Ships – Research update

After living at J&W for the last few days, we have some intriguing and beautiful objects guiding our thinking in unforeseen directions. For example, we’ve been looking at the substantial collection of menus from packet ships, steam ships and ocean liners dating back to the late 19th century. A large number of these, from various shipping lines and various time periods, feature exoticized people on their richly (or humorously or crudely) adorned covers.

These people stand in for the foreign lands the cruise line visits, in later years whether or not the specific ship is headed there on that particular voyage. Passengers are able to consume these fantasies (in which the folks in far off lands also seem to have gone back in time) along with their meals. Sometimes the meals  reflect this as well:

An old piece of publicity from the famous White Star Line (Titanic fame) continues this trend:

The collection of menus also demonstrates the change from the less formal, handwritten “bill of fare” to the more formal, printed menu. J&W has a portable screen printing machine that was used in the early days of printed menus on board ships to make this possible. (Haven’t seen it yet.)

Guiding Curatorial Question 5 – Wild Card

Is there some additional story that has cropped up during your research on your mode of transportation that you just must tell?

Guiding Curatorial Question 4

4.     What are external influences driving changes in travel cuisine and taste?

[Please take a moment to comment and bring us up to speed on how your group plan to answer this question with text and objects if you have them. If you haven’t started working on this question yet, please say so, but let everyone know one way or the other.]

Guiding Curatorial Question 3

3.     What kind of foods are eaten and how are they consumed, based on your mode of transportation?

[Please take a moment to comment and bring us up to speed on how your group plan to answer this question with text and objects if you have them. If you haven’t started working on this question yet, please say so, but let everyone know one way or the other.]

Guiding Curatorial Question 2

2.     Who prepares and serves the food?

[Please take a moment to comment and bring us up to speed on how your group plan to answer this question with text and objects if you have them. If you haven’t started working on this question yet, please say so, but let everyone know one way or the other.]

Guiding Curatorial Question 1

  1. Who is moving and by what mode of transportation?

[Please take a moment to comment and bring us up to speed on how your group plan to answer this question with text and objects if you have them. If you haven’t started working on this question yet, please say so, but let everyone know one way or the other.]

Poem to Dining Car Food

From Dining by Rail by James D. Orterfield