“Don’t Eat the Whale Meat”: Vancouver Maritime Museum Debuts Quirky Exhibit of Kitschy Treasure

Photo credit: T. Jerven

Can you imagine the stuff that lurks in museum archives? What’s kitsch and what’s treasure? To collectors, they are one and the same. Milan Kundera once said: “No matter how much we scorn it, kitsch is an integral part of the human condition.”

Don’t Eat the Whale Meat, the newest exhibit at Vancouver Maritime Museum, shows off previously unseen, fascinating and kitschy collections of maritime memorabilia. The result is the most fun I’ve had at a museum exhibit in years.

Each item (canned whale meat, comics, cruise ship china, sailor slang translations, ships in bottles, post cards, salmon can labels) reveals a story from Vancouver maritime history that might never have been told.

Get a sneak preview of some of the quirky maritime treasure after the jump.

I’ll tell you what’s in the Vancouver Martime Museum archives. Canned whale meat.

Curator Patricia Owen stumbled upon a curious assortment of memorabilia, including old canned whale meat for which Don’t Eat the Whale Meat was named. Instead of sticking to the museum’s signature (and well-loved) exhibits of ships, historical texts, nautical instruments and more, the museum got creative put the odds and ends together into an exhibit.

Don’t Eat the Whale Meat is on exhibit at the Vancouver Maritime Museum from June 22 to Fall 2012. The Vancouver Maritime Museum is located in Kitsilano, right along the beach, so its easy to combine sunbathing with learning about local lore.

When you emerge you’ll know the origins of the phrase “son of a gun” and how B.C.-ers prepared whale meat sandwiches (Hint: it involved butter).

Here’s a preview of some of the memorabilia. Have fun!

Comic book “Henry Larsen: Mountie of the Sea.” Photo credit: T. Jerven

Whale oil soap accompanied by history of the B.C. whaling industry. Photo credit: Lee Cafferata

B.C. salmon can labels. Photo credit: Lee Cafferata

Illustrated nautical memoirs. Photo credit: Lee Cafferata

Nautical slang accompanied by definitions and origins. Photo credit: T. Jerven

Tagged: , , , ,

Comments are closed for this post

One Response to “Don’t Eat the Whale Meat”: Vancouver Maritime Museum Debuts Quirky Exhibit of Kitschy Treasure

  1. Pingback: Cool Tour: Don’t Eat the Whale Meat! « SLA@SLAIS