Category Archives: News

National Museum of the Great Lakes Ready to Open

New National Museum of the Great Lakes with museum ship S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker. Photo by Candace Clifford

New National Museum of the Great Lakes with museum ship S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker. Photos by Candace Clifford

P1100197 lorescollectibles loresThe new National Museum of the Great Lakes, Toledo, Ohio, combines the Great Lakes Historical Society’s extensive collection of artifacts with various interactive exhibits for different age levels. Kids can stoke a steamship boiler with artificial coal while adults can track commercial shipping on a computer monitor. Hundreds of artifacts, ranging from a second-order fresnel lighthouse lens to tourist collectibles from passenger vessels, are distributed throughout. The amount of material is a little overwhelming but the interpretive panels are designed so that a person can take in only the major points or pause to read more detailed information.

Lifesaving exhibit

KELLEYS ISLAND, the oldest lifeboat used by the U.S. Life-Saving Service on the Great Lakes

Although located on the Maumee River near Lake Erie, the museum interprets all the Great Lakes with four exhibit themes: Exploration & Settlement, Expansion & Industry, Safeguard & Support, Shipwrecks & Safety. As you enter, a short film gives an introductory overview with dramatic lights and sound effects.

Outside, the museum ship S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker will impress you with its enormous size. It was the largest freighter on the Great Lakes when built in 1911 by Great Lakes Engineering Works in Ecorse, Michigan. Its capacity of 15,000 tons was a dramatic increase over other existing freighters’ capacity of 3,000 to 12,000 tons.

front loresSchoonmaker carried coal, iron ore, and other cargo from Duluth to Cleveland and other ports for the Shenango Furnace Company. Sold to Interlake Steamship Company in 1969, she was renamed Willis B. Boyer in honor of a former chairman of the board. Sold in 1971 to the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company, Boyer was retired in 1980 after 69 years of service.

Opened to the public in July 1987, Boyer became a visitor attraction on the Toledo waterfront. Recently restored and then rechristened Col. James M. Schoonmaker on July 1, 2011, one hundred years after her original christening, the freighter has been repainted in her original colors of the Shenango Furnace Company.Schoon detail lores

The official opening of the National Museum of the Great Lakes will be April 26, 2014. Two days later, representatives from maritime museums as far away as Astoria, Oregon; Santa Barbara, California; and Houston, Texas; will be on hand to celebrate and support the new facility as part of the annual conference of the Council of American Maritime Museums (CAMM). Maritime museums included on the program include Michigan Maritime Museum; Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota; Mystic Seaport, Connecticut; Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.;  Maine Maritime Museum; The Mariners’ Museum, Virginia; and Chesapeake Maritime Museum, Maryland.

Schoonmaker

A Dream of Tall Ships by Peter & Norma Stanford

SSSBcoverSMThe National Maritime Historical Society is proud to announce a new book they just published on the founding of the South Street Seaport. A Dream of Tall Ships: How New Yorkers came together to save the city’s sailing-ship waterfront is an entertaining memoir by Peter and Norma Stanford about their dream of saving Manhattan’s old waterfront and creating a museum that celebrates its history and all those who participated in its restoration.

Peter and Norma are well known in the maritime community and Peter was instrumental in the founding of the Council of American Maritime Museums. We plan to review the book in an upcoming newsletter.  Meanwhile, more information is available in this book flyer.

First Issue of WORLD OCEAN JOURNAL Available Online

World Ocean MagazineThe World Ocean Observatory  has announced the launch of World Ocean Journal, a new bi-annual e-zine on ocean culture, issues and solutions to today’s ocean issues. The inaugural volume includes essays, interviews, art, exhibits and performances which profile some of the vital impacts of the ocean on our lives. The last essay, by director Peter Neill, contains his “reflections on ‘reciprocity’ as a rationale and framework for exchange of value and engagement between the ocean and us, between civil society and the natural world that sustains it.” For more on the journal’s content, click here.

The mission of the World Ocean Observatory is to provide a place of exchange about the ocean as defined as “an integrated, global, social system” relating the ocean to fresh water, climate, science, food, technology, finance, policy governance, coastal development, planning, and cultural traditions. World Ocean Journal, a new outreach effort by the World Ocean Observatory, is yet another extension of our efforts to educate the public, broaden our audience of Citizens of the Ocean, and present information and educational services as dynamic as the ocean itself.

