Saturday, September 20, 2014
Girl on a whaleship
Some time ago, I had the privilege of helping with a wonderful website project that was accomplished by the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society. In their archives they have a first-hand account of a whaling voyage as seen and written about by a young girl, and this was the focus of their interactive exhibit..
The site was selected as a 2014 'reader's favorite' in the annual round-up of web sites cataloged by the Scout Report service at University of Wisconsin
Whaling History: Laura Jernegan, Girl on a Whaleship
It’s not hard to see why this whale of a tale was the third most shared resource by our readers. This well crafted site provides a window into the life of a young girl on a whaling ship in the 1800s. One of our favorite aspects of the site is the option to read Laura’s journal in her original handwriting, allowing readers to watch her penmanship develop and steady as her journey progressed over the years. Educators and students will also love to explore the map, artifacts, and ship features in order to get a better sense of what life must have been like for this young girl, who affectionately signs off each journal entry with, “Good by for today.”
In October 1868, 6 year old Laura Jernegan from Edgartown, Massachusetts set out on a three year whaling voyage with her family and the ship's crew to the whaling grounds of the Pacific Ocean. Her story lives on today via her fabulous journal which has been digitized and placed online here, courtesy of the Martha's Vineyard Museum. The site's interface includes a "Magic Lens," an innovative tool that allows readers to see typed text superimposed over Laura's handwriting by mousing over the section of interest. First-time visitors should click on Laura's Story to learn about her life story via photographs, journal entries and what happened to her after her return. The Map of Whaling is a great way to to learn about Laura's journey, major ocean currents, migration patterns, and other major whaling routes. For folks with an interest in visual culture, the Artifacts area contains dozens of items that one would have found on a whaling ship, including a small water cask, serving mallets, waif flags, and several sextants.