We visited the Channel Islands Maritime Museum, where we learned a lot of interesting things.
The Channel Islands are off the coast of California. The first inhabitants were the Chumash, who lived there until the 1800s. Europeans began to arrive in the 1600s. Today, the Channel Islands are a national park.
The Maritime Museum has a large collection of seascapes, primarily paintings of ships.
There are also many impressive model ships.
Most of the ships in the collection were made by Edward Marple. He began by making model ships from kits after his retirement, but soon began to make highly realistic reproductions of famous historical ships, such as the pirate ship of the type known as a xebec.
Most of his works are European or American ships.
However, he does have a few ships from Asia, including this amazing Turtle Boat. This is a Korean style of warship.
There are also exhibits on the lives of sailors through time.
Other exhibits explore environmental issues, Civil War history, and maritime creatures like whales and sharks.
The museum has a fun video showing a scavenger hunt. It will give you a video tour of the museum.
Edward Marple’s workroom has been preserved at the museum. Are you inspired to build a model ship for your class? There are some amazing model ship kits available for the ambitious classroom. You can also start with a book.
Coyote Rescues Hawk, a Chumash folk tale, has instructions for making paper models of the type of boat the Chumash used. See our classroom activities for this picture book.
Check out more information on boats and ships at our Boat Lesson Plans. While you’re at out, add some art connections with Sea Shanties Lesson Plans.
One more type of model ship we saw at the Maritime Museum was the Prisoner of War ships.
Unlike the wooden ships Edward Marple made, these ships were largely carved from the bones of sheep used to feed prisoners of war in England. This was during the Napoleonic Wars.
If your class is not up for creating model ships, challenge students to design a ship. Either way, create a classroom display of the class’s ships. Have students conduct research to identify the type and history of their ships. Add the likely dates of the ships to your classroom timeline, including future dates if students have designed a futuristic ship.
Local maritime history
If your school is in the middle of Nebraska, you probably don’t have any local maritime history. However, if you are located on or near a coast, have students explore the ways that ships were important in your local history.
Ships were usually involved in work in the past, whether they took fishermen out to catch fish, brought cargo in from foreign lands, or were built in your region.
They may also have been part of the local experience of wars and immigration. If you have fresh water, such as rivers or lakes, boats may be important for recreation even now.
Do some classroom research about your community’s relationship with boats. Then have students ask their friends and relatives for their maritime experiences. Create an oral history collection for the class.