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Cape Cod National Seashore Reports Theft of Scrimshaw Pieces from Museum

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Date: April 21, 2011
Contact: Chief Ranger, Bob Grant, 508-957-0735

Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent George Price announced today that two pieces of scrimshaw were recently stolen from a locked case in the museum exhibit at Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham.  One piece is a 22" walrus tusk with the engraving, "Ship. Wm. Thompson" and the other piece is a 3 1/2" carved piece of carved walrus tusk in the shape of a walrus head. Both pieces are extremely beautiful and valuable. The park curator has notified members of the scrimshaw collector community to enlist their help in recovering these national treasures. The national seashore had displayed the two pieces at the visitor center since 1989.

Superintendent Price lamented, "These wonderful pieces of maritime art belong to the American people and we are cooperating with a number of law enforcement agencies to search for them. It is unfortunate that, for now, these scrimshaw pieces will not be available for viewing, although numerous other scrimshaw items remain on display." The museum will stay open during the investigation. Price added, "The National Park Service has over 121 million items in its collections nationwide and these incidents of theft are extremely rare." Anyone having any information regarding the theft is asked to contact Chief Ranger Bob Grant at 508-957-0735.

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Did You Know?

The Province Lands, Provincetown, MA

The Province Lands area of the Cape Cod National Seashore in Provincetown is also known as the second-oldest “common lands” in the nation, second only to Boston Common. It was put aside in the 1600s by Plymouth Colony as a fisheries reserve.