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Australia : Treasures of the American Collection.

A ships passport for the American whaling ship Stephania signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864, exquisite ship models, and cameras used by Australian underwater cinematographers Ron and Valerie Taylor on the 1974 film set of Jaws, are just some of over 100 fascinating objects brought together for Treasures of the American Collection, opening at the Australian National Maritime Museum on 1 July.

A treasure trove of fine maritime art, exquisite ship models and popular culture assembled for the first time at Darling Harbour.

A ships passport for the American whaling ship Stephania signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864, exquisite ship models, and cameras used by Australian underwater cinematographers Ron and Valerie Taylor on the 1974 film set of Jaws, are just some of over 100 fascinating objects brought together for Treasures of the American Collection, opening at the Australian National Maritime Museum on 1 July.

Rich and captivating stories from the shared maritime experience of Australia and the USA are told in this collection of treasures from the museums American collection. The unique gathering of artefacts have been acquired since 1988 with the USA Bicentennial Gift Fund, a major gift from the people of America to support Australia to research and interpret the maritime links between the two seafaring nations.

The exhibition celebrates the 25th anniversary of the museums USA Gallery. Visitors to Treasures of the American Collection will see masterful ships paintings and seascapes, portraits of dour ships captains, scrimshaw, and intricate ship and engine models among other treasures documenting the American and Australian relationship in trade, science, migration, defence, exploration, politics, popular culture, love and war.

Kevin Sumption, museum director, said that the Treasures of the American Collection is a dramatic overview of not only the breadth but the extraordinary relationship between Australia and the United States over the last 200 years.

This unique collection tells amazing seafaring stories, highlights incredible human accomplishments and brings to life all aspects of the shared maritime history and enduring friendship between the two nations.

Among the treasure trove of objects on display is A Journal of a Voyage around the World in His Majestys Ship the Endeavour thought to be written by New York-born James Mario Magra, who served on the first Pacific voyage of James Cooks HMB Endeavour. It portrays Cook in a negative light, probably owing to the fact that he and Magra did not get on. Cook describing Magra as one of those gentlemen, frequently found on board Kings Ships, that can very well be spared, or to speake more planer good for nothing.

Kei Athe Mosby, a majestic large-scale vinyl cut print by Torres Strait Islander artist Glen Kei Kalak was recently acquired by the USA fund. Kei Kalak was inspired by a hunt through his ancestry to uncover the mysterious story of the life of his great grandfather Civil War veteran Edward (Yankee Ned) Mosby. Born in Virginia around 1840, Ned sailed aboard a whaling ship around the Pacific after the war and eventually settled on Masig Island where he married, started a pearl-shell industry, brought a school teacher to the island, and encouraged the locals to run off foreign pearl shell divers and assert their rights.

Other treasures include Zippo lighters from US Navy vessels visiting Sydney between 1950 and 1980 collected by Sydney woman Vanessa Roberson, souvenir pencils from World War II engraved with General Douglas Macarthurs famous words, I shall return, propaganda posters, the work of war artists, and a lovingly preserved gardenia corsage from the wartime romance of an Australian war bride.

More recent maritime history is represented by models of two navy vessels designed and built in Alabama for the US Navy by the Australian company Austal the Littoral Combat Ship and the Joint High Speed Vessel (now called the Expeditionary Fast Transport vessel EPF).

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jun 18, 2016
Words:649
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