Category Archives: Ships

Plimoth Plantation and Mystic Seaport Announce Collaborative Restoration of Mayflower II

Restoration of Iconic Ship Essential for Historic 2020 Commemoration

Plymouth, MA—December 4, 2014—Plimoth Plantation and Mystic Seaport, both acclaimed New England history museums, are pleased to announce a collaborative project to restore and repair Mayflower II, a full-scale reproduction ship owned by Plimoth Plantation. Work on the historic ship will take place at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport, adhering to The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Vessel Preservation Projects. A cohesive restoration plan will be established in conjunction with Plimoth Plantation’s Maritime Artisans Program, led by the museum’s newly-hired Associate Director for Maritime Preservation and Operations, Whit Perry. Mayflower II is scheduled to depart the Plymouth waterfront for Mystic Seaport sometime over the next several days depending on weather conditions.

Copy of Mayflower II at sea_cmykWork will begin in December on a multi-year phased restoration plan, honoring the ship’s original construction and using traditional methods with the goal of restoring the ship to her original state when she first arrived to Plymouth in 1957. Inspections in 2013 revealed that Mayflower II is in need of a major refit, which is normal for a nearly 60-year-old wooden ship. Recently, Plimoth Plantation completed some major repairs to secure a safe condition for the ship to continue operations on the Plymouth waterfront. These efforts were the initial steps toward addressing the long-term restoration plan.

Upon the ship’s arrival at Mystic Seaport, the restoration plan will begin following three phases: survey, document, and restore. A comprehensive marine survey will be completed by Paul Haley of Capt. G.W. Full & Associates, the same firm that surveyed several vintage vessels including the Mystic Seaport flagship Charles W. Morgan, the USS Constitution, the USS Constellation, and many additional projects within the tall ship community. Stone and iron ballast will be completely removed for the first time since the ship’s construction nearly 60 years ago, to allow proper inspection of the bilge area. The scope and plan for this winter’s restoration work will largely be determined by the needs identified once the ship is out of the water and the ballast is removed.

“Part of our mission at Mystic Seaport is to pass on the skills and techniques of traditional shipbuilding and historic preservation to the next generation, and projects such as this enable us to fulfill that goal while at the same time supporting an important member of the history museum community,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to help restore Mayflower II, so she can continue to tell the story of the Pilgrims and their brave journey to America.”

Mayflower II’s future vitality depends on continual preservation. The significant restoration of the 57-year-old wooden ship is scheduled for completion prior to 2020–the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival. The celebrated ship is a major exhibit of Plimoth Plantation and a leading tourism attraction in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, drawing millions of people from around the world to Plymouth’s historic waterfront to learn about the United States’ early Colonial history.

“Mystic Seaport is the clear choice for restoring Mayflower II. She will be in good hands with the Museum’s skilled craftspeople and shipwrights. The staff and boards of both museums share pride in this collaboration and profound respect for this treasured ship,” said Ellie Donovan, Plimoth Plantation’s executive director. “We greatly appreciate the enormous support for Mayflower II, especially from the Massachusetts State leadership for ensuring a major part of the funding for her restoration.”

Mayflower II will be available for visitors to view in the shipyard at Mystic Seaport, allowing Mayflower II to continue to educate and inspire the public throughout the restoration process. The shipyard is open to visitors during the Museum’s operating hours. (Please check the Mystic Seaport website for seasonal changes.) If repairs go as planned, Mayflower II is expected to return to Plymouth in late May, 2015. Sourcing rare, large-dimensioned white oak, which is needed in wooden-ship construction, is not expected to be an issue during this round of repairs. Plimoth Plantation acquired approximately 2,500 board feet from Berea College in Kentucky, and an additional 2,500 board feet from another restoration project in Rhode Island.

About Plimoth Plantation

Plimoth Plantation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization and a living museum dedicated to telling the history of Plymouth Colony from the perspective of both the Pilgrims and the Native Wampanoag people. Located less than an hour’s drive south of Boston in Plymouth, Massachusetts, (Exit 4, Route 3 south) and 15 minutes north of Cape Cod, the Museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week, from the third Saturday in March through the end of November 2014. Plimoth Plantation is a private, not-for-profit educational institution supported by admission fees, contributions, memberships, function sales and revenue from a variety of dining programs/services/special events and Museum Shops. Plimoth Plantation is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate and receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, private foundations, corporations, and local businesses. For more information, visit http://www.plimoth.org.

About Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship and the last wooden whaleship in the world. The Museum’s collection of more than two million artifacts includes more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography in the country. The state-of-the-art Collections Research Center at Mystic Seaport provides scholars and researchers from around the world with access to the Museum’s renowned archives. Mystic Seaport is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. Admission is $24 for adults and $15 for children ages 6-17. Museum members and children 5 and under are admitted free. For more information, please visit www.mysticseaport.org and follow Mystic Seaport on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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

DSC_8981

Opening Day – August 15, 2014. Photo by Candace Clifford

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.

Opening day - August 15, 2014. Photo by Candace Clifford

Opening day – August 15, 2014. Photo by Candace Clifford

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.