Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Staff Picks

Finding Our Way

March-April 2015


Photograph © Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University

Using relatively simple tools, early explorers navigated the archipelagos of the southern Pacific and many other dangerous, uncharted corners of the world. Finding Our Way: An Exploration of Human Navigation traces such endeavors by mariners from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Items both functional and beautiful are on display: compasses, scaled models of canoes, nautical atlases, and astrological texts, as well as an astrolabe, octant, and cross-staff. The marine chronometer (above) is a very precise clock made by William Bond & Son, Boston, circa 1860. Navigators used them “to keep the time at their port of origin or at a designated starting point, such as Greenwich, England,” says Sara J. Schechner, Wheatland curator of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments. “By comparing the local time at their current geographical position with the time on the chronometer, they could find their longitude in hours, minutes, and seconds.”

 

Harvard Squared

A guide to the arts and culture, history, cuisine, and natural beauty of Cambridge, Boston, and beyond

You Might Also Like:

Image courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology/ © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Peabody Museum 150th anniversary exhibition anthropology

Barry Van Dusen’s barn swallow (nesting at Stone Barn Farm)

Courtesy of Barry Van Dusen

American bird art in Canton, Massachusetts

Please see image galleries below for information about these objects and more

The Discovery of a Lost Harvard Museum

You Might Also Like:

Image courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology/ © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Peabody Museum 150th anniversary exhibition anthropology

Barry Van Dusen’s barn swallow (nesting at Stone Barn Farm)

Courtesy of Barry Van Dusen

American bird art in Canton, Massachusetts

Please see image galleries below for information about these objects and more

The Discovery of a Lost Harvard Museum