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.
- Made of hard wood, bone, or ivory and tapering to a point, fids were used mostly for ropework, such as splicing. On deck, they were also used for breaking knots that might be frozen from overtightening, wet weather, or other conditions. In a pinch, one could also serve as a temporary belaying pin to tie off a line, or even as a weapon.
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- National Museum of American History