Dr. Edward Harris 2013-04-16 03:44:05
A new permanent exhibit is now open to the public at the National Museum of Bermuda and is housed where the Museum first began — inside the Queen’s Exhibition Hall in the lower grounds of The Keep, the great fort of the old Royal Naval Dockyard. “Shipwreck Island: Sunken clues to Bermuda’s past” takes you back to the dawn of the Atlantic World when European ships crossed the ocean in search of new lands and riches. The exhibit tells the story of Bermuda’s discovery, early settlement and history (from 1505 to 1684) through the lens of a collection of 16th- and 17th-century shipwreck artefacts recovered from Bermuda waters. For five centuries, hundreds of vessels have come to grief on Bermuda’s encircling reefs due to reasons such as pilot error, raging storms, inaccurate charts and the historical inability to accurately determine one’s position at sea. The artefacts from Bermuda’s shipwrecks are more than a collection of fascinating and precious objects. They are material records of Bermuda’s interaction with the Atlantic World, offering insight into life on board ships and the technology, activities, craftsmanship and cultures of the past 500 years. The exhibition features some of Bermuda’s earliest wrecks with more than 1,000 shipwreck artefacts on display. The collection is of both international and local significance and includes a large cannon; rare New World indigenous weapons; intact olive jars; silver coins; gold objects; colonial pottery; medical, navigational and ship tools; and exotic trade goods from the New World and Asia. The exhibit also explores life aboard a ship, the people who discovered Bermuda’s earliest shipwrecks, underwater archaeology and the importance of protecting our underwater cultural heritage for future generations. Come visit the National Museum and find out why Bermuda can be called the Shipwreck Capital of the Atlantic.
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