Paul F. Johnston

Curator

Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania B.A., Middlebury College

Research Specialties: 
  • Maritime History, Art and Archaeology
  • Shipwrecks
  • Motorcycles and Road History
Projects: 

Current Projects:

  • Integration of a 4,000 object collection from CIGNA Corporation into Smithsonian Collections.
  • Shipwreck research on the wreck of the Royal Yacht of Hawaiian King Kamehameha II
  • Exhibition research for forthcoming maritime history exhibition

Past Projects:

  • Principal Investigator for archaeological research on the wreck of the 1846 propeller Indiana, which sank in Lake Superior in 1856
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 
  • Great Lakes History Prize, July 1996
  • Award of Merit, American Association of Museums 1985 Museum Publications Competition
Professional Affiliations: 
  • Member, Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology (Chair, 1989-1995)
  • Member, Interagency Working Group, US Department of State
  • Member, NOAA Monitor Sanctuary Advisory Committee
  • Vice Chair, Smithsonian Institution Scientific Diving Control Board
  • Bureau Diving Officer, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
  • Corresponding Member, ICOMOS International Committee on Underwater Cultural Heritage
  • Chair, Archaeology Committee, Council of American Maritime Museums
  • Member, Accreditation Visiting Committee, American Association of Museums
  • Member, Underwater Archaeology Committee, Archaeological Institute of America  
  • Board of Directors, Ships of Discovery  
  • Advisory Board, U.S. Scientific Committee for the CSS Alabama Project
  • Advisory Committee, U.S. Navy H. L. Hunley Shipwreck Project

Publications

"The End of the Age of Sail: Merchant Shipping in the Nineteenth Century," in George F. Bass (ed.), Ships and Shipwrecks of the Americas. London: Thames and Hudson, 1988. Chapter 12: pp. 231–50.
Proceedings of the Sixteenth Conference on Underwater Archaeology, (ed.). Pleasant Hill, Calif: Society for Historical Archaeology, 1986. SHA Special Publications Series No. 4.

An edited volume of underwater archaeological research (mostly fieldwork).

Ship and Boat Models in Ancient Greece. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1985.

A study of some of the world’s earliest ship models.

The New England Fisheries: A Treasure Greater than Gold. Salem: Peabody Museum, 1984. Received Award of Merit, American Association of Museums 1985 Museum Publications Competition.

An exhibition catalog and historical treatment of early and modern regional fisheries.

Steam and the Sea. Salem: Peabody Museum, 1983.

An exhibition catalog and historical treatment of the origins and development of steamships from the 18th to the 20th centuries.

“The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.,” in Peter Neill (ed.), Great Maritime Museums of the World. New York: Harry Abrams and Balsam Press, 1991. pp. 278–289

An overview of the 19th century origins of the Smithsonian’s maritime collections and a discussion of its highlights.

The Maritime Administration Collection of Ship Plans (1939–1970) with Paula J. Johnson (eds.) Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1995.

A catalog of Smithsonian ship plans available to the public.

“The End of the Age of Sail: Merchant Shipping in the Nineteenth Century,” in George F. Bass (ed.), Ships and Shipwrecks of the Americas. London: Thames and Hudson, 1988. Chapter 12: pp. 231–50.

An historical and archaeological synthesis, with an emphasis on the knowledge gained from period shipwrecks.

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