For centuries before you could tap a smart phone screen and use GPS, mariners navigated across oceans using sextants and chronometers to find their locations. A new exhibition at Mystic Seaport, Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude, tells the extraordinary story of the race to determine longitude at sea and how one of the greatest technical challenges of the 18th century was eventually solved by the dedicated efforts of astronomers, physicists, clockmakers, sailors, and many others.
In conjunction with the exhibition and as part of its benefits as a Smithsonian Affiliate, Mystic Seaport presents Stars of the Smithsonian Lecture Series. Nationally recognized curators and scholars from the Smithsonian Institution will speak about their fields of expertise. Each speaker brings a different perspective to this critical study of navigation, from the use of satellites and timekeeping, to celestial navigation and oceanic patterns.
Upcoming programs in the series:
January 14, 2016: Connecting the World in Time, Carlene Stephens, Curator, National Museum of American History
February 11, 2016: African Cosmos: Stellar Arts, Christine Kreamer, Curator, National Museum of African Art
March 3, 2016: By the Stars to Victory: Making Aerial Celestial Navigation Practical Between the World Wars, Roger Connor, Curator, National Air and Space Museum
June 23, 2016: The Art of Oceanic Navigation and Land Finding, Douglas Herman, Senior Geographer, National Museum of the American Indian