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.
- By the later 19th century, guns had replaced most hand harpoons and lances, since they were far more efficient and deadly to the prey. They also could be shot from a safer distance from the prey than the hand tools could be wielded. The darting gun was one of the more popular types. Loaded with different darts, this versatile weapon could be used both for harpooning and killing whales.
- This particular gun was displayed at the 1883 International Fisheries Exhibition in London, England. After the display ended, it was donated to the Smithsonian by its inventor, Capt. Eben Pierce of New Bedford, Mass.
- date made
- guns replaced hand tools
- late 19th century
- displayed at the International Fisheries Exhibition
- Pierce, Eben
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History