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Exhibit will explore historic disasters at sea

"Perils of the Sea," a new exhibit and lecture series exploring historic maritime disasters ranging from shipwrecks to mutiny at sea, will open at the MIT Museum on March 7.

The exhibit will feature more than 30 rarely seen lithographs from the Captain Arthur H. Clark Collection (part of the MIT Museum's Hart Nautical Collection) and looks at historic maritime disasters and their implications in both historic and contemporary society.

"This intriguing exhibit and lecture series explore man's primal fears and fascination with nature's most challenging environment," said Kurt Hasselbalch, curator of the Hart Nautical Collection. "In addition to insights from a rare arrangement of 19th-century marine images and tragic stories, the accompanying lectures will provide visitors with diverse viewpoints about tragedy at sea."

The exhibit will be accompanied by a series of seven lectures on topics ranging from the human dimensions of maritime disasters, to interesting perspectives on methods and tools used by archaeologists and scientists to learn from maritime disasters.

Speakers in the lecture series include Charles Mazel, principal research scientist at Physical Sciences, Inc., and former research engineer in the Department of Ocean Engineering; Tom Hall, a sport diver and consultant for the BBC; Michael P. Dyer, librarian for the Kendall Institute of New Bedford Whaling Museum; Greg Gibson, author of "Demon of the Waters: The True History of the Mutiny on the Whaleship Globe"; Justin Manley, operations manager of the MIT Sea Grant Program's Autonomous Underwater Vehicles Lab; Claire Calcagno, maritime archaeologist; and Brendan Foley, an MIT doctoral candidate and member of the DeepArch deep water archaeology program.

"This exhibit is especially critical in furthering public knowledge about the historical reality of sea travel and its dangers," said Beryl Rosenthal, director of exhibitions and public programs for MIT Museum. "The exhibit also gives important perspectives that are often not fully explored in both the popular literature and cinema we see today about maritime tragedy."

The exhibition and lecture series, which will be held at the MIT Museum's main exhibition center at 265 Massachusetts Ave., run through Nov. 3. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults and $2 for seniors 65 and over, and for students with a valid student ID and those from ages 5-18. Admission is free for children under 5 and MIT ID cardholders.

"Perils of the Sea" lectures will occur monthly (except during the summer) and are $7 for adults and $4 for seniors, students with a valid student ID, and members of the MIT community. Lectures are free for students with a current MIT student ID. Tickets for the entire series may be purchased for $35 for adults or $25 for seniors, students with a valid student ID and MIT community members.

See the museum's web site or call x3-5927 for the lecture schedule or to obtain a registration form. Preregistration for the lectures is highly recommended.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 27, 2002.

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