Category Archives: News

Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trails Conference

fisheriesScheduled for September 8 – 9 in South Haven, Michigan, this conference will explore and celebrate our Great Lakes fisheries heritage as a means to promote coastal tourism development. opportunities.

Discover how our valuable Great Lakes fisheries (past, present, and future) can benefit local museum programs, enhance coastal tourism development opportunities, and support community development efforts. Learn more about Michigan’s Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Consortium projects and partnerships, including current opportunities toward designating a statewide fisheries heritage tourism trail.

Sponsored by the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Consortium, Michigan Sea GrantMichigan State University ExtensionMichigan State University and the Michigan Maritime Museum.

Maine Maritime Museum’s New Blacksmith Exhibit

Architectural rendering of blacksmith exhibit at Maine Maritime Museum

Architectural rendering of blacksmith exhibit at Maine Maritime Museum

BATH, Maine, July 22…When the ribbon is cut for the Kenneth D. Kramer Blacksmith Shop Exhibit during a member’s reception on Friday, August 15, it will mark the latest transformative addition to Maine Maritime Museum’s campus and will complete the curated story of the historic Percy & Small Shipyard, part of the museum’s campus and a remarkable story in Maine’s maritime heritage.

From 1894 to 1920, the Percy & Small Shipyard built an astonishing 41 four- five- and six-mast schooners.  Of only 11 six-mast wooden schooners ever built in the Americas, 7 were constructed at the P&S yard including Wyoming, largest of them all. When the P&S site was donated to the museum in 1975, it was remarkably intact, the only U.S. shipyard that built large wooden sailing vessels that still had original buildings. The only one missing was the blacksmith shop.

“While it may seem surprising that a blacksmith shop would be an important part of a wooden vessel shipyard,Wyoming was built with more than 300 tons of iron and steel,” says Amy Lent, the museum’s executive director.  “In addition to the anchor and usual metal fastenings and fittings present in all ships, the huge wooden ship’s hull could not have borne the incredible pressures created by the 6,000 long tons of coal in her holds without the iron strapping that kept her timbers in place.”

During the 26 years that the P&S shipyard was in business, there were two different buildings that served as the blacksmith shop. The first, which outfitted all of the six-mast schooners, was destroyed by fire in 1913 – not an unusual occurrence for wooden buildings housing open forges in an environment filled with wood shavings and sawdust. Very little information is available about the interior of that building and few clear exterior photos exist. The shop contained at least one forge and also a boiler for the yard’s steam box for making heavy planking pliable. The second blacksmith shop building was torn down in 1939, long after P&S had ceased operation.

The exhibit approximates the original building’s dimensions of 84 x 26 feet and location due east of the Paint & Treenail Shop. To preserve the integrity of the shipyard’s original historic buildings, the new structure is not an attempt at a historical recreation of the original building. Instead, the proportions, dimensions and materials used evoke the original building and its purpose while clearly being a contemporary structure.

While the open design permits expansive views of the P&S shipyard and the Kennebec River, an innovative combination of corrugated weathering steel (which oxidizes to a rust-colored finish) and rough-cut wood framing was selected to reference shipbuilding materials.

The structure houses exhibits related to the blacksmith activities that took place there while also providing a gathering place for functions and visitors.  On occasion, blacksmithing demonstrations will be conducted in the building.

Replacing the blacksmith ship was a vision of former MMM Trustee Kenneth D. Kramer, who passed away in 2009 leaving a generous bequest that included funds to construct a Blacksmith Shop building. Thanks entirely to Ken the complete shipbuilding story of the great schooners can now be told, and so the new exhibit building bears his name.

Maritime Heritage Grants Available

Tim Runyan, chair of the National Maritime Alliance, announced that monies are now available for the second round of maritime heritage grants. The National Park Service will make the formal announcement on Monday but meanwhile you can access more information at http://www.nps.gov/maritime/grants/intro.htm

Approximately $1,700,000 is available for 2014. Note the deadline for applications is September 23rd.

Navy Artifacts Getting New Home

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From Naval History and Heritage Command Communication and Outreach Division RICHMOND, Va. (NNS) — The Navy announced the planned consolidation of its historic artifacts from multiple locations into a tailored facility located
in Richmond, Va. 

Naval artifacts are currently housed in separate facilities in Washington
D.C., Springfield, Va., Cheatham Annex, Va. and Memphis, Tenn. The entire process of consolidation, which includes a partial refurbishment of the Richmond facility to adequately meet storage condition standards, is projected to take approximately 18 months.

“This move represents a generational leap forward for the conservation, preservation, management and ultimately care of our most prized Navy holdings,” said Captain Henry Hendrix, Ph.D., the director of the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC). “We’ve been both amazed by and grateful for our partners at DLA (Defense Logistics Agency) for their alacrity, enthusiasm and determination.” 

NHHC currently holds more than 300,000 artifacts in its collection dating back to the founding of the Republic.

“We’re glad to help safeguard these invaluable possessions by finding  a single facility. It removes the inherent inefficiencies of having them scattered in various locations – and the best part is with the necessary storage modifications it’ll mean significant improvements for the artifacts,” said Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek, director of the Defense Logistics Agency, who was central in arranging for the consolidation. 

“We’ve been working hard for a few years now to more efficiently manage the vast and in some cases fragile holdings, and having them scattered around the country was both expensive and problematic. Truthfully, the existing storage conditions weren’t anything to write home about either. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, but this is a quantum leap forward,” said Dr. Jay Thomas, the assistant director for NHHC for the collections management division. 

