Americans have always been a people on the move—on rails, roads, and waterways (for travel through the air, visit the National Air and Space Museum). In the transportation collections, railroad objects range from tools, tracks, and many train models to the massive 1401, a 280-ton locomotive built in 1926. Road vehicles include coaches, buggies, wagons, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, and automobiles—from the days before the Model T to modern race cars. The accessories of travel are part of the collections, too, from streetlights, gas pumps, and traffic signals to goggles and overcoats.
In the maritime collections, more than 7,000 design plans and scores of ship models show the evolution of sailing ships and other vessels. Other items range from scrimshaw, photographs, and marine paintings to life jackets from the Titanic.
"Transportation - Overview" showing 1 items.
- Designed by Joshua Humphreys, Constitution was built in Boston in 1797. It measured 174 feet 10 inches in length, 43 feet 6 inches in beam, 14 feet 3 inches in depth of hold, and 1,576 tons. It was also known as Old Ironsides. The Constitution is still in commission at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, making it the oldest ship in the United States Navy.
- Java was originally a French frigate named Renommée. It measured 1,073 tons. The British ships Astrae, Phoebe, Galatea, and Racehorse, under the command of Captain Charles Schomberg, captured Java near Madagascar in May 1811.
- The painting by Thomas Whitcombe shows the two ships engaged in combat on December 29, 1812 off the coast of Brazil. Several sailors can be seen clinging to wreckage floating to the right of the battle scene. The two-hour battle was a victory for the United States and did much to increase the prestige of the country. The American Captain William Bainbridge was badly wounded and the British Captain Henry Lambert was mortally wounded. Thomas Whitcombe (1752-1824) was a British marine painter. After the battle, Java was deemed unfit for repair and burned.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- Whitcombe, Thomas
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- accession number
- catalog number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center