Arthur Beaumont’s “Art of the Sea” exhibit coming to Los Angeles Maritime Museum

Arthur Beaumont’s “Art of the Sea”.

 “Art of the Sea” is curated by James Irvine Swinden and includes works from the Irvine Museum Collection at the University of California, Irvine as well as the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. For artist Arthur Beaumont (1890-1978), the sea and the vessels that sailed on it held endless fascination. He sought to create an artistic record of the activities and accomplishments of the U.S. Navy, from the launching of the U.S.S. Constitution, to the fierce battles of World War II, to the Atomic Bomb tests at Bikini Atoll, and to the expeditions to the North and South Poles. All these historic events are recorded in his paintings.

Beaumont’s body of work encompasses numerous portraits of specific naval vessels, including mighty aircraft carriers and battleships as well as personal yachts of presidents and celebrities. His art portrays not only admirals but also common sailors and soldiers. They formed the core of his series of significant wartime commissions for National Geographic Magazine. In 1958, Beaumont was named Artist Laureate of the U.S. Fleet.

This exhibit will be on view through June 9th, 2024.

angels gate tugboat tug boat lamm los angeles maritime museum

Length Overall: 85.9 Feet – Beam: 23 Feet
Current Engine: E.M.D. Detroit Diesel

The tugboat ANGELS GATE arrived at the Museum in 1992, after almost 50 years of providing general towing services and goodwill tours for the Port of Los Angeles.

angels gate tugboat tug boat lamm los angeles maritime museum

Built in 1944 in Decatur, Alabama for the Army Transportation Service, she was originally known as ST (small tug) 695, and was among the fleet of tugboats designed for overseas operations. ST-695 primarily served at the Army Port of Embarkation in Wilmington, California. After the war, the Army declared ST-695 “surplus” and she was sold to the City of Los Angeles Harbor Department (now known as the Port of Los Angeles), where she worked steadily until her “retirement” and transfer to the Museum in 1992.

Chanthell Nelson angels gate tugboat tug boat lamm los angeles maritime museumToday, ANGELS GATE is a familiar sight in Los Angeles Harbor, providing narrated tours for Museum members. Other than the removal of her machine guns and military hardware, ANGELS GATE appears much as she did when first launched. ANGELS GATE is maintained and operated by a skilled volunteer crew and a US Coast Guard-licensed captain.

taminaru terminal island exhibit lamm
charlie boxer taminaru terminal island exhibit lamm

In the early 20th-century, Terminal Island (in the Port of Los Angeles) was home to approximately 3,000 Japanese-Americans who earned their livelihood from catching and cleaning fish. Residents of this community, known as “Terminal Islanders” were originally form the Wakayama Prefecture, Japan, and retained their language and customs after emigrating to Los Angeles harbor.

taminaru terminal island exhibit lamm happi coatAfter the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and America’s subsequent entry into World War II, the entire Terminal Island community was relocated to internment camps, but the residents never forgot their beloved Terminal Island village. Today, the Terminal Islanders Club, a group of former residents and their descendants, preserve the history and friendships of this lost community.

Tāminaru is a look back at this lost community. The exhibit is guest curated by author Naomi Hirahara, organized by Tara Fansler, and sponsored by the Friends of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum and the Japan Business Association with the assistance of the Terminal Islanders Club.


poseidon model movie lamm los angeles maritime museum
poseidon model movie lamm los angeles maritime museum

There is a movie star on the second floor! The model of the SS POSEIDON was the original prop in the 1972 classic film “The Poseidon Adventure”.

Fifteen men built the model over a period of three months. POSEIDON is 21 .5 feet long, and weighs one ton. The builders relied on the plans of the RMS QUEEN MARY, now permanently docked as an attraction in Long Beach, California.

poseidon model movie lamm los angeles maritime museum

In spite of its tremendous weight, the model was designed to float! During shooting, it was equipped with battery-operated propellers, working smokestacks, and interior lights. The film’s plot required POSEIDON to suffer repeated explosions and a rollover, but the model was successfully repaired and used in television commercials before arriving at the Museum.

