Monday, January 11, 2010

You Had Me At
"Eight-Foot-Long Model of a 1940s Battleship with Miniature Sailors Swabbing the Deck"

A short article ran in Friday's New York Times about Daniella Romano, who runs the Brooklyn Navy Yard's archive.
For the last six years, while [Romano] has been running the yard’s archive and collecting artifacts for a museum scheduled to open next year, unexpected gifts have been arriving at her office in a former electronics workshop. Velvet-lined boxes of naval architects’ drafting tools have turned up, as well as 1860s gunpowder pouches, sailors’ vintage uniforms, rusted guns and a World War I-era ID badge with a photograph of a pale, somber shipbuilder, labeled Q496 51631.

The archive has also received a 1909 postcard showing the yard paymaster’s house; on the back an enraged shipyard worker scrawled to his girlfriend, “What kind of a gin game you giving me, taking me for a damn fool?”

Ms. Romano has even been handed a can of cremated human remains; the deceased, Eugenia Farrar, an opera singer, performed a pioneering 1907 radio broadcast that was picked up by Navy Yard radio operators.

“We try not to move that can, because the ashes shake out,” Ms. Romano said while giving a tour of an archive storeroom a few weeks ago. She had to step around some rusted horseshoes that were dug up at the yard and a recently donated, eight-foot-long model of a 1940s battleship with miniature sailors swabbing the deck.
Read the rest at; info on the forthcoming Brooklyn Navy Yard museum can be found here. See also: The Brooklyn Navy Yard's Flickr Stream, where I snagged the image above.

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