The display, Animals at Sea, is installed outside the museum’s Caird Library and features some of the Library’s archival documents displaying notable interactions between humans and animals that have occurred on various sea-faring voyages.
These include a logbook from the whaling-ship the Harriet, kept by the ship’s surgeon William Dalton in the 1820s, which lists encounters with whales in the South Pacific, including drawings of whale tails he saw. Another item on display is a page from a magazine produced on a long ship voyage to India, paying to tribute to the ship’s dog that died on reaching Rangoon. The display also contains an early 19th century report on a naval ship’s store, documenting the extensive damages done by rats.
Trim the Cat famously accompanied the British naval officer and cartographer Matthew Flinders on his historic circumnavigation of Australia between 1801-03. Flinders’ biographical tribute to Trim also forms part of the display and can be seen in the museum’s Voyagers gallery.
The display opened in mid-February and will be on show until mid-May. Dr Nagai, from the School of English, has also co-authored a blog about the items featured that can be read on the National Maritime Museum website and has images of some of the texts used.
The display accompanies a conference organised by Dr Nagai, called Maritime Animals: Telling Stories of Animals at Sea, that will be held at the National Maritime Museum from 25 April to 27 April 2019.