Link to Legacies Home Page Link to National Museum of American History About Legacies Tour the Exhibit Most Intriguing Objects Most Popular Objects Take the Collector Quiz A Treasure House A Shrine to the Famous A Palace of Progress A Mirror of America From Artifacts to America Exhibit Search Buy the Book Smithsonian Press--Legacies--1Treasure House--Scrimshaw, 1800s

Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
You are here: Treasure House > Artistic Treasures

Scrimshaw, 1800sScrimshaw, 1800s

Sailors on whaling voyages in the 1800s often passed the time by carving intricate patterns and pictures on bone or ivory. In 1964 the Smithsonian acquired Eleanor and Mabel Van Alstyne's collection of nineteenth-century American folk art. These examples of everyday "people's art"—including weather vanes, carousel animals, shop signs, portraits, and scrimshaw—were described by curators as "the most truthful expression of [America's] creative talents."

See also: Folk Art, Ships

Return to the Legacies Home Page

Privacy  |  Terms of Use