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INTRODUCTION TO THE BAHRS' MUSEUM CATALOG

The catalog is designed to function as the central document for the Bahrs Museum maritime collection and mission. The core of the collection is the Henry Schaeffer model collection, but the collection is only the core. Bahrs’ museum is more than the collection and this catalog will describe the collection and draw attention to the other components of the museum. All museums should have a focus, some museums focus on local history, some museums focus on a certain era and other museums focus on a certain aspect of the human condition. Obviously Bahrs' museum focuses on maritime, but maritime is a massive subject and one cannot create a sufficiently large museum that will encompass all of maritime. Therefore like all maritime museums, Bahrs’ museum will also focus on a relatively small part of the human maritime condition.

The mission of Bahrs’ Museum is to function as a maritime primer. Bahrs’ museum hopefully will introduce the visitor to maritime concepts and some inevitable human maritime truths that tend to have become obscured over time due apparent distance that has developed between the largest portion of the world’s population and the world’s maritime reality. Bahrs’ museum does not exist to develop a love for maritime, even though none of the people involved in the museum would want to prevent that, instead it exists to develop an understanding of maritime. Only with an appropriate understanding of maritime can one truly consider one’s place in the world, just like only with an appropriate understanding of one’s government can one consider one’s option with regard to being a citizen.

If one does not have a grasp of the basics of maritime, one cannot make informed decisions with regard to world affairs, sustainability, environmentalism or even local government. This is a bold statement, but it is not made without a basis in fact and this will be demonstrated in this book .

This book may appear to be the collection catalog, but more than that it also a trip through time and space that helps the visitor understand that maritime is very big and very powerful, and has influenced us as humans to an extent that possibly can only be compared in importance to the rise of agriculture thousands of years ago.

Just as most of us no longer need to farm for ourselves, the ocean is also no longer a daily presence for most of us, but it is still there and, just like ignoring where our food comes from and losing touch with who we are (you are what you eat), we also can ignore the ocean and maritime trade and forget why we are who we are. This book is meant to deal with the maritime answers to the questions in life. This book is an extension of your mothers’ wisdom. She used to say: eat your vegetables! We are extending it by saying: Eat your vegetables and mind your maritime!

Undoubtedly parents are number one in education, but, beyond parents, education becomes a complex soup of friends, family, neighbors, teachers, mentors and regulators. At this time we are going through a new appraisal of the benefits of maritime education, because it turns out maritime is a magic educational bullet, particularly with regard to STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics) education and this aspect of maritime will be discussed in this book, using the museum models as educational exhibits. While the book discuses the STEM aspect of maritime, most interestingly the book and the museum make a larger case and show that STEM alone makes a poor world and does not begin to be able to describe maritime. This book shows that a complete world needs STEM, but that we cannot ignore philosophy, history, language and art (so let’s call it STEMPHLA). If we want to have control of all the crazy dynamics that are flying around this blue watery ball we call Earth, STEMPHLA is not a collection of individual stacks of knowledge, instead all the components interweave and depend on each other to advance the total, and, as this book will show, maritime is not STEM it is STEMPHLA.

With regard to the organization of the book, there are three sections. Section one describes the history of how Bahrs’ Museum came together. Section two is a collection of essays which can be considered to be guided tours through the Bahrs’ collection. Therefore a visitor to the museum may want to read an essay and then visit the museum to view the models with a greater understanding. Possibly a visitor will read the essay in Bahrs’ bar, and then take a walk through the museum to further reflect on the models. Section three is the catalog of the Bahrs’ collection with specific details about the collection and the models in particular.

We have also included a large glossary, which a much extended version of the glossary that was first compiled for the earlier NMHA book “A Chronology of Boating on the Navesink”, and an annotated bibliography.

Copyright © Navesink Maritime Heritage Association

Navesink Maritime Heritage Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving knowledge and appreciation of Monmouth County's maritime heritage through programs  that responds to its mission: DISCOVER, ENGAGE, SUSTAIN.

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