Loan Courtesy Fox Studios

navy hall exhibit lamm los angeles maritime museum

The Museum building, built in 1941, was originally used as a ferry terminal, transporting people and automobiles between San Pedro and Terminal Island. The area of the first floor where cars would enter and exit is now used as the Navy Hall.

navy hall exhibit lamm los angeles maritime museum
navy hall exhibit lamm los angeles maritime museum

nitchman angels gate lighthouse lamm los angeles maritime museum lens

The Angels Gate Lighthouse (officially known as Los Angeles Harbor Light) has marked the entrance of Los Angeles Harbor through times of war and peace, and even survived a tidal wave! The tower itself has undergone many changes through the years. The distinctive green flash of the Angels Gate Lighthouse remains a welcoming beacon to professional mariners and recreational boaters alike.

As with most icons, myths surrounding this lighthouse continue to abound. The most famous story claims that the tower’s southeasterly “tilt” was caused by a collision with a battleship. This is untrue, and in reality the leaning tower is most likely due to a combination of subsidence, earthquakes, and wind storms.

nitchman angels gate lighthouse lamm los angeles maritime museum

Many lighthouse keepers served at Angels Gate until the early 1970s, when automation made it possible to maintain the light from nearby Terminal Island. When the Coast Guard converted the lighthouse to solar power in the 1980s, the original Fresnel lens was retired and is now on long-term loan to the Los Angeles Maritime Museum.

You can read more about the light and the lighthouse here.

kids exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum

Kids of all ages will discover what’s going on in the harbor today through a series of interactive games and activities in the children’s exhibit. Grab a pair of binoculars and take a close-up look at the nation’s busiest container port! Learn how cranes work, imagine yourself in a variety of harbor professions, build your own wharves, test your knowledge of ships and cargo, or just settle down and enjoy a nautical story!
Due to Covid-19-related precautions, the toys and costumes have been temporarily removed.

kids exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum

The exhibit features a photo mosaic by photographer Martin Cox who spent a day on the Museum’s roof documenting the harbor traffic. He then juxtaposed elements of the photograph into a single mural that has become the exhibit’s visual centerpiece. You can read an interview with Martin, learn exactly how this mural was created, and see more progress photos here.

kids exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum
kids exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum

The exhibit was made possible by the generosity of the following: Friends of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, Port of Los Angeles Community Benefit Grants, City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks, The Lee (Sher) and Joseph M. Mardesich, III Children’s Education Fund (in memoriam), Stephanie and Deborah Mardesich, Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council, Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council, Southern California ILWU Pensioners, Local 13, San Pedro Retired Elks, The Corner Store, San Pedro

fishing exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum cannery


The History of San Pedro’s Fishing and Canning Industries

fishing exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum canneryThe Port of Los Angeles (San Pedro) was the fishing capital of the nation for much of the twentieth century. Generations of fishermen sold catches of tuna, sardines, mackerel, and squid to fish markets or canneries on nearby Terminal Island.

Today, the fishing fleet is greatly diminished and the canneries have closed, but the legacy of the fishing and canning industries endures.

Cannery workers were responsible for cleaning and inspecting fish which was later packed into cans, sterilized, and shipped to markets. San Pedro pioneered the technique of canning tuna in 1903, and world-famous brands such as Star-Kist and Chicken of the Sea had local origins.

Discover authentic cannery equipment and life-size murals, watch classic TV commercials for Charlie the Tuna, and experience that lovely aroma of fish, “the smell of money”.

fishing exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum cannery
fishing exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum cannery
San Pedro’s fishermen experienced many changes. Their work was made easier when their boats carried modern equipment such as radar. Labor-saving devices such as synthetic nets and power blocks meant more fish could be caught with less effort, though as time went on the boats often had to sail farther and farther away from home in order to find fish.

fishing exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum canneryThe annual Fishermen’s Fiesta was an opportunity for fishermen to celebrate with family and friends, give thanks, and bless the fleet. Thousands of spectators, including celebrities and politicians, lined the docks each year to view the decorated boats on parade. Enjoy silent home movies from the 1949 and 1957 fiestas, and admire the many trophies and souvenirs kept as remembrances of the event.

diving exhibit lamm los angeles maritime museum

Most people associate the word “diving” with recreational activities such as scuba or snorkeling. But diving is a profession as well. The work of underwater construction, inspection, salvage, and repair all require special skills and equipment. The people who perform these jobs are known as “commercial divers”.

Professional divers who harvest sea life such as abalone, urchins, or sponge are called “fishery divers” Their skills and equipment are specific to the requirements of underwater fishing, and for that reason a fishery diver is not the same as a commercial diver.

