Hart Nautical

Hart Nautical

Black Ball Line packet ship Fidelia, oil painting by Samuel Walters (1811-1882).

The Francis Russell Hart Nautical Collections are one of the oldest and most extensive archives of nautical technology in the USA. The collections date from the 16th century to recent cutting edge ocean technologies. The collections primarily document design and construction by the leading ship builders, marine engineers and yacht designers of the past 150 years.

The Francis Russell Hart Nautical Museum merged with the MIT Museum in 1982. The nautical museum was established in 1922 as a new resource of MIT's Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (founded in 1893) after moving to new quarters in Cambridge from Boston. Ocean engineering at MIT recently merged with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and is now known as the Center for Ocean Engineering.

The original purpose of the Hart Nautical Museum was to support the teaching of naval architecture and marine engineering at MIT. Since its inception over eighty years ago, the collection has developed into one of the most important archives of nautical technology in America. The current focus of collecting is documenting MIT's substantial involvement with ocean technology development and building on the strength of our existing collections.

The Hart Nautical Collections

The collections consist of artifacts, books, plans, photographic materials, models, marine art, and technical records. The following link to Hart Nautical Collections List takes you to a detailed summary listing of these collections and available finding aids.

The Hart Nautical Collection is open to researchers by appointment only, Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

For access to collections, contact the curator.