News: Fall 2013
Museum to Celebrate 50th Birthday of Vincent Thomas Bridge on November 16th
On Saturday, November 16th from 1pm-3pm, the Museum will host a birthday celebration in honor of the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Vincent Thomas Bridge. The 2.2 mile bridge, which opened in 1963, links San Pedro to Terminal Island and was the first welded suspension bridge in the United States.
Festivities include crafts, games, and a special birthday cake. A special exhibit of bridge and ferry artifacts will be on view. Admission is free.
Torrance Parker to Make Deep Dive on October 23
Renowned deep sea diver and author Torrance R. Parker, 85, will perform a live diving demonstration in a canvas diving suit with brass helmet on Wednesday, October 23 at 1:00 pm at the Los Angeles Maritime Museum followed by a book signing and reception for his second book: 20,000 Divers Under The Sea: A History of the Mediterranean and Western Atlantic Sponge Trades with an Account of Early Deep Diving.
Ms. Elisabeth Fotiadou Consul General of Greece in Los Angeles is honorary host for the event. All proceeds from book sales will go to the Friends of Los Angeles Maritime Museum.
The book presents a deep and thorough account of sponge diving from ancient Greece to its current epicenter in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Parker chronicles the history of sponge diving, an ancient trade for an ancient organism 600 million years old beneficial for humans through time — from the first sponge trade in the Aegean Sea – to its expansion into the greater Mediterranean area – to the technological change introduced to the Greek sponge fishermen in 1863 with compressed air diving apparatus. Parker connects Greek immigration to America and the establishment of the sponge diving industry in Florida.
A native of Oklahoma, Parker began his diving career on a Greek sponge diving vessel at age 16 during World War II. In 1947 he arrived in San Pedro and founded Parker Diving Service Inc., a general engineering and commercial diving firm. Since its founding, the company has performed work in many parts of the United States, as well as Central and South America. Still operating under the Parker name, it is now the oldest continuously operating commercial diving company in California.
The presentation is free, and the book will be available for purchase in the Sea Chest Museum Shop. (Friends of the LA Maritime Museum receive a 10% discount)
Learn more about Torrance’s amazing career here.
Links to Media Coverage of the Event are here
Photos from the October 24th edition of the Daily Breeze are here
The Museum has received a grant from the US Navy Cruiser Sailors Association to purchase audio equipment in order to record oral histories from officers, crew, and families of the men who served aboard the USS Los Angeles CA-135. Portions of interviews will be made available on our website and will be incorporated into the Museum’s CA-135 exhibit. If you would like to participate please contact us.
The Steamship Historical Society has named the Los Angeles Maritime Museum’s tugboat ANGELS GATE as the 2013 Tugboat of the Year. The award was presented on Saturday, May 4th, during the Society’s annual conference held in Long Beach, California.
“Each year the Steamship Historical Society of America recognizes vessels, people or entities that have exemplified or made a significant contribution to the history of engine-powered vessels. ANGELS GATE was selected in recognition of her approaching 70th anniversary and the Museum’s devoted efforts to preserve her and make her available for educational and enjoyment purposes”, stated CDR John Hamma, USN (Ret), President of the Society.
See the Library’s Blog, “Adventures in Maritime History” on blogspot.
A new book in the Library is now on display in the Navy Hall in the Library exhibit “Mess Halls and Ward Rooms, 1880s to 1950s”. The book, Taste of War: World War II and the Battle for Food by Lizzie (Elizabeth M.) Collingham is a rare glimpse into the real reasons why the allies were successful in World War II. The Taste of War is a 500 page testimonial to the hardships brought to countries that might otherwise be competitive with warring nations. See our reader’s advisory here.
An earlier post on maritime labor history is entitled “Labor’s Imprint on History”. Any aspect of maritime history is framed and supported by the labor of many numbers of men and women who’ve done the jobs by hand and with the sweat of their brows, not by machines, making possible the transport of material, loading fuel, repair, and numerous specialized tasks in shipping and navigation. We rely on the end result in merchandise, which is the sum of many distinctive operations both maritime- and transportation-wise on land, without much thought to the labor necessary to make the products available to us. The same is true of our food purchased from supermarkets. The book featured in this week’s post focuses on farm labor. The Museum’s Past Exhibit “At Work in California…” gives insight into visualizing labor’s struggles and issues.
Jack London’s novels and stories featured prominently in blog posts. Other recently read and commented new books include “At Drake’s Command”, possibly the first in a series about the second circumnavigation in Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind, then named the Pelican. See the book on the shelves in the Library—take it out and read it—a fast-moving tale about the cook on the ship Pelican.
The painting in the Library by Roberto Lupetti depicts the classic maritime theme in which a gale at sea has pushed water over the bow, sending the crew to save the deck and below from rising water. What actually is their task? Come into the Library to view the picture of this dire activity.