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South Street Seaport Museum Beyond Titanic: Travel and Immigration in the Era of Ocean Liners

Apr 15 | Thu |

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South Street Seaport Museum presents Beyond Titanic: Travel and Immigration in the Era of Ocean Liners on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 6pm ET. Join the Seaport Museum and special guests for a digital conversation about the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by immigrants and millionaires prior to, during, and after the "Era of Titanic." The discussion will also examine the superliners that perfectly encapsulated the complex transatlantic world of the early 20th century. Register for the free event at

Author, travel writer and lecturer Theodore W. Scull will explore the beginnings of transatlantic travel in the 19th century, starting with the 1810-1820s Black Ball Line packet ships sailing out of of South Street and Peck Slip, and the development of steamship, starting with SS Great Western, the first ship built for regular services between Great Britain and New York, with her maiden voyage in 1839. 

Historian and educator William Roka will introduce the great liners of the 1900s-1920s, the contexts in which RMS Titanicwas built, and the legacies tied to her fatal accident. Titanic was built in a world of competing global powers, rapid technological change, and great economic inequality. When she sank she was the largest ship in the world, but had she lived Titanic would have lost that title only a few weeks after her maiden voyage. 

This digital conversation will be held on Titanic Remembrance Day on April 15, 2021 and will be illustrated by materials from Seaport Museum's collection and archives, including but not limited to paintings, watercolors, drawings, ephemera, and ships models. The program will be moderated by Martina Caruso, Director of Collections at the South Street Seaport Museum.

About the presenters William Roka is an independent researcher focusing on the history of travel and ocean liners in the early twentieth century. He has presented at conferences in the UK, Argentina, Australia, and across the US. He was the historian and public programs manager at the South Street Seaport Museum from 2016 to 2018 and curated the exhibition Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900–1914. His paper on ocean liners and travel in the early twentieth century was published in the inaugural edition of the Yearbook of Transnational History in 2018. He currently is an education coordinator and the host of the digital book talk, Book Breaks, at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. He studied history at University College London and international relations at King's College London.

Theodore W. Scull is an author, travel writer and lecturer specializing in destinations, maritime and railway subjects and New York City. Among seven books published are Ocean Liner Odyssey, Ocean Liner Twilight, and Ocean Liner Sunset, a trilogy of accounts of his early sea travels; four editions of 100 Best Cruise Vacations; and three editions of Outdoor Escapes New York City. He is co-founder of - A guide to Small Cruise Ships - that covers oceangoing, expedition, coastal, river, and sailing vessels that carry less than 300 passengers. He is past chairman of the World Ship Society, Port of New York Branch and served as the president of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He has traveled to the 50 US states, all Canadian provinces and the seven continents and has spent over five years of his life aboard 250 passenger-carrying vessels of all types. Ted has lived in London and Paris, and has called Manhattan home for the last 50 years. He is married to Australian-born Suellyn Preston Scull.

About the Seaport Museum's ocean liner-related collections and archives The Seaport Museum holds approximately 25,000 artifacts and archival materials related to ocean liners and cruise ships, including the more renown Stanley Lehrer Ocean Liner Collection, Ocean Liner Museum Collection, and Der Scutt Ocean Liner Collection. Items include ship models, painting, photographs, prints and lithographs, manuscripts, ephemera, and memorabilia. An ocean liner is, technically, a sailing Packet ship that runs a regular schedule on an ocean-going route between 1818 and the 1880s. The technical definition of liner is important to the Museum because the ocean liner was developed here in the Seaport in 1818 by the Black Ball Line. Prior to this innovation, a ship would depart whenever its master determined it would be most profitable. However, for the purposes of today's collections management and curation, ocean liners are defined as steam-powered passenger vessels that run a regular schedule on ocean-crossing routes, with most transatlantic liners dating from the 1840s to present.

About the South Street Seaport Museum The South Street Seaport Museum, located in the heart of the historic seaport district in New York City, preserves and interprets the history of New York as a great port city. Founded in 1967, the Museum houses an extensive collection of works of art and artifacts, a maritime reference library, exhibition galleries and education spaces, working nineteenth century print shops, and an active fleet of historic vessels that all work to tell the story of "Where New York Begins." #SouthStreetSeaportMuseum #WhereNewYorkBegins @SouthStreetSeaportMuseum - Facebook @seaportmuseum - Instagram @seaportmuseum - Twitter

Venue: Online

12 Fulton St, New York, NY 10038 Map