A new exhibit scheduled to open at the San Diego Maritime Museum on Friday will feature explorer Capt. James Cook, author Herman Melville and artist Paul Gauguin.
"It's something that hasn't ever been seen in San Diego and it certainly has never been in an exhibit like this," said Maritime Museum executive director Ray Ashley.
Ashley said Cook, Melville and Gaugin all shared an interest in the South Pacific.
The exhibit will be on two ships, starting with the HMS Surprise. The HMS Surprise is the museum's so-called "pirate ship" and has been transformed to resemble Cook's ship, the Resolution, which sailed in 1772.
Melville's tale of the great white whale, Moby Dick, is also featured in the exhibit, but the highlights of the display are the paintings and sculptures of impressionist artist Gauguin.
"It's actually one of the most spectacular collections of Pacific art [and] native island art that's ever been assembled," said Ashley.
Extensive modifications had to be made to ensure the artwork and artifacts were in a climate-controlled space aboard the ferry boat Berkeley. This is the first time the collection will be displayed aboard a boat.
The exhibit will open on Friday and will run for the next seven months.
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