Community Gallery Series

The Community Gallery showcased rotating exhibits that featured guest curators from the Philadelphia community who worked in partnership with the Independence Seaport Museum. 


 Past exhibits in the Community Gallery Series: 


Crazy Philadelphia Eddie

February 8, 2018 - January 1, 2019

Eddie was crazy before crazy was cool.  From Brooklyn's Coney Island to the counterculture of 1960s South Street in Philadelphia, Eddie Funk fought to make a name for himself, protect the freedoms of tattoo artists, and share his legacy with the world.  Discover Eddie's influence in this exhibit, featuring rare flash, personal mementos, and other authentic memorabilia seldom put on public display.

Crazy Philadelphia Eddie was curated by Eric Weiss and Villain Arts


Philadelphia Rowing: Breaking Barriers 

March 31, 2017 - January 1, 2018

From humble roots powering 18th century ferries, to the establishment of the enduring Schuylkill Navy, Philadelphia has long been our nation's center for rowing. Throughout rowing's esteemed history there have been innovations and accomplishments that have broken barriers of class, gender, race and ability. Stories were uncovered in this exhibit of the first women's club, leading-edge adaptive rowing, and the empowerment of individuals who have risen from modest beginnings to personal fulfillment and gold-medal achievements.

This exhibit was guest curated by Virginia Baltzell, Hanley Bodek, Gardner Cadwalader, and dedicated members of the rowing community. 


Compassion in Action

October 21 - March 12, 2017 

Everyday items we purchase in stores travel much farther than you might think. Before arriving on a shelf, the items likely passed through one of the Philadelphia and South Jersey ports, where 31 ship terminals spread out over 120 miles of the Delaware River. Not far from the city, these ports welcome merchant ships, carrying anything from sugar to steel and crews of people from all over the world. 

Compassion in Action offered an inside look at day-to-day life for the men and women working on these ships through the lens of Seamen's Church Institute of Philadelphia & South Jersey (SCI), a nonprofit organization that has been providing clothing, counseling, land transport, cross-cultural spiritual support and more to these visitors since 1843.  

Using videos, historical images and artifacts, original paintings by Carole Goddard, along with a variety of everyday items that resonate with individual seafarers, the exhibit used stories to show how SCI has adapted over the years to best help the seafarers' changing needs - especially with the evolution of new technologies and security. 


Hello Sailor: The American Sailor in Popular Culture 
February 11 - October 2, 2016 

Hello Sailor: The American Sailor in Popular Culture explored the classic image of the sailor in the white "dixie-cup" hat, as portrayed in 20th century American pop culture.

The exhibit brought together graphics, photos, movies, artwork and advertisements. The Guest Curator of the exhibit was Alex Stadler, an author, illustrator, artist, textile designer and owner of stadler-Kahn, a shop and gallery hybrid in Philadelphia. 


Hucksters: The Tumult of Dock Street
June 11 - January 31, 2016

Hucksters: The Tumult of Dock Street showcased the vibrant culture of Philadelphia's Dock Street market. It began with the market's city-settler origin, continued to the mid - 1800's when it was "the nerve center of the city's mercantile life" and ends with the full experience of 1930's - 1950's huckster life. 

The exhibit also featured Huckster-inspired artwork by local artists and craftsmen including Hawk Krall, Jim Houser, Gina and Matt, House Industries, Whiskey and Chocolate, and Adam Wallacavage. 

Hucksters was guest curated by Erich Weiss, the grandson of Old Original Bookbinder's proprietor John M. Taxin. 


Making Time: Voyage to Vietnam 
October 3, 2014 - May 26, 2015

Making Time: Voyage to Vietnam presented the stories of young American soldiers going to war in Vietnam through graffiti left on troopship's bunks. Every bunk has at least one story to tell, and the artwork and slogans capture the era's politics, military pride, humor and anti-war sentiments. The exhibit was developed by Art and Lee Beltrone, founders of the Vietnam Graffiti Project. VGP was created to preserve the canvasses that were discovered aboard former troopships and displaying them in museums across the country. This exhibit featured canvasses created by troops hailing from the PA/NJ/DE areas. Click here to see photos of Voyage to Vietnam


SS United States: Charting a Course for America's Flagship
March 7 - September 14, 2014

SS United States: Charting a Course for America's Flagship explored the glamorous past and challenging present of one of the most famous passenger ships of all time. The exhibit spotlighted the ship's Philadelphia connection, its heyday during the 1950's and 1960's, and the SS United States Conservancy's efforts to save her from destruction.  

The SS United States was a spectacular, mid-century, passenger ship. The engineering achievement, born out of the brilliance of Philadelphia maritime architect William Francis Gibbs, was a symbol of American's post WWII technological might. Enthralled with the science of maritime engineering, Gibbs was intent on designing the fastest and safest trans-Atlantic ocean liner ever. When commissioned to design the world's most advanced passenger ship, his commitment to the highest technological standards produced the most graceful, modern, powerful, and sleekest vessel in the world. 

After shattering the trans-Atlantic speed record on her maiden voyage, the SS United States became "America's Flagship." She carried movie stars, entertainers, socialites and royalty across the Atlantic, making more than 800 crossings during her career. But no ship could compete with the allure of the jet age. In 1969, the SS United States quietly ceased her voyages. Since then, resting in various ports, the SS United States patiently waits as enthusiasts chart a new course for America's Flagship. Click here to see photos of SS United States.


