rise as a port city, and its role in the development of the economy and business of the United States through social services and architectural landscapes. The museum’s collections trace the history of New York Harbor and Harbor, from the East River piers and Manhattan waterfront areas to other boroughs in the city and to the New Jersey coastline. The museum also documents and interprets New York’s international trade routes, world cultures, and navigation, including all aspects of life, art, and work associated with them.

For a deeper dive into the collection, visit the museum’s “Collections Chronicles” blog where the collections team takes readers behind the scenes to share some of their work, while highlighting the hidden gems of history, the seaport and the collection of the seaport museum at the seaportmuseum. org / blog / chronicles-collections /.

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About Margaret L. Portillo

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