Mystic Seaport explores adding electric propulsion to Sabino

Mystic Seaport Museum is exploring the possibility of adding electric propulsion to its steamboat Sabino with the installation of an electric motor and battery bank. The boat’s boiler and its original steam engine would remain in the vessel and operational. The addition of electric power would enable the vessel to operate under steam or electricity and vastly expand its capacity to provide public cruises on the Mystic River. If you have thoughts on this option, please contact Mystic Seaport direct.


Mystic Seaport Museum President Steve White Announces Retirement

Stephen C. White announced today he plans to retire as President and CEO of Mystic Seaport Museum. White, who has served as President and CEO since 2009, will continue in that role until his successor has been named.

“I’m honored to have worked alongside the talented, passionate, and dedicated staff and volunteers who every day strive to inspire an enduring connection to the American maritime experience,” says White. “I came here with the goal of guiding the institution to reimagine the interchange between maritime heritage and broader contemporary culture. I’m proud of all we have achieved in the last decade and that the Museum is poised to achieve more great things as it enters its 90th year in 2020.”

Under White’s leadership, the Museum strengthened its role as a leader in America’s maritime heritage community while simultaneously adapting to new visions of what a museum must be in the 21st century. It restored and sailed the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan on its 38th Voyage in 2014. The north end of the campus was reconfigured into the McGraw Gallery Quadrangle, a comprehensive renovation and expansion of the Museum’s indoor exhibition spaces, which included the construction of the award-winning Thompson Exhibition Building. The Museum is poised to conclude funding of its $6-million Era of Exhibitions campaign. The campaign was launched in 2017 to fund exhibitions of world-class quality, innovation, and scholarship such as the present show J.M.W. Turner: Watercolors from Tate, the most comprehensive collection of Turner watercolors ever displayed in this country.

White served as the president of the International Congress of Maritime Museums from 2015 to 2019, and Gov. Dannel Malloy named White Connecticut’s Tourism Leader of the Year in 2015.

“Steve’s impact on Mystic Seaport Museum is best seen in the strong sense of community he fostered, both inside the Museum and in its external relationships with the world at large,” says Michael S. Hudner, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “We are grateful for his steady, confident leadership and for the zeal and imagination with which he advanced the Museum’s mission.”

The Board of Trustees of Mystic Seaport Museum will establish a search committee headed by former Board chairman Barclay Collins in January 2020 to find White’s successor.

$5M Maritime Heritage Grant Funding Approved by Congress!

December 12, 2019 

Tim Runyan –  National Maritime Alliance

The House of Representatives last evening approved (377-48) the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report authorizing national defense funding for fiscal year 2020. Included is a provision that authorizes the Secretary of Defense to provide up to $5 million for the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program. The NDAA will be voted on by the Senate soon and is expected to pass. The House and Senate agreed on the bill earlier in their conference report.

This is a huge victory for the maritime heritage community. I thank those who have responded to my appeals to contact their Senators and Representatives to urge their support. Our grass roots effort over the past year was a key in achieving success. We also thank the Navy League for supporting the provision.

Our champion in this effort is Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) from Buffalo who proposed the legislation, and his staff led by Legislative Director Kayla Williams. NY Senators Schumer and Gillibrand also supported the provision, as did members across the country from both houses and parties. The final NDAA was changed substantially during the conference, but the section providing the $5M grant funding remained because of the support of members encouraged by our letters and contacts.

This is the first direct federal funding for the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program. Funding has come through the profits of recycling ships by the Maritime Administration. That source is projected to provide ca $2.5 million for 2020. It provided $10 million over four years, then no funding this past year. The $2.5 million from the Maritime Administration will be in addition to the $5 million provided through the NDAA.  The grant program will continue to be administered by the National Park Service. Updates will follow.                                                                                          

Timothy J. Runyan, PhD , Chair, National Maritime Alliance

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum shipwrights to restore oldest existing log canoe

This winter, shipwrights at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., will take on the restoration of a subject they’re all too familiar with — a Chesapeake Bay sailing log canoe.

Part of CBMM’s small craft collection, Glide is a three-log canoe believed to have been built c. 1864 at Town Point in Dorchester County, Md., by Washington Hammond Skinner (1823-1901). Originally called Monkey, it is believed to be the oldest existing Chesapeake Bay log canoe and was donated to CBMM in 2018 by John T. Adams, Jr.

“This project is an opportunity for visitors to observe as our shipwrights conserve one of our most historic vessels,” said Associate Curator of Collections Jenifer Dolde. “Curatorial staff will document each step of the process as we uncover the mysteries of Glide’s log-hull construction, replacing decayed wood in order to preserve the canoe for years to come.”

CBMM’s Shipyard staff, led by Joe Connor, will work to restore Glide to sailable condition without doing a complete overhaul of the historic canoe’s log hull. The primary focus of their work will be resplining two primary log joints to increase their strength and water-tight capabilities while maintaining the mechanical biscuit fasteners original to the vessel. Their goal is to sail Glide by the end of summer 2020 before returning the canoe to sit on display in CBMM’s Small Boat Shed. All work will be done in adherence to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Vessel Preservation.

CBMM’s working Shipyard has previously built two log canoes—Bufflehead (2014–2015) and Caroline (2018-2019)— and completed a historic restoration of 1889 bugeye Edna Lockwood, another log-hull Chesapeake Bay-built boat, in 2018.

“There’s no other Shipyard in the world more experienced in working on Bay-built log canoes,” Connor said. “We’re always excited for an opportunity to help preserve a vital piece of Chesapeake Bay history and to teach both the public and our apprentices more about traditional wooden boatbuilding.”

For most of its history, Glide used for pleasure, but not for racing. John T. Adams Sr. acquired the boat in 1962 from Raymond Ziegler of Cambridge, who bought the boat in the early 20th century from Earle Orem, a mayor of Cambridge. In 1943, marine architect Howard I. Chapelle restored Glide and took its lines. Unusual among surviving Chesapeake Bay log canoes, Glide’s logs are joined with wooden mortise and tenon rather than the iron drifts typical of later log canoes.

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s working Shipyard preserves traditional Chesapeake Bay wooden boatbuilding skills and techniques through living traditions, experiential archaeology, and education from youth to adults. A tangible connection to the Chesapeake’s rich history boatbuilding, shipwrights are dedicated to passing on skills and knowledge necessary to carry the wooden boat tradition forward. To learn more about CBMM’s Shipyard, its staff, and its current restoration and construction projects, visit