As part of its 50th anniversary, the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine, is showcasing 150 of the most iconic, historic and beautiful objects in its extensive collection of maritime artifacts. The exhibit, Full Ahead at 50, will be on view through May 26, 2013. An exhibit catalog titled Maine & the Sea shows and tells the story behind each of the objects. Additional information about the exhibit and the catalog are available by CLICKING HERE.

Miss Mary Hardee was a retired school teacher who lived in her Bowdoinham Village family home, which contained many nautical items left by both her father and grandfather. Both men had made their livelihood as mariners, her grandfather was captain of a Bath vessel in the mid-19th century, and had collected numerous items over the years, including ship portraits, log books and other mementos of their years at sea.

Although Miss Hardee bequeathed many family treasures to the Museum later, in 1971 she presented an unusual item for the collection—a small mounted piece of terra cotta art from a Burmese Temple. The item had been found by her father in 1870 when he was sightseeing in Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar). The piece of art had apparently fallen from a temple wall, so Mr. Hardee picked it up and put it in his pocket, then brought it home to Maine. Soon after sharing it with his family, he and they became concerned that the temple keepers in Burma might want the piece returned and could possibly track it down somehow and take steps to get it back; or worse yet, they might place a curse on the person who took it. So the Hardees placed the ornament in a bank safe deposit box, where it remained until 1970 when Miss Hardee removed it, had it mounted and presented it to the Museum, 100 years after her father picked it up.

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