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Feb 25th
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Home Places to Visit Museums Maritime Museum of San Diego Plans New Historic Tall Ship, Major Art Exhibit

Maritime Museum of San Diego Plans New Historic Tall Ship, Major Art Exhibit

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As if you needed another reason to visit San Diego this year, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is bringing history and discovery to life with two groundbreaking initiatives in 2011.

The Maritime Museum announced it will construct a new historically accurate replica tall ship, the San Salvador, beginning in February. The San Salvador was the flagship of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's 1542 voyage of discovery to San Diego.

san_salvador_renderingWhen the construction site opens in April visitors will be able to view the ship's construction up close and enjoy displays showcasing 16th century life. The living history displays will include pottery, basket weaving, rope making and knot tying demonstrations; a working blacksmith; an active Kumeyaay village; and living historical re-enactments.

The San Salvador is part of the museum's plan to expand its collections and programmatic capacity.

Construction of the 16th century San Salvador replica is expected to be completed by early 2013, at which time it will join the Maritime Museum's collection of historic ships, including the world's oldest active ship, the Star of India.

Other tall ships in the msueum's collection include the HMS Surprise, a replica of an 18th century British Royal Navy frigate, and the Californian, a replica of the 1847 Revenue Cutter C.W. Lawrence, which patrolled the coast of California enforcing federal law during the gold rush.

Additionally, in May the Maritime Museum will launch an exhibit showcasing art associated with the three distinct visions of the beautiful South Pacific from voyages by James Cook, Herman Melville and Paul Gauguin.

The first-of-its kind exhibit for the Maritime Museum titled "Three Voyages to Paradise: Cook, Melville and Gauguin" will feature over 110 pieces, varying from original oil and watercolor paintings to wood carvings and sculpture.

The exhibit will include original paintings by 18th century artists John Webber and William Hodges, each of whom accompanied Cook into the Pacific, and many original works by Paul Gauguin, showcasing a newly rediscovered wood sculpture, Nave Nave Faruru.

The previously unknown Gauguin work was discovered in Tahiti by Dr. Richard Kelton of The Kelton Foundation and recently exhibited at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in Taiwan.

"Never before has the Maritime Museum attempted an undertaking of this magnitude and influence," said Dr. Ray Ashley, the museum's CEO and president. "We are extremely grateful to The Kelton Foundation for assisting us in creating this exhibition and providing this collection of timeless pieces."

The free-standing Three Voyages to Paradise exhibit seeks to illustrate the diverse experiences of these three icons of South Sea exploration. The exhibition, presented by the Maritime Museum of San Diego and drawn from the extensive collections of The Kelton Foundation, runs from May 27, 2011, through Jan. 1, 2012. Tickets for Three Voyages to Paradise will be $10 plus the cost of Maritime Museum admission.

"This is going to be such an exciting year for us," said Dr. Ashley. "Through both of these historically significant exhibitions, we are creating a compelling platform for education at the Maritime Museum unlike any we have had before."

More information on both 2011 initiatives will soon be available at

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