The consolidation now allows the Navy to centrally locate all of the artifacts, which will translate to improved care, management, accountability and oversight of the collection. The building in Richmond will ensure improved environmental controls for high risk artifacts, proper shelving and storage, an area for conserving and preserving the artifacts. The facility will provide the infrastructure for staff to continue and complete the on-going 100% artifact inventory effort currently underway.

This vast undertaking will demand the entire collection team to focus its time and energy on the move.  In the near term, the Navy’s Curator Branch will continue to service existing artifact loans, currently numbering in excess of 1,500. The curators will suspend processing requests for new artifact loans as they tackle the project, which will require significant travel in support of preparing and managing the shipment of the vast holdings. Their ability to accept new donations and respond to inquiries will also be slowed. 

We have literally tons of material, some of which is priceless, and nearly all of it irreplaceable. But the work is well worth it if it means in the long run our Sailors and our citizens can better appreciate what the Navy has meant to our country since its inception,” said head curator, Karen France. 

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy’s unique and enduring contributions through our nation’s history, and supports the Fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. 

NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.

Story Number: NNS140612-18; Release Date: 6/12/2014 9:31:00 PM

USCG Report on Bounty Sinking

U.S. COAST GUARD RELEASES REPORT OF INVESTIGATION OF THE SINKING OF THE TALL SHIP BOUNTY

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Coast Guard released its report of investigation of the October 2012 sinking of the tall ship Bounty, during which one crewmember died and another remains missing and is presumed dead, off the coast of Cape Hatteras, N.C.

The findings in the report conclude that a combination of faulty management and crew risk assessment procedures contributed to the sinking. Specifically, choosing to navigate a vessel in insufficient material condition  in close proximity to an approaching hurricane with an inexperienced crew was highlighted.

As a result of the investigation, the report recommends that the Coast Guard
review the existing policy for attraction vessels, including vessel manning
and operating status. The report also lists such recommendations as that the HMS Bounty Organization establish organizational policy that dictates vessel operational parameters based on weather, sea state or destination, and also establish organizational policy and requirements for hiring of a professional engineer in the event they operate a vessel in the future.

NHA Hires Michael R. Harrison as Robyn & John Davis Chief Curator

NHA_Chief CuratorThe Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) is pleased to announce the hiring of Michael R. Harrison in the position of Robyn & John Davis Chief Curator. Harrison will officially begin his duties in his new role on Monday, June 30, 2014.

“The collections and properties of the NHA provide a welcome opportunity to combine my interests in maritime, social, and architectural history,” says Harrison. “I’m excited to work with my new colleagues to create exciting exhibitions and programs that link local stories and the local built environment to regional, national, and even international themes and developments.”

“The history of whaling has been featured in other museum projects I’ve done, so the island’s historic importance is very familiar,” says Harrison. “I’m looking forward to diving more deeply into the many aspects of Nantucket’s history and seeing what stories we at the NHA can tell about the island and its people over time.”

In his position as Robyn & John Davis Chief Curator, Harrison will head the curatorial and historic properties departments and have oversight of the association’s collections and exhibition programs, including its historic properties. He will be responsible for the management, care, research and interpretation of the NHA holdings in the fine and decorative arts, historic and prehistoric artifacts, historic structures and NHA Research Library holdings.

The American Lightship Museum Opens

Cutting the ribbon on the Overfalls Foundation’s new American Lightship Museum from the left: Museum Curator Ray Glick, Mayor Ted Becker, Foundation Ship & Grounds Chair Bill Reader, Past President Dave Bernheisel and President Tracy Mulveny

Cutting the ribbon on the Overfalls Foundation’s new American Lightship Museum from the left: Museum Curator Ray Glick, Mayor Ted Becker, Foundation Ship & Grounds Chair Bill Reader, Past President Dave Bernheisel and President Tracy Mulveny

The Overfalls Foundation in Lewes, Delaware announced the opening of the American Lightship Museum at a ceremony on June 4, 2014. The Foundation is also the home of the Lightship Overfalls (LV-118), a recently designated National Historic Landmark, and the Delaware Maritime Hall of Fame.

The new museum will work in conjunction with the lightship, at the same location, to tell the story of the American lightships and the crews who served aboard them. Foundation president Tracy Mulveny said, “This is something that has been in our plans for a long time and this year we were able to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. First, the Lightship Sailors Association donated their collection of artifacts to us to put on display. Then, we were given the pilot house from the Stephanie Anne, a 1955 vintage fishing boat that was being rebuilt which we were able to restore and use to house the artifacts. Our local community, which has always been supportive of our mission, made it possible to incorporate the new structure in our existing building complex. Finally, with contributions of funds and building materials from generous donors, our volunteer work force took over and made it all happen.”

In addition to telling the lightship story, the museum houses some significant and unique artifacts such as the hawsehole from LV-1, the first numbered U.S. lightship, and the last American flag to fly over a U.S. lightship completing a full tour in service. The Foundation also seeks additional artifacts to supplement the collection and better tell the lightship story. Any individuals who might be able to assist in adding to the collection are asked to contact the museum curator Ray Glick on (847) 732-2988 or by e-mail at GlickRay@Gmail.com.

The museum’s open hours will coincide with that of the lightship which is seasonal from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. As with the lightship, special museum tours are available on request. For the latest information and special tours refer to the Foundation’s web site WWW.Overfalls.org.