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.
- Despite automation of basic fish processing functions like gutting and filleting, there is still a lot of handwork to be done aboard a factory trawler like the Alaska Ocean. And work around cold water, fresh fish, and heavy machinery means that gloves are a crucial part of a factory worker’s outfit.
- These heavy vinyl gloves were worn by a female fish processor during the summer fishing season in 2007. An estimated 1200 to 1400 pairs of these gloves were being used, cleaned, and reused aboard the Alaska Ocean in 2007.
- In addition to these heavy work gloves, the onboard laundry operation oversaw the distribution of 5,000 pairs of lighter rubber gloves, 800 pairs of cotton gloves, and 1200 pairs of wool gloves. The crew working in the freezer hold, known as the “pain cave,” wore thick, insulated gloves, and lab workers used disposable gloves when conducting tests on products for quality control.
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- National Museum of American History