Oh, Sugar!: The Magical Transformation from Cane to Candy
August 16 - February 17, 2014

Oh, Sugar!: The Magical Transformation from Cane to Candy focused on Philadelphia's candy manufacturing history, tracing the magical transformation sugar took from cane to candy. Oh, Sugar! was curated by Eric and Ryan Berley, the brothers behind Old City's beloved Franklin Foundation and Shane Confectionery.  

With more than 100 artifacts from the Berley's collection of confectionery machinery, molds, and ephemera, visitors got a glimpse into raw realities and sugar-coated past of Philadelphia's connection to the sugar industry. The exhibition looked at the evolution of the sugar industry, from the beginning of our love of sugar in colonial America through today. Visitors traced the trade routes that brought cane to the colonies and discovered the early sugar refining techniques that were anything but sweet. Children played candy maker in cap and apron within the context of an old-time candy kitchen. The exhibition was suitable for anyone with a sweet tooth, with information geared toward both young, and young at heart. The exhibition concluded with a stop at a vintage candy counter, complete with a working gumball machine so visitors could purchase a treat. Candy from Shane Confectionery was also available for purchase in the Museum Store. Click here to see photos of Oh, Sugar!


Tugboats: The Art of Dave Boone
February 22 - August 4, 2013

Tugboats: The Art of Dave Boone presented the journey of one man's lifelong love of tugboats. The exhibit was curated by Dave Boone, an award-winning artist who built two careers from a single boyhood experience with a tug. 

The exhibit not only showcased the artist's beautifully detailed artwork, but also portrayed the life and progression of his passion for tugboats. Boone has honed his self-taught skills to produce vivid, well-detailed watercolor paintings of contemporary and historical ships and tugboats. He continues to paint commissions for the maritime community and his extensive knowledge and artistic ability combines to make his maritime subjects come alive.  

Boone, from Camden, New Jersey, knew at a young age that he would find his place in the maritime community. As a young boy he would venture along the Newton Creek in his father's homemade rowboats and capture the river traffic. From ships to the ever-present tugboats, Boone would sketch what he saw in pencil. 

In 1960, Boone showed his painting for a ride on the Curtis Bay Township Company tugboat Reedy Point. In March 1971, Boone started full-time employment with Curtis Bay as a dispatcher. Rising through the ranks, he was promoted to Operations Manager in 1992. After 28 years, he retired at the end of 1999. He and his wife reside in Oaklyn, NJ. Click here to see photos of Tugboats: The Art of Dave Boone


Digging the City: Archaeological Discoveries from the Philadelphia Waterfront
September 21, 2012 - February 3, 2013

Independence Seaport Museum partnered with URS to present Digging the City: Archaeological Discoveries from the Philadelphia Waterfront to showcase objects uncovered during the construction of I-95. 

Native American settlements and historic alleys, streets and wharves, are still buried below the open spaces adjacent to I-95. The archaeological discoveries highlighted in the exhibition bring to life the experience of our waterfront's historic inhabitants. The exhibition presents a snapshot of the area and how it evolved over time, from its earliest residents through the city's industrial era. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is undertaking a long-term project to improve and rebuild I-95 in Philadelphia. The three mile section from I-676 to Allegheny Avenue includes improving the Girard Avenue interchange, highway widening, new utilities, landscaping, and access to Philadelphia's waterfront.

URS archaeologists, following the National Historic Preservation Act, are preserving the historic waterfront through scientific excavation and research. This research will recreate historical life at distinct points in time from 2,500 B.C. to A.D. 1900. Click here to see photos of Digging the City: Archaeological Discoveries from the Philadelphia Waterfront


Art in the Open: The Exhibition  
June 15 - September 9, 2012 

Art in the Open: The Exhibition presented works from artists that participated in the 2012 Art in the Open event. This exhibit aimed to draw attention to the city's outdoor spaces and historic waterways through the action of artists expressing their creativity within these environments. This citywide event took place along the Schuylkill River and transformed the Schuylkill River banks into art studios that offered inspiration of the urban landscape for the artists. Click here to see photos of Art in the Open: The Exhibition


Past to Present - Tattoo Paintings
February 9 - May 20, 2012

Past to Present - Tattoo Paintings framed the contemporary tattoo flash art movement in its traditional context. The exhibit featured over 150 tattoo paintings (known as "flash" in the trade) by renowned artists from around the world. A large number of these contemporary artists find their inspiration from the styles of their tattooist forbears. Numerous early designs depict nautical subjects, reflecting how merchant and naval seamen continued the American tattoo tradition. The exhibit was curated by Troy Timpel, a Philadelphia-based tattoo artist, creator of clothing line Villain Arts, and organizer of the successful Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention. 

Another highlight of the exhibit was a life size "tattoo artist" from the Museum's 2009 exhibit Skin & Bones: Tattoos in Life of the American Sailor. The electronic artists "talks" to customers as he "inks" one of four tattoos on their arms. The "tattooing" is done through a video projection system. the "tattoo artist" is still in the Museum on the second floor. Click here to see photos of Past to Present - Tattoo Paintings