Category Archives: Ships

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.

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.

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.

Update on South Street Seaport

The following was shared at the recent CAMM meeting by Ron Oswald

Courtesy South Street Seaport Museum

Courtesy South Street Seaport Museum

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: 

  • Open ships on Pier 16 (PEKING and AMBROSE)
  • Education programs in Schermerhorn Row, the district, the Bowne Shops, and aboard the ships
  • Active printing and education in Bowne & Co., Stationers, Bowne Printers, and woodcarving and model building in the Maritime Crafts Center.
  • The schooner PIONEER readying for another season of her award-winning education programs on New York Harbor and farther afield
  • The schooner LETTIE G. HOWARD readying for a collaborative season with New York Harbor School and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as a flagship and education platform
  • The 1885 ship WAVERTREE is in a bidding process for a city-funded $5.2 million project of hull plate replacements, reinstallation of the ‘tweendeck, and replacement of the weather deck. She will return to Pier 16 in 2015 and become the principal centerpiece of the fleet
  • The highly popular volunteer program is alive and thriving and despite a slight dip in hours in 2013 (owing to closed galleries) the program is now on track to best many recent years in hours and is clearly strong, vibrant, and full of enthusiastic supporters

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
INTERIM PRESIDENT
SOUTH STREET SEAPORT MUSEUM

Charles W. Morgan Documentary

Courtesy Mystic Seaport website

Courtesy Mystic Seaport website

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.

From more information and trailer.

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

Sail Training International Announces 2014 Conference

The venue and dates for the International Sail Training & Tall Ships Conference 2014 are now confirmed.

The conference will be held in the Spanish city of A Coruña, on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 November.

The city of A Coruña is well known to the sail training community, both as a strategic safe haven on the north west corner of Spain and as a regular host port for The Tall Ships Races. The city has been a host port on eight previous occasions and will once again welcome The Tall Ships fleet in the summer of 2016.

More information

Objects Available from Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society

Below is a list of objects approved for deaccession by the Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society (PSMHS), located in Seattle, WA. PSMHS holds legal title for all of these objects, and each one is available for transfer to an appropriate institution. We are willing to transfer to permanent as well as education collections. Some objects may be in poor condition.

For more information or if your institution is interested in a particular item, please contact Jessica Bellingham at jbelling@uw.edu by January 15, 2014. Items will be transferred on a first-come, first-served basis. Please include the accession number when inquiring about an object.

Thanks very much for your time, and we hope you find something that interests you & your institution!

• PS103 – Wooden name board from schooner “Tongass.” 70” long.

• PS304 – Piece of teakwood; relic from schooner “La Natalie.” 3”x3”x8”

• PS901.7a-i – Set of 9 spline weights for drafting, lead with brass hooks

• PS1057 – Mock-up of boiler front built for an engine room exhibit

• PS1061.1 – framed ink drawing/joiner plans for SS Kansas City, which became the S.S. Alaska

• PS1067.1 & .2– Marine engine, Lathrop. Standard model 4 cycle, 2 cylinder, with instruction booklet. Mounted on wood stand on wheels.

• PS1128 – Elto outboard motor

• PS1129 – Outboard motor

• PS1138.25.1 & .2 – 2 woven provisioning baskets

• PS1151.1 to .9 – Jacob’s ladder (5 treads) and 8 wood rigging blocks

• PS1162 – Weatherproof uniform “liberated from Navy Sea Bee camp on Iwo Jima”, including overalls & hooded top.

• PS1204.38 – Commemorative dish for launching of MV Rabenfels of Hansa line.

• PS1232.3 – Iron eye fitting on wooden knee beam from “Star of Bengal”

• PS1235 – Boatswain’s metal handheld whistle

• PS1409.80 – Model door lock with knob & latch assembly mounted on wooden display stand

• PS1409.114 – Document or letter holder, used by ship’s purser to index bills, etc.

• PS1409.139 – Gold shoulder loop from Imperial Japanese 7th

• PS1409.214 – Miniature model of English fishing cutter – 4.5” long

• PS1409.216 – Box full of loose ship model pieces

• PS1409.239 – Miniature ship model made of a turkey breast bone

• PS1422 – Scott Atwater outboard motor.

• PS1425 – Outboard motor, Johnson Motors, Waukegan III

• PS1998.40.1 to .9 – Radiophones, handsets, radio direction finders, etc. Note that only 8 are available – PSMHS will be keeping one of these. All are slightly rusty.

• PS2000.12.7 – Anchor chain

• PS2000.27 – 373 Navigational charts in 12 tubes, world coverage

• PS2000.30.1 to .6 – Scale, weights, pressure gauge, zinc anode, box end wrench

• PS2000.37 – Sport fishing rod & reel.

• PS2000.42.4 – Deadeye and iron wire shroud end on wood deadeye from sailing vessel “America.”

• PS2000.42.5 – Wood planking fragment from sailing vessel “America”

• PS2001.37.3 – Bottom action winch for small sailing yacht, Merriman Bros., Boston

• PS2001.51 – Miscellaneous maritime-themed baseball caps in unknown condition.

• PS2001.57.1 – Copper gunpowder canister, copper pitcher form with two handles

• PS2001.57.6 – Medal “Ships for Victory”, bronze with red, white, and blue ribbon.

• PS2001.60.1 – Polarstar immersion suit in unknown condition

• PS2002.28 – Large model of Todd Shipyard diorama

• PS2002.29 – Wooden steering wheel from the SS “Baranof”, 72” diameter

• PS2003.1.4 – 8 blue glass canning jars

• PS2003.9 –Fabric & wire anchor signal in unknown condition

• PS2004.10 – Radar display simulator for navigation training

• PS2004.22 – Wood casting pattern for rocker arm of Nordberg engine

• PS2005.1.6 – Framed bill of landing/manifest for ship “Audubon” from NY to San Francisco

• PS2007.17.2 – Broken diorama of 3-masted schooner on wooden base

• PS2007.17.3 – Broken diorama of brigantine on wooden base

• PS2007.17.4 – Broken diorama of four-masted barkentine on wooden base

• PS2007.25.1 – Print of S.S. “Master”

• PS2007.27 – Bronze searchlight, 19” diameter

• PS2008.1 – Steam pump – direct acting, duplex, painted green.

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