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Exhibits (6 total)

Henry Bushby's Manuscript "Notes on Knots"

Composed of eight volumes with over 1,900 hand-written pages and beautifully drawn pen and ink diagrams, Henry Bushby’s Manuscript "Notes on Knots" represents an in depth study of knotting and ropework, as well as knot theory.

Written between 1902 and his death in 1926, Bushby’s work was never published. 

Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation Women’s Army Corps

The Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation (HRPE) photographic collection is composed of more than 15,000 photographs taken by the United States Army Signal Corps. and was donated to the Museum in 1946 by Brigadier General John R. Kilpatrick, Commanding Officer of HRPE.

Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, in Newport News was reactivated shortly after the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the photographs in the collection document a pivotal time for the nation. 

Flowers Galore in the Library

Not everything in The Mariners’ Museum Library relates to the sea. In the early days of the Museum, the park was systematically developed. It was Archer Huntington's intention to have a herbarium as well as plants from every part of Virginia in the park. To complement these efforts, classic works of botanical interest were collected for the library.

Dutch Maps from the Wooldridge Collection

In the late sixteenth century, the Dutch Republic rose to a position of power and influence in Europe due in part to the Dutch merchant fleet which carried commercial interests into the known and unknown parts of the world.  In addition to making great inroads into the East Indian spice trade, Dutch traders began exploring and charting the New World.

By the seventeenth century, Dutch mapmakers began to dominate the international trade in maps, charts, and atlases.  Gerard Mercator and Abraham Ortelius were among the first prominent cartographers of the Dutch Golden Age, soon to be followed by Willem Janszoon Blaeu and Jodocus Hondius, among many others.  Their works were noteworthy for their wealth of new cartographical information as well as the beauty of their hand-colored illustrations.

The Wooldridge Collection, consisting of over 350 maps of Virginia from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, has been placed on deposit at The Mariners’ Museum Library at Christopher Newport University by the Virginia Cartographical Society. The collection is well documented and lavishly illustrated in William C. Wooldridge’s Mapping Virginia From the Age of Exploration to the Civil War (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, in association with the Virginia Cartographical Society, 2012). Access to the collection is by appointment only. For more information please contact or phone 757.591.7782.

Life's a Beach


The Norman B. Patterson collection of photographs at The Mariners' Museum Library consists of many images of beachgoers in the late 1800s to the early 1900s. All of these images were captured using stereograph imaging, the predecessor to the polaroid. What was unique and revolutionary about this technique was that two nearly identical images were taken and viewed in a stereo viewer to give a 3D effect. 

This collection gives us an idea of what beach experiences were like during these time periods and how photographers would capture and share moments, which was a fairly new concept at the time.

Victorian Dreams: The United States Eclipse Expedition to Africa

Few periods in world history conjure up the sense of enthusiasm and excitement of exploration than the nineteenth century. The Western world began a pursuit of scientific discovery seeking out exotic new locations in the search for answers. In the spirit of the times, the United States Eclipse Expedition traveled to Cape Ledo in order to observe the 1889 solar eclipse. Although the expedition was unable to see the eclipse, there was a remarkable degree of travel and exploration of Africa. Ultimately, the Eclipse Expedition was a sweeping adventure spanning various islands and parts of Africa.