Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Literacy Month: A New Chapter for HDM

Did you know that September is National Literacy Month? There have been special events happening at libraries, parks, and museums all over the country, and although we haven't had one here just yet (we're planning something special in February!), it has certainly been an exciting month for us at the History of Diving Museum.

We hope that you have already heard about the development of our Research Library, but if not, here's your chance to catch up! Over the past year we have been working on building the Bauer Diving History Research Library, a special collection library and archive to house thousands of books and archival materials related to the history of diving. Funded in part through a grant provided by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, it is a project that the entire staff has put many hours into and we are excited to see it almost complete. The Bauer Diving History Research Library is named after the museum's founders, Drs. Joe and Sally Bauer.

So what's so exciting about this month??? BOOKS! We have finally begun to fill our bookshelves and let me tell you that after staring at empty bookcases for months and months as we finished construction and technical upgrades (think 70" flat screen TV), it feels so amazing to walk in the space and see the shelves so full and happy. We still have a long way to go as we finish moving books from our Collections Storage into the Library as well as processing the Bauer Collection, but the progress feels great!

The majority of materials come from the Bauer Collection - amassed by Drs. Joe and Sally Bauer over approximately four decades. Their collection contains thousands of rare books as well as photographs, patent drawings, posters, articles, and so much more that will be made available to the public through the very first research library of its kind - dedicated entirely to the history of diving and man's longstanding quest to explore under the sea.

The opening and dedication of the Bauer Library will be held in February and we'll be sure let you know all the details.

Stay tuned to the blog for more!

-Erin, Manager of Collections and Administration

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Divinhood: Practical and Profitable

"A diving apparatus so simple anyone can use it."

That was the slogan for the Miami-based Miller-Dunn Company who designed and produced the Divinhood helmet in the early part of the 20th century. A summary of the significance of this helmet can be found in an earlier blog entry here.

As you may know by now, we love the Divinhood. But before the Style 2 gained fame as the centerpiece for the History of Diving Museum's logo, it was lauded at the time by many for its simplicity, affordability, and practicality. Today I wanted to share with you some contemporaneous quotes from those who used the Divinhood and shared their success stories with Miller and Dunn themselves.

"We want to thank you for building it and congratulate ourselves for buying it."
- W. H. Ebsary, January 12, 1926

"I would not be without it."
- E. F. McDonald, Jr., September 29, 1927

"This is to inform you that since the receipt of the Divinhood we purchased from you two weeks ago, we have recovered over $500.00 worth of merchandise that had gone overboard in Biscayne Bay and could not be found by skin divers. It has already paid for itself."
- John. T. Bennett, July 1st, 1925

"I sat down on a convenient rock, shut my eyes and recited to myself, 'I am not at home, nor near any city or people; I am far out in the Pacific near a desert island, sitting on the bottom of the ocean; I am deep down in the water in a place where no human being has ever been before; it is one of the greatest moments of my whole life; thousands of people would pay large sums, would forego much for five minutes of this!' "
- William Beebe, New York Zoological Society, December 25th, 1925

William Beebe in the Miller-Dunn Style 2 Divinhood

All quotes taken from American Dive Catalog Collection by Ray Mathieson.

-Erin, Manager of Collections and Administration