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Dr. Dan Finamore
Curator, Maritime Art
Peabody Essex Museum
“I’m a museum curator who specializes in seafaring and its role in human history. In my job I organize exhibitions of art and objects that explore the history and impact of voyaging on world trade, cross-cultural interaction and globalization, but also what the sea means to people in a symbolic way today. I’m in charge of a collection of paintings, shipboard tools and instruments, figureheads, advertising posters, ship models and lots of unusual things used on or made about ships.
“My interests in the maritime world originated with the incredible sea stories I read as a kid – novels like Robinson Crusoe and Treasure Island, but primarily about stories based in events that actually happened – like the mutiny on the ship Bounty. I’ve also always been fascinated with what we can learn from ancient shipwrecks about what life was like hundreds of years ago. So I studied archaeology in college and was instantly hooked. When graduation time came around I realized that I just couldn’t get enough and wanted to keep studying it, so I went to graduate school for a masters degree and then a PhD.
“As a curator I spend a lot of my time working in the museum’s collections to set up exhibitions. The things that still excite me the most about maritime art and history are the ways that objects can communicate people’s amazing experiences of the sea, whether it’s something that was made by a sailor traveling to a far corner of the world for the first time, or by a painter looking out over the horizon at a beautiful sunset.”