Had a bit of paintus interruptus this last week, as I was off to the east coast to visit the Cub. In between other activities (monster trucks, FYI, are LOUD!), I managed to sneak in a visit to the Maritime Museum, one of the historical highlights in Halifax. We've been there before, but it's been a year or so, and the Cub's a little older now, so I thought we'd pop in and see what was new. As I think I've said before, although small, I think it's something of a gem, and makes for a nice (cool, air-conditioned) finale to a walk along the harbour on a summer's day.
A highlight of this trip was the still in-production diorama of the Halifax harbour as it appeared in 1813. It's in 1:300 scale, which is close enough to 6mm to not matter, and so far, looks damn good.
I've been feverishly plotting how I can sneak in some 6mm 1812 figs without anyone noticing ;)
The ships, especially, are just gorgeous. I'd love to have met the people building them, but sadly, the only folks around were some helpful, but not terribly informed staff (at least, from a hobbyist's perspective), and a bunch of teenagers trying to engage the museum's parrot in scatelogical dialogue.
This is one of those projects I always admire; I can't imagine how many hours went into it, and the capacity for focus it represents is astonishing.
Whoever is doing the diorama has made a real effort to illustrate the nature of the "living" harbour, for instance, with a ship being careened at the docks.
I think it's important to remember that Halifax has played a critical role in world events. While there are certainly busier ports in the world, strategically, Halifax has been one of the most important in the last three centuries, and a staging area for more than a few invasion fleets.
In addition to the diorama, the museum offered its usual charms. Info on sailing rigs:
Recovered material from shipwrecks, including the frigate Tribune, wrecked in 1797:
And some rather nifty displays on the post-Conquest French diaspora, and the marine excavation of Louisburg.
There's lots of other stuff as well, including some displays on Halifax's role in the World Wars, the recovery of Titanic survivors, etc. It's not something you'd necessarily hear about if passing through, but I can't recommend it enough. There's not a lot of "hands on" for active kids, but if they're curious, they'll like it. Cub seems to like going, and finds something new he likes each time.