The natural resources collections offer centuries of evidence about how Americans have used the bounty of the American continent and coastal waters. Artifacts related to flood control, dam construction, and irrigation illustrate the nation's attempts to manage the natural world. Oil-drilling, iron-mining, and steel-making artifacts show the connection between natural resources and industrial strength.
Forestry is represented by saws, axes, a smokejumper's suit, and many other objects. Hooks, nets, and other gear from New England fisheries of the late 1800s are among the fishing artifacts, as well as more recent acquisitions from the Pacific Northwest and Chesapeake Bay. Whaling artifacts include harpoons, lances, scrimshaw etchings in whalebone, and several paintings of a whaler's work at sea. The modern environmental movement has contributed buttons and other protest artifacts on issues from scenic rivers to biodiversity.
"Natural Resources - Overview" showing 1 items.
- This model represents the type of small boat used for gill-netting salmon on the lower Columbia River around 1876. Known as sailing gillnetters, these vessels were well suited to the tasks of fishermen working drift nets, which were walls of netting set across the path of salmon swimming upstream. The round-bottom hull is sharp on both ends, a feature that allowed the boat to ride more easily while the net was adrift. Its sprit rig was used for sailing to and from the fishing grounds and was easily stowed while fishing. The boats ranged between 23 and 28 feet in length. This model represents a vessel of 25 feet 6 inches in length, 6 feet 3 inches abeam, and 2 feet 3 inches in depth.
- The sailing gillnetter type was introduced to the Columbia River region between 1869 and 1872 and quickly replaced the smaller skiffs then in use. The early gillnetters were shipped north from boat builders in San Francisco, but by 1875 the type was being built locally. While a few fishermen purchased their own boats, the vast majority were owned by salmon canneries, which rented the vessels to local fishermen. When this model was made in 1876, there were about 500 sailing gillnetters on the river. By 1905 there were some 2,700.
- This model was donated by Livingston Stone, an early advocate of fish hatcheries, who served as Deputy Commissioner of Fisheries for the Pacific coast from 1872 to 1898, and senior fish culturist of the U.S. Fish Commission from 1898 to 1903.
- Date made
- before 1876
- ID Number
- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center