Category Archives: Shipbuilding

North Carolina Maritime Museum Hiring Boatbuilder

The North Carolina Maritime Museum in the Department of Cultural Resources seeks a Museum Specialist – Boatbuilder for its Watercraft Center in Beaufort, NC. This is a full-time permanent State Government position. The hiring salary range is $34,190 – $42,000, and the successful candidate will start working early in the New Year.

Candidates must be knowledgeable in vernacular and “classic” watercraft history and construction techniques, skilled in traditional boat building techniques and in teaching them to the public and able to train and supervise a largely volunteer work force. Prefer graduation from a four year college/university , some supervisory and managerial experience or three years of related work experience with demonstrated knowledge of boat building. Candidates with an equivalent combination of education and experience are strongly urged to apply.

Applications must be made only online through the NC Office of State Human Resources website: http://www.oshr.nc.gov/jobs/. See specific link to this position here.

Candidates are encouraged to submit further supporting material in addition to completing the mandatory standard application form. All applications must be received by 5:00 PM EST on Friday, December 12, 2014.

The Department of Cultural Resources is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

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

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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.