MONITOR Center Lab Closes – Message from The Mariners’ Museum

Monitor Center lab is closed due to lack of federal funding  

The Mariners’ Museum has made the difficult decision to temporarily close the 5,000-square foot lab that houses the USS Monitor‘s gun turret and other large artifacts following the Dec. 31, 2013 expiration of an agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Sanctuary Program.

Simply put, The Mariners’ Museum cannot continue to shoulder the conservation costs for these artifacts, which belong to the federal government. In 2013, the conservation cost was approximately $500,000. NOAA was only able to provide 10 percent of funding, and no funding was designated in 2012, the 150th anniversary of the Monitor‘s historic clash with the Confederate ironclad Virginia in Hampton Roads.

The decision to close the “wet lab” does not impact the rest of the Museum operation. The Monitor exhibition Ironclad Revolution is still open, as is the rest of the exhibition space at The Mariners’ Museum. Also, though no progress in the artifacts’ treatment will be made during this period, the artifacts remain in a stable environment.

This is an emotional move for all of us, who feel deeply invested in the effort to tell the important story of the USS Monitor through its artifacts. Most affected is our team of Monitor conservators, some of whom have dedicated years to this project, and who consider themselves the guardians of the Monitor.

NOAA is waiting on Congress’ approval of a budget to determine what funding to make available this coming year. NOAA and The Mariners’ Museum are working together to ensure that funding is in place to continue this important conservation work. The lab will re-open once funding is secured.

You can help us by letting legislators and NOAA know you believe the government should designate funding for the Monitor conservation project at The Mariners’ Museum. Here are three ways you can do this:

  • Sign our change.org petition
  • Message NOAA and The Mariners’ to let us know of your support
  • Forward this e-mail to your friends

Thank you for your support of our continued desire to tell the USS Monitor story, and to preserve these artifacts for many generations to come.

Sincerely,

Elliot

Elliot Gruber
President & CEO
The Mariners’ Museum

CHARLES W. MORGAN Voyage – Call for Proposals

Mystic Seaport Director Steve White provided the following details:

I want to let CAMM members know about an upcoming opportunity to travel onboard the Charles W. Morgan during her historic 38th Voyage next summer. This will be the first time in 80 years this National Historic Landmark vessel will leave Mystic, Connecticut. The second oldest American ship afloat, the Morgan will voyage to seven New England ports including New Bedford and Boston, and spend several days on or near Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

We are seeking proposals for onboard participants from a wide range of backgrounds and skills – including scientists, artists, teachers, historians, playwrights, museum professionals, anthropologists, maritime archaeologists, whaling descendants, musicians, and writers. Each 38th Voyager will spend one night and the following day onboard the vessel, with a small group of other 38th Voyagers, the captain, crew, and a few additional guests.

This is a public-history project, so we seek proposed projects that will represent many different perspectives, reach different audiences, and find innovative ways to use the Morgan as a platform for recording, analyzing, interpreting, and sharing various aspects of the 38th Voyage. We encourage proposals that explore the wider local, national, and global stories to which she so strongly connects (see the Call For Proposals for the core project themes we’ve identified).

Please see the Call For Proposals for details – we’ll accept proposals from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31.

Email morgan@mysticseaport.org with any questions.

Best regards,

Steve

Maritime Heritage Grants Funded

Great news from Tim Runyan:
I received a call from National Park Service (NPS) this morning. The memorandum of agreement between MARAD and NPS enabling the transfer of funds for a public grants program according to the National Maritime Heritage Act was signed by MARAD. NPS has probably signed by now.
Our hard work on the Hill has paid off.
About $7M is available for the grants program– from the scrapping of ships in the National Defense Reserve Fleet by the Maritime Administration. NPS can claim 15% overhead per year. The grants will be offered over a four year period. The first request for proposals is expected by early 2014. Both agencies will participate in the distribution of the grants.
My thanks to all CAMM members and museums for staying the course these many years, contacting members of Congress when asked, and your commitment to maritime heritage.
Tim
National Maritime Alliance