The Martha’s Vineyard Museum will host a public launch of the National Endowment for the Humanities-funded interactive Web site, Laura Jernegan: Girl on a Whale Ship, at the museum library in Edgartown on Saturday, August 14 from 3 to 5 p.m.
Online as of Saturday at girlonawhaleship.org, the site tells the story of six year old Laura Jernegan who traveled on her father’s ship Roman from New Bedford around Cape Horn and into the Pacific in 1868 on a whaling voyage. During the trip, Laura’s mother taught her to write in a diary, where she recorded stories from the three-year voyage. She described life at sea, her brother’s antics on board, meetings with other ships, and whaling exploits; each entry getting longer and more detailed as she got older.
The Web site tells two stories; one of whaling in the 19th century and the other of Laura’s experiences. The site describes six different types of whales Laura encountered and includes an interactive map of whale ship routes, hunting grounds and migration patterns. Also included is a timeline of whaling history, narratives and pictures of historic artifacts, documents and whaling ships. Laura’s diary is on display this summer at the museum as part of the Laura Jernegan exhibit. It is also available online with a “magnifying glass” that can zoom in on different entries and pages. Island seventh grader Molly Houghton narrates the diary online.
Admission to the launch party is free for museum members and $7 for nonmembers.