Best museums to see Marine Chronometers

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by River rat, Aug 9, 2018.

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  1. River rat

    River rat Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Apr 4, 2009
    #1 River rat, Aug 9, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
    I was wondering what Museums have the best Marine Chronometers collection on display. I guess the Smithsonian Museum mite ? Every time I go on a US Navy ship museum I all ways look for ships clocks and on the Bridge in the chart room of the quartermaster I look for chronometer only one I ever seen was on the USS Hornet Museum were they do have a Hamilton Model 21 and a weird mechanical computer type chart table I never saw any were else. Would not mind doing a vacation around hitting Museums with the best collection of Historical Marine Chronometers on display and maybe good staff were you can ask questions and learn. Going to a Navy reunion next month if a QM I know shows up I got a few questions I am going to ask since there are less of them around these days that have used these.
  2. Rhett Lucke

    Rhett Lucke Board Secretary
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    Feb 18, 2001
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    I don't know who has the best, but a few domestic museums with chronometer related exhibits include:

    1. NAWCC Museum: Columbia, PA
    2. Halim Museum: Evanston, IL
    3. Mystic Seaport Museum: Mystic Ct. (not sure on correct name of the museum)
    124Spider likes this.
  3. Leigh Callaway

    Leigh Callaway Registered User
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    Sep 5, 2011
    Upper Valley, New Hampshire
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    Best museum I ever saw was Seth Atwood’s “Time Museum” in Rockford, IL during the NAWCC Seminar on Railroad Timekeeping in October 1996. Mudge “Green” and a Hamilton Model 21 under the same roof. Alas, the museum closed in 1999, the collection was shipped to Chicago and eventually sold off. It was a jaw dropping moment to stand before a 1726 Harrison longcase regulator. I brought home a copy of Anthony G. Randall’s “Time Museum Catalogue of Chronometers” - hardback published 1992 by the Time Museum. That can be bought used for $118 to $139.
    Most likely the Royal Museum Greenwich is not in scope. But you can get a copy of Jonathan Betts’s “Marine Chronometers at Greenwich” for a little over $180. Betts is Curator Emeritus at the Royal Observatory (National Maritime Museum), Greenwich. Thanks to this forum, I just ordered one.
  4. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Aug 24, 2000
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    Halim bought quite a bit of material from the Rockford Time Museum. Some of the major chronometers got away because he was concentrating on American horology. I have not been there to see what he actually has on display.

    There are no chronometers displayed on the web site but there are a few interesting clocks shown as displayed. Halim Time & Glass Museum |
  5. Brad Maisto

    Brad Maisto Registered User
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    Oct 1, 2000
    Chemist - Retired
    Grandview, IN
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    Not to get too far off topic, but I just returned from a trip to Toronto, Ontario and “The Art Gallery of Ontario” has one of the best “ship models” displayed I have ever seen. There was an entire large room on the lower level with many amazing ship models, I was so impressed, that I purchased a book in the museum store titled “Ship Models, The Thomson Collection” (published in 2009) and it was only $15 Canadian! It was complied by Simon Stephens who is curator of “Ship Model and Boat Collections” at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. It is 183 pages and will take some time to get through.
    Brad Maisto, Kentucky Floral #44 Secretary
  6. Registered User

    Feb 15, 2018
    Full time clock and watchmaker
    BC Canada
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    Very cool Brad.
    That reminded me, I haven't been there, but I know the Vancouver Maritime Museum has what they say is probably their "greatest treasure" Arnold 176 chronometer that Captain George Vancouver used on his ship the Discovery (also a model of the Discovery on display with the chronometer) on his exploration of the Pacific 1791-1795 that resulted in the charting of the west coast from Alaska to California.
  7. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    Dec 14, 2001
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    New Hampshire
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    Smithsonian has great collection but it is not likely to be on display. Worth a look if in the area but do not make a trip for it without checking.

    Some of the best are in EU: Science Museum and National Maritime in London area (Still in EU as of this moment). On continent MIH in Le Chaux de Fonds and Czech National technical Museum in Prague. Last is wonderful.

    Mystic had great temporary exhibit from London but most of it is likely gone by now. It was fabulous.

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