Now On Display
White Boots: Local Shrimping
The latest temporary exhibit provides a glimpse into the shrimping industry locally by looking back at it’s history, and looking toward the future. Enjoy artifacts and photos to help tell the story. Then sit down in our “shrimp boat” and watch a video about how a shrimp boat works. This is a fascinating look at one of Texas’ biggest industries.
I must go down to the sea again, To the lonely sea and sky, And all I ask is a tall ship, And a star to steer her by… John Masefield, 1902
North, South, East, West. The cardinal directions are a constant in our lives, but journey back to a time before direction. On land direction can be established by referring to a mountain, towards the sun, or away from the sea. Now place yourself in the middle of the Atlantic. What do you see? Ocean, sky…now head West. How would you know where to go?
These are the conditions early explorers faced.
Until the invention of electronic navigation equipment in the past 100 years, the stars have been the guiding factor in the creation of navigational tools. Devices such as the Cross Staff and the Astrolabe evolved from instruments used for the practice of astronomy, the study of the universe based on the behavior of astronomical objects. Explorers learned to use those same tools to measure the distance between the horizon line and the North Star, providing them with their location in an infinite ocean.
As expeditions traveled farther, the accurate measure of time became of great importance to maritime navigators. While latitude (North to South) could be accurately measured, the precise measure of longitude (East to West) is not calculated until the late 18th century with the invention of the Chronometer, a precise time keeping devise that could withstand the humidity and movement of an ocean voyage.
Journey through the timeline of maritime navigational tools and place yourself in the path of the explorers.