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  • “The Intersection of Natural History and Marine Art”: An Art History Talk by Patricia Sullivan

    Animals have been documented and illustrated at sea and on boats for millennia. These animals fulfilled many roles: some were companions, mascots or working animals, and others were wildlife encountered by explorers and colonizers. Artists and crew members often sketched animals aboard, as well as animals encountered on their journeys. These images were the early version of photo journalism later made famous by National Geographic Magazine and numerous nature television programs, most notably those narrated by David Attenborough. The purpose of the images was variable: to convey the wonder of encountering new species, to convey the human/animal bond, to document a favored companion, to display one’s social status, or to celebrate an event or tradition. Some images document the natural specimens encountered by explorers, while others were created for public relations purposes. Some were strictly works of art, celebrating the natural world intersecting with human explorers. This presentation will include animal images ranging from wild to the domesticated, including pets and mascots cherished by their seafaring owners.

    Patricia Sullivan received her B.A. and M.A. in History from the George Washington University. She directed three notable American historic house museums and later became a consultant for the American Association of Museums and the Institute of Museum Services. In addition to curating several exhibits and developing major collections management strategies, Sullivan also developed the action and operating plan for the Newseum, a Washington DC museum of journalism, and created future operating plans for the U.S. Mint (Bureau of Engraving and Printing) and the Museum of Latin American Art, both in Washington D.C.

    Sullivan established the Museum of Maritime Pets in 2006, and is its Chief Operating Officer. The Museum researches and documents the lives of seafaring animals from ancient times to the present and promotes humane treatment of animals serving on board ships of all types. The Museum presents educational programs and exhibits, maintains a research library, and sponsors college and university interns. Volunteers from around the world are a core element of their staff and outreach. The Museum has a world-wide following and as of September 2021, shares space and collaborates with the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland.

    This event will take place in person at the Rockland Public Library, located at 80 Union Street, Rockland, Maine. For more information, email


    Sep 09 2021


    6:30 pm


    Rockland Public Library - Community Room
    80 Union St, Rockland, ME 04841, USA

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