This exhibit is an introduction to just a few of the thousands of jobs performed by commercial divers and fishery divers in the South Bay, and was the inspiration of the late Torrance R. Parker, noted commercial diver and author of 20,000 Jobs Under the Sea.

The South Bay is a major population and business center. Development of the Port brought international trade to Los Angeles, and was a key factor in the economic development of Southern California. Building the Port’s infrastructure would not have been possible without commercial divers.

diving exhibit lamm los angeles maritime museum

A typical diving crew consists of a diver, a tender, and an assistant tender. The diver is responsible for tasks such as pouring concrete, rigging heavy objects, welding, burning, pipe fitting, and ship repair and maintenance (known as “ship husbandry”). The tender and assistant tender are responsible for dressing the diver and maintaining life support equipment, tending air and communication lines, sending tools to the diver, and coordinating many of the topside activities in order to help complete the work below. Even with modern equipment, underwater work is often dangerous, and during emergencies it must be performed around the clock in any weather.

The suits, helmets, tools, and equipment in the exhibit have all been used to construct and maintain the underwater infrastructure of the South Bay. All of the items were used locally. Contrary to popular belief, standard diving gear (hard hat) is still used in diving operations involving heavy construction and sustained work periods below the surface.

Abalone Fisheries

Abalone is a type of snail that lives in rocky reefs as deep as 100 feet underwater. For thousands of years, Native Americans ate abalone and used the shells for currency, tools, and jewelry.

diving exhibit lamm los angeles maritime museum

In 1901, 15 divers from Wakayama-ken prefecture in Western Japan established an abalone fishery a few miles northwest of San Pedro at White Point. Their first diving boats were large open rowboats with five-to-six men crews assisting. They used helmets of Japanese manufacture, and a hand pump to compress breathing air down to the diver. In addition to diving the White Point reefs, they also rowed to San Clemente Island, about 50 miles from White Point, seeking abalone.

This exhibit includes a representation of a Japanese abalone diver at work off White Point. After the diver uses his pry bar to remove the abalone from the rock, he stores it in a net sack. The diver’s assistant (called a tender) works in the boat above, taking care of the diver’s air hose and other needs. When the diver fills his sack, he will tie it to the rope lifeline so the tender can haul it up and send down an empty sack. A typical sack weighs 60 pounds.

California’s post-World War II population explosion created an even greater demand for the abalone, and millions of pounds were consumed annually. Many Caucasian divers entered the trade, modernizing the fishery with engine-driven boats equipped with motorized air compressors. Eventually, over-production, pollution, and the predatory sea otters decimated the abalone population to near extinction. In attempt to save the resource, the State of California banned the commercial harvesting of abalone in 1997.

Diver repairing a Pipe

This portion of the exhibit illustrates one typical commercial diving project in the Port of Los Angeles. In 1975, commercial divers constructed the sewer force main that transports sewage across the main channel to the Terminal Island Waste Treatment Plant. This project was a necessary response to an urgent need for improved waste treatment facilities.

diving exhibit lamm los angeles maritime museum

The diving work required the installation of 1,542 lineal feet of ductile iron joined pipe laid under the main channel of the harbor. Divers laid the pipe in a trench excavated to a depth of 65 feet, and surrounded it with rock backfill for support and protection. Diving work within the trench had to be accomplished by feel because of zero visibility caused by mud particles suspended in the water – a typical diving condition when working in harbors and muddy bottoms. A Los Angeles City survey crew worked with the inspector diver to help maintain the grade and alignment of the pipe.

Attached to the fire hose is a jetting nozzle that the diver will use to fill voids and compact the bedding gravel under the pipe. This style of jet is called a T-nozzle. The T-nozzle is fitted with short pipe nipples on each side of the T to prevent back pressure when it is turned on. Although several hundred pounds of water pressure will be forced through the nozzle, it will stay balanced because the streams of water coming out of it will be equal and opposed. This allows the diver to manipulate the nozzle more easily.

When all the studs are in place, the diver will use the pneumatic impact wrench to torque (twist) up all the bolting. The spud wrench is used to line up the gasket. Other hand tools used here are in the diver’s tool bag, or lying next to him. Because of the muddy water conditions, the real-life divers would not have been able to use the light. The diver is wearing one of the four-light helmets originally used in this project.