Seaford Museum reveals sea beans and shipwrecks in new exhibition

Peruvian and ivory nut, seaford
Peruvian and ivory nut, seaford

The wonders and dangers of the sea will be revealed in what promises to be a fascinating special exhibition at Seaford Museum opening on Saturday March 16.

Ship wrecks, flooding and the strange objects washed up on the beach will be amongst the topics covered in Sea Breezes and Sea Beans.

Exotic seeds, otherwise known as sea beans, float across the Atlantic Ocean from America or the Caribbean on the gulf stream, sometimes taking a year or more to reach our shores.

One example which has washed up on our beaches is the sea heart, the seed from the monkey ladder vine, which grows in tropical parts of America.

The vines drape over tree tops, providing thoroughfares for monkeys, lizards and snakes in the rainforest canopy.

A number of ivory nuts which were part of the cargo of the SS Peruvian will be on display.

The ship was wrecked in Seaford Bay in 1899 and its figurehead is one of the regular exhibits in Seaford Museum.

These ivory nuts can still be found on local beaches 114 years later. They are the seed of the ivory palm.

David Swaysland from Seaford Museum said: “As the wreck of the Peruvian proves, the sea can be dangerous and our seashore regularly receives the remnants of ships, large and small, which have been lost over the years, as well as mysterious sections of aluminium, quite possibly from friendly or enemy aircraft lost during the Battle of Britain; flint fossils and other fascinating finds, many of which will be on display.

“The decision to protect the Seaford Sea Wall with tonnes of imported shingle in 1986/87 remains controversial for many people, but without taking sides in the arguments, the exhibition includes photographs of the damage to the sea wall in the 40 years before the 1986/87 sea defences were built.

“The extent of the destruction may be a surprise to those local residents who have only known the town over the past 25 years.”

In a first for Seaford Museum, this 2013 special exhibition is being supported by the British Ecological Society, which is marking its centenary this year.

There will be a number of other joint Seaford Museum and British Ecological Society events during 2013.

To mark the opening of the “Sea Breezes and Sea Beans” special exhibition, the Museum is offering free admission to the Museum to the public on Saturday March 16 from 11am until 3pm.