On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was formally signed by a convention of delegates from the thirteen states that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution. On the topic of the American Revolution, the MUSA Collections Centre’s ‘Object of the Month’ for August is a painting showing the USS America, the American Navy’s first ever warship. This painting captures the America in Brest harbour during its delivery voyage to France in 1783. The America was built between 1777 and 1782 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was presented to King Louis XVI of France to replace a warship, the Magnifique, which was destroyed when entering Boston Harbour by the British Navy.
We are indebted to Dr Robert Prescott who has conducted ground-breaking research on the USS America. His work has helped us realise the importance of the painting as a historic document that captures an important event in American history. This has enabled us to share greater knowledge of the painting with museum audiences.
Even though this painting has suffered great paint losses, it has been carefully conserved and stabilised by a specialist conservator to preserve it for future generations. The painting is always a real highlight for visitors on tours of the MUSA Collections Centre. If you too would like to come along and see the painting, please contact Claire Robinson, Project Officer, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01334 461699.
As always, we would be delighted to hear your comments about the MUSA Collections Centre’s Object of the Month! What is your favourite museum object relating to American history? Can you spot anything that is unusual about the painting? Look forward to hearing from you! Claire