Category Archives: Publications

National Museum of American History – Member Update

Hawaii Artifacts Featured in National Museum of American History Website
New Book, Shipwrecked in Paradise explores Story of Cleopatra’s Barge in Hawai‘i

Courtesy Texas A&M University Press

Courtesy Texas A&M University Press

Hawaiian artifacts on loan to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History from the ship Ha‘aheo‘ Hawai‘i for research and conservation have returned to the state and some are on view at the Kauai Museum in Lihu‘e. The knowledge gleaned from underwater exploration of the ship last owned by King Kamehameha II (Liholiho) is now in a new book, Shipwrecked in Paradise, by Paul F. Johnston, the museum’s maritime history curator. The book, published by Texas A&M University Press, traces the story of the yacht’s life in Hawai‘i, from her 1820 sale to Liholiho to her 1995 to 2000 discovery and excavation. In addition to the book, Johnston has created a comprehensive website containing the full artifact catalog and a chronology of the ship’s life and movements between 1820 and 1826.

Courtesy National Museum of American History

Courtesy National Museum of American History

Johnston led a team of divers who located, surveyed and excavated the wrecked ship, after receiving the only underwater archaeological permits ever issued by the state of Hawai‘i. The artifacts from the excavation shed light on the little-documented transitional period from Old Hawai‘i to foreign influence and culture. Although Liholiho ruled Hawai‘i for only a few short years, his abolition of taboos and admission of the Boston Christian missionaries into his kingdom planted the seeds for profound changes in Hawaiian culture.

The 1,250 lots of artifacts from the wreck contain the only known material culture from Kamehameha II’s monarchy, shedding light on the poorly documented transitional period from Old Hawai‘i to the modern age of intense foreign influence. Johnston’s account also covers the stark logistical realities of fieldwork in underwater archaeology, the bureaucratic frustrations of obtaining permits, the mix of tensions and camaraderie among crewmembers and the background presence of landmark family events.

Cleopatra’s Barge, built in Salem, Mass., in 1816, was the first oceangoing yacht built in America. After the death of its owner, the yacht was stripped of its finery and sold at auction in 1818. In 1820, Liholiho purchased it for more than a million pounds of sandalwood, a commodity prized in the China trade. He changed the name in 1822 to Ha‘aheo‘ Hawai‘i,  (Pride of Hawaii). Two years later, it wrecked on a reef in Hanalei Bay. It sat on the ocean floor for 170 years, its exact whereabouts a mystery until the 1990s.

In addition to his curatorial duties at the museum, Johnston is secretary of the Council of American Maritime Museums and serves on the board of directors for 10 other archaeological organizations. Shipwrecked in Paradise will be available beginning Oct. 14, and the richly illustrated book retails for $39.95. More information is available from Texas A&M University Press.

Submitted by Melinda Machado, October 5, 2015

Surplus Reference Books Available

Matt Schulte at the Steamship Historical Society of America writes:

We at SSHSA have a huge inventory of duplicate, surplus Lloyds Registers, Merchant Vessels of the United StatesABS, as well as many other titles that have been in storage for many years.  We are hoping that our colleagues in the museum community, other maritime organizations, and libraries or non-profits might be missing some of these issues, and desire to fill their collection. We would offer most of these to qualified organizations free of charge for pick-up, or at cost for postage if shipping is required.

Here is a list of available books: Duplicate & Surplus Reference Books & Registers

Please contact Matt at with any expressions of interest.

Reference Books Available to CAMM Members

Paul Marlow, Volunteer Ships Plans Curator for the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society has sent the following offer to CAMM members:

I have a personal collection of the Record of the American Bureau of Shipping that I saved from a being put in a dumpster at a community college several years ago. The years are from 1958 to 1969. I have them in storage and would like to donate single years or the entire set to any CAMM member that would like to add to their set or would like to have the beginnings of a collection. There also is a set of the Merchant Vessels of the United States from 1904 to the 1970s that was saved from the same fate as the Record’s. I have not decided yet which ones I will keep, but the offer is the same for them.

They are wonderful to have, but I am downsizing and cannot keep them all. 

You can reach Paul at

A Dream of Tall Ships by Peter & Norma Stanford

SSSBcoverSMThe National Maritime Historical Society is proud to announce a new book they just published on the founding of the South Street Seaport. A Dream of Tall Ships: How New Yorkers came together to save the city’s sailing-ship waterfront is an entertaining memoir by Peter and Norma Stanford about their dream of saving Manhattan’s old waterfront and creating a museum that celebrates its history and all those who participated in its restoration.

Peter and Norma are well known in the maritime community and Peter was instrumental in the founding of the Council of American Maritime Museums. We plan to review the book in an upcoming newsletter.  Meanwhile, more information is available in this book flyer.

First Issue of WORLD OCEAN JOURNAL Available Online

World Ocean MagazineThe World Ocean Observatory  has announced the launch of World Ocean Journal, a new bi-annual e-zine on ocean culture, issues and solutions to today’s ocean issues. The inaugural volume includes essays, interviews, art, exhibits and performances which profile some of the vital impacts of the ocean on our lives. The last essay, by director Peter Neill, contains his “reflections on ‘reciprocity’ as a rationale and framework for exchange of value and engagement between the ocean and us, between civil society and the natural world that sustains it.” For more on the journal’s content, click here.

The mission of the World Ocean Observatory is to provide a place of exchange about the ocean as defined as “an integrated, global, social system” relating the ocean to fresh water, climate, science, food, technology, finance, policy governance, coastal development, planning, and cultural traditions. World Ocean Journal, a new outreach effort by the World Ocean Observatory, is yet another extension of our efforts to educate the public, broaden our audience of Citizens of the Ocean, and present information and educational services as dynamic as the ocean itself.