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One of the world's best model-ship collections



ne of the world’s best, and nation’s oldest, maritime collections, the Hart Nautical Gallery at MIT was opened in 1922, endowed by Francis Russell Hart, a member of the Class of 1885 who rose to become president of the United Fruit Company. It has more than 35 full-hull ship models originally used as teaching aids at MIT’s Pratt School of Naval Architecture, now called the Center for Ocean Engineering, among them the USS President, a frigate similar to the USS Constitution, and the most famous of all America’s Cup racers, the metal-hulled Reliance, which won the cup in 1903.



Boston-based United Fruit Company, whose president, Francis Russel Hart, endowed MIT’s Hart Nautical Gallery, came into being when Boston shipowners realized they could fill the empty cargo holds of ships returning from the West Coast with South American bananas. It is now Chiquita.