Save these dates!
CAMM’s 2015 Annual Meeting will be hosted by the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, San Pedro, California, on April 13 -14. Details will be forthcoming when available.
The following was shared at the recent CAMM meeting by Ron Oswald
South Street Seaport Museum continues and is, by many measures, alive and well! Just off a highly successful Spring Revival weekend, two of the larger ships are once again open to the public, the 1911 PEKING and the 1907 AMBROSE, the latter with new interpretation. This represents the largest open-ship operation for the museum in some years and is the result of more than $280,000 spent in AMBROSE and significant preparations in PEKING. Although the galleries in Schermerhorn Row remain closed after Hurricane Sandy, the Museum is striding forward on a number of levels including:
It’s no secret that SSSM faces serious challenges both in the post-Sandy climate and with respect to rampant development in the Seaport district. But there are some very bright spots. A working group of stakeholders, convened by elected officials at both the state and local levels and including the Borough President, continues to work on recommendations for appropriate development in the district and the long-term health of the Museum. The recent Spring Revival was attended by the Manhattan Borough President, the Seaport’s City Councilmember, the Community Board Chair, the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, and numerous corporate and individual sponsors, not to mention a robust group of volunteers, members, neighbors, and friends of the Museum.
All of this makes one thing very clear. Although the specifics of the Seaport Museum’s future remain somewhat undefined, there is little doubt that the Museum will once again thrive. It has become evident in the past year and a half since Sandy that the residents of the Seaport district and the city of New York through its elected officials are aware of the import of the Seaport and its story of trade, of immigration, of the growth of the greatest maritime city in America, and in fact the story of America herself.
I look forward to joining CAMM at the next meeting and hope at that time to be able to offer a further report about the revitalization of the Seaport Museum. I am sorry that I cannot be with you today, but I wish you all the best from South Street.
CAPTAIN JONATHAN BOULWARE
SOUTH STREET SEAPORT MUSEUM
A great time was had by all who attended the recent CAMM meeting at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio. See the complete slide show on CAMM’s annual meeting page.
Mystic Seaport reports that “The Charles W. Morgan” documentary film will begin airing on PBS stations nationwide on May 17 (Check local listings as each affiliate station can choose when and if they want to broadcast it).
The one-hour documentary film, directed by five-time Emmy winner Pryor, tells the extraordinary story of America’s last wooden whaleship and the incredible saga of whaling, the first global industry dominated by America. From her humble beginnings in New Bedford in the year 1841, the film follows the adventures of the Morgan on 37 voyages around the world where this “Lucky Ship” survived freeze-ups in the Arctic, attacks by hostile natives, fire aboard ship, and a host of other stories, each of which had the potential to end the vessel’s life. Yet more than 170 years later, the Charles W. Morgan lives on, and she is poised to sail again, on her 38th Voyage in June of 2014.
The 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.
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.
Schoonmaker 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.
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.
The 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.