Thursday, February 9, 2012

Improved Images of Franklin Relics

The National Maritime Museum has long been the host of the largest collection of Franklin relics in the world. A few have been on permanent display, but the vast majority are stored off-site, and are not accessible to the public. For the past ten years or so, small digitized images of some of these have been available, but the only way to get any higher resolution views has been to purchase them at a price prohibitive to most scholars. Now, under the umbrella of Royal Museums Greenwich, a vastly improved and more complete set of images is readily available. These include multiple views of many objects, and the all the views are scalable, which enables anyone interested in their features to see them at a level of detail good enough -- perhaps -- to make some new discoveries possible. I'd encourage anyone with a Franklin passion to visit the new site, and have at it -- one can see all manner of things, from the scraps of newspaper stuck in the "Peglar" pocketbook to the scratch-marks on the underside of a Franklin fork -- who know what this new imagery, with care, may reveal? There is even the capability to leave notes and annotations about specific objects, and share these with others using the resource.

This finally puts researchers around the world on an even footing, and that is a very welcome development.