The RSS Discovery and Frigate Unicorn represent part of the industrial past of Dundee, it's history and pride. A group of us visited both ships on Monday during our free time. The way that each ship was represented was vastly different from the other. The first ship we visited was the Frigate Unicorn, an unused ship that was involved in the earlier ship building industry during the Napoleonic wars. The RSS Discovery likewise was a major part of Dundee’s past during the heroic times of discovering Antarctica, but now it more fully fixes its present and future. The restoration of the RSS Discovery to the shores of Dundee pulled Dundee out of a dark hole and began a process of redefinition.
The cool thing about using ships as museums is that you can go on them and pretend you’re a pirate. It gives you something physical to learn about, not protected by a sheet of glass. Dundee is still in the process of reinventing itself but it’s off to a good start. Though some of their historical sites aren’t up to par with what we’re used to in the US, they handle it differently by getting you involved. On the Frigate Unicorn we could wander all over the ship, touch things, and become part of it. The RSS Discovery was the same, though a little more refined and a little more off limit. These ships physically represent the relationship between industrial past and postindustrial future in the same way Verdant Works does. The use of past working machines, everyday objects that discreetly defined a population to the point that they now preserve it with reverence and say, “This is me, my past and future”.