Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Matthew Henson Statue at Maritime Museum

Yesterday Michael Lang, John Giannotti, both emeritus professors at Rutgers Camden, and Father Doyle of Sacred Heart, gave a presentation on the Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum. On April 6th, the 100th anniversary of Peary and Henson reaching the North Pole, Giannotti's statue of Matthew Henson is slated to be unveiled. To honor the contribution of the expedition's canine contingent a husky has been added to the statue; it is not in the sketch on the museum's website.

The museum is housed in the former Church of Our Savior. The parrish house was build from stones brought back from North Pole expeditions sponsored by Philadelphia area institutions. There were ballast stones from ships used on the expeditions. The parrish house was built in 1891. Matthew Henson and Robert Peary also worked in Philadelphia for awhile. Several of the stained glass windows in the church have nautical themes.

Giannotti, who created the wonderful statue of Walt Whitman which stands in front of the Campus Center, has made an impressive 8' tall statue of Henson. It is the first life-sized statue of this explorer. NJN's show "State of the Arts" will be film the statue's unveiling as part of an episode on Gianotti.

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