PITTSFIELD – Have you ever wanted to explore the bottom of the ocean? Or want to travel 20,000 leagues under the sea?
A new exhibition at the Berkshire Museum, ‘Voyage to the Deep’, based on French novelist Jules Verne’s 1870 classic ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’, lets visitors do just that by bringing adventures on the high seas to life. of Captain Nemo and his crew via an interactive model of the fictional submarine Nautilus.
The Nautilus, which spans two rooms on the museum’s second floor, is designed to allow visitors to explore the depths of the ocean – allowing them to take the controls at the helm, peer through periscopes, launch the propeller, test the berths, and explore Captain Nemo’s cabinet of curiosities overflowing with marvelous marine specimens.
“What I love about it is it’s super fun, kids love doing it, but it’s also very interactive and kids will learn what it’s like to live in a submarine “said Hilary Dunne Ferrone, Head of Engagement and Acting Co-Executive. director, during a recent visit to the exhibition.
The exhibit, which is presented in English and Spanish, originated at the Australian Maritime Museum in 2015. Before arriving in Pittsfield, the exhibit traveled to Milwaukee and San Antonio.
“When finalizing the 2022 exhibition calendar, we wanted to push ourselves to think outside the box and utilize our new capital improvements, while maintaining the inspiring, high-quality experience our customers have come to expect when stepping through our doors. The inspiration for such exhibits is rooted in our mission and our collections,” Craig Langlois, Chief Experience Officer and Interim Co-Executive Director, said in a statement.
Not only will visitors have the opportunity to learn about ocean exploration, they will also learn how the Berkshires have played and continue to play a role in the exploration of our world.
As the exhibit begins, visitors are greeted by Berkshire’s past and present contributions to world exploration – from the race to be the first to reach the North Pole to the continued exploration of the ocean floor of ‘today.
It shows the fur suit that Arctic explorer Matthew Henson wore as a member of Robert Peary’s expedition to Greenland in 1908-1909 and one of the sleds they used to make the trip . Henson, who accompanied Peary on seven expeditions, is credited with being the first of Peary’s party to reach the geographic North Pole in 1909. Peary, leader of the expedition, was credited with being the first to le To do. Henson, who was black, is often thought to have been overlooked because of his race.
Zenas Crane, founder of the Berkshire Museum, was one of Peary’s expeditions in 1908-1909. In return, Peary donated 16 items from the trip to the museum.
“What we wanted is [part] to be just about human exploration and how it developed technologically,” Dunne Ferrone said. “We wanted to show the extremes of human exploration.”
Nearby is a model of Bluefin®-21, an unmanned underwater vehicle [UUV] produced by General Dynamics Missions Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics.
“General Dynamics is partnering with us for this exhibit,” she said. “It’s their cutting-edge technology.”
General Dynamics’ Maritime and Strategic Systems business, headquartered in Pittsfield, serves the US Navy, US Air Force and select customers. The General Dynamics Pittsfield team is responsible for making the world’s most advanced ships and submarines even smarter, focusing on surface ship integration, underwater combat systems, strategic weapons, unmanned surface vehicles and unmanned underwater vehicles.
“General Dynamics is proud to partner with the Berkshire Museum for its “Voyage to the Deep” exhibit. Our teams do incredible work in the underwater realm, and we’re excited to show our community and beyond some of the work we do for our customers,” said Paul Dalton, vice president of underwater systems. sailors at General Dynamics Mission Systems, in a statement. .
The Bluefin®-21 is a 1:3 scale model, as the full size UUV measures 16.2 feet by 21 feet.
“It’s amazing to think that this technology is made right next to Dick’s Sporting Goods,” Dunne Ferrone said.
Other items from the museum’s collections on display as part of the exhibition include several nautical paintings and a pocket gallery exhibition, “Blue”, curated by museum staff, features works and objects with the unmistakable blue color. water often referenced by deep sea explorers.
“Whether found on a peacock feather or on 19th century ceramics, our visitors will be able to discover objects from our collection that share the same hue,” Langlois said.
Installation of the Berkshire Museum’s new exhibit, Voyage to the Deep, is underway with a large interactive recreation of Jules Verne’s Nautilus…