Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

Staff Pick

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 gift of Laurence K. Marshall and Lorna J. Marshall ©President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. PM# 2001.29.641

“Shifting Sands”: photos from the Peabody Museum

A 1944 map of the beaches of Iwo Jima, donated by a Harvard staff member who served in the U.S. assault on the island 

Courtesy of the Harvard Map Collection

Visualizing the World at the Harvard Map Collection

An art installation designed by local architect Haydee Casellas sits in the center of “Passports: Lives in Transit,” created with glass plates and dozens of passports purchased by the curators on eBay.  

Photograph by Brandon J. Dixon/Harvard Magazine

Lives Glimpsed through Passports

You Might Also Like:

Image gift of Laurence K. Marshall and Lorna J. Marshall ©President and Fellows of Harvard College, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. PM# 2001.29.641

“Shifting Sands”: photos from the Peabody Museum

A 1944 map of the beaches of Iwo Jima, donated by a Harvard staff member who served in the U.S. assault on the island 

Courtesy of the Harvard Map Collection

Visualizing the World at the Harvard Map Collection

An art installation designed by local architect Haydee Casellas sits in the center of “Passports: Lives in Transit,” created with glass plates and dozens of passports purchased by the curators on eBay.  

Photograph by Brandon J. Dixon/Harvard Magazine

Lives Glimpsed through Passports