The modern Western tattoo evolved from the early days of global exploration, when ancient mariners sailed to the South Pacific communities and were introduced to the idea of body art. Tattoos became synonymous with maritime service. These iconic symbols and imagery tell stories and traditions that are ages old.
In a similar fashion, scrimshaw transferred the idea of tattooing from the skin to the whale tooth and bone, with the use of pigment and the skill of engraving. Indelible and highly personal, tattoos and scrimshaw capture in ink the stories of our maritime culture. Scrimshaw pieces tend to depict many themes, but most prominent were women followed by marine or whaling scenes. The Art of the Sailor exhibit opens to the public on March 21, 2014 and is included with normal museum admission.
On March 30, the museum will have an event open to the public from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with presentations and activities showcasing the skill and artistry of tattoos and scrimshaw. Hands on activities will be available for the kids. Tickets to the event are $16 for adults and $8 for kids and include museum admission as well. Tickets and details are available on the museum’s website at www.sdmartime.org or call 619-234-9153.