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SS United States Conservancy Announces Preliminary Agreement

The SS United States Conservancy (SSUSC) has announced that it has entered into a preliminary agreement in support of the redevelopment of SS United States. While few details are available at this time, the SSUSC issued a press release announcing the agreement on Monday.

Designed by William Francis Gibbs and built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, SS United States was subsidized by the US government with the understanding that she would be repurposed for troop transport should the need ever arise. Strict US Navy standards were observed, including compartmentalization to combat flooding and dual engine rooms for redundancy in case one of them was rendered inoperable. Designer Gibbs also went to great lengths to prevent the threat of fire; no wood was permitted in any of the public rooms, with the famous exception of the grand pianos and the catering crew’s butcher blocks.

United States undertook her maiden voyage on 3 July 1952 from New York to Le Havre and Southampton, and on that voyage set a record for the eastbound crossing by a liner, earning the ship the historic Blue Riband for her achievement. The ship enjoyed a decade of prestige, hosting statesmen and celebrities on the Atlantic. The 1960s saw a decline in ocean travel, and in 1969 she was removed from service. She changed hands multiple times since retirement, and has been berthed in Philadelphia since 1996. The SSUSC purchased the United States in 2010, and has been looking for partners to develop the ship as a multipurpose venue. This new announcement might signal the first step in a new incarnation for the historic liner.

ssus_05

Photo courtesy SS United States Conservancy

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Mayflower II in Mystic for the Winter

Plimoth Plantation’s Mayflower II, a 57-year-old replica of the ship that carried the Pilgrims to this continent, arrived in Mystic, CT, on Sunday, 14 December. Once the ship is settled in, Paul Haley of Capt. G.W. Full & Associates will be carrying out a full marine survey to evaluate her condition; the ballast material will be removed completely for the first time since the vessel’s launch in order to get a good look at the bilge area. Once the full extent of Mayflower II‘s refit needs have been evaluated, the first stage of work will begin, at the Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard at Mystic Seaport. In the spring, she will return to Plimoth Plantation, returning to Mystic for further work at the end of the 2015 season. Plimoth hopes to have all of the work completed in time for the 2020 anniversary of the original Mayflower‘s journey to North America.

Mayflower II in tow

Mayflower II in tow to Mystic, CT.
Photo: Kristen Oney – Plimoth Plantation

 

 

 

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Last Chance! CBMM Will be Closing Two Exhibits Soon

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has announced that it will be closing two exhibits: Push and Pull: Life on Chesapeake Bay Tugboats and Navigating Freedom: The War of 1812 on the Chesapeake. Both floors of the Steamboat Building, which currently houses these exhibits, will be used for the upcoming exhibition A Broad Reach: 50 Years of Collecting, commemorating the museum’s 50th anniversary. The exhibition will have a private opening on 22 May, the date of the museum’s founding in 1965, and then open to the public on 23 May.

Visitors have until 5 January to see the two retiring exhibits.

 

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10th Maritime Heritage Conference: Review and Papers

 

(l-r) Channing Zucker, Howard Slotnick, Carol Vinall, Jean Wort, Cesare Sorio, Burchenal Green, William Dudley, Phil Webster Margherita Sorio, Irmy Webster, Bob Kamm, Ronald Oswald, Nancy Schnaars.

(l-r) Channing Zucker, Howard Slotnick, Carol Vinall, Jean Wort, Cesare Sorio, Burchenal Green, William Dudley, Phil Webster Margherita Sorio, Irmy Webster, Bob Kamm, Ronald Oswald, Nancy Schnaars.

The 10th Maritime Heritage Conference 17–21 September in Norfolk, Virginia, was a tremendous success. There is no substitute for the exchange of ideas among colleagues, the opportunity to hear about projects, successes and challenges of others in the many areas and disciplines that comprise our maritime heritage. Hundreds of boat builders, scholars, archaeologists, professors, writers, artists and personnel from lighthouses, museums, historic ships, sail training ships, navy ships, historic reproduction projects and other maritime organizations came together. Dr. David Winkler, Naval Historical Foundation, organized hundreds of speakers and sessions into four days of an excellent, thought-provoking and informative program. Speakers’ Papers will be posted to the NMHS website as they become available. For a complete listing of papers presented, please see the official Conference Program.

Dr. Raymond Ashley was presented with the Maritime Heritage Conference Award of Distinction. As President/CEO of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, Dr. Ashley has grown a museum about historic ships, all aboard ships. The entire museum is afloat. He is building a reproduction of Juan Cabrillo’s San Salvador, the ship that stopped in San Diego on 28 September 1542 and stayed for 6 days. In his keynote presentation Dr. Ashley challenged us to look at the world we live in now as not inevitable and to understand how iconic ships help shape a significant message about our history that can influence the understanding and experience of our youth.

 Steve White accepted the Maritime Heritage Conference Award of Distinction for Mystic Seaport for the restoration and 38th voyage of the last wooden whaler, Charles W. Morgan. This is one of the great successes for our maritime heritage, and Mr. White’s enthusiasm for the project was contagious. He was also awarded the first Maritime Heritage Conference Leadership Award for spearheading this project.

 Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr, USCG, (Ret.), immediate past commandant of the Coast Guard, was presented the Maritime Heritage Conference Award of Distinction for his dedication to teaching the history of the Coast Guard and his leadership in building a National Coast Guard Museum. Admiral Papp spoke of why it is crucial to remember and record the stories of those serving in the Coast Guard and recounted great stories of everyday people serving with extraordinary courage.

Noted author and founder of the National Underwater & Marine Agency, Clive Cussler, regaled the maritime community with tales of his underwater expeditions with NUMA and the kinds of adventures that he and his crew experienced in searching for some of our great shipwrecks. No wonder his fictional protagonist, Dirk Pitt, leads such an exciting life. He was bombarded with questions and standing ovations, a testament to how evident it is that so many members of this community, knowledgeable about life at sea, are great fans.

Participants toured the Battleship Wisconsin, the Nauticus Museum, the Mariners’ Museum, and the many maritime attractions around Norfolk. Dr. Timothy Runyan, chairman of the conference organizer National Maritime Alliance, urged members to write their congressional representatives in support of the “Ships to be Recycled in the States” (STORIS) Act, which amends the National Maritime Heritage Act to secure funding for a National Maritime Heritage Act grant program. This grant program is critical to the maritime heritage community of over 1,000 small non-profit organizations in more than 40 states. A link to more information can be found on the on the NMHS website by clicking here.

 

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We Need Your Help! Urge Congress to Support Our Maritime Heritage

Support Our Maritime Heritage: Write to Congress for Maritime Heritage Grant Funding:
An Appeal from Dr. Timothy Runyan, National Maritime Alliance, and NMHS

NMHS requests your support of the “Ships to be Recycled in the States” (STORIS) Act, which amends the National Maritime Heritage Act to secure funding for a National Maritime Heritage Act grant program. This grant program is critical to the maritime heritage community of over 1,000 small non-profit organizations in more than 40 states.

From 2005 to present, in excess of $69 million has been earned and collected from the sale of excess government vessels to domestic ship recyclers.  As initially intended, 25%, or more than $17 million, was to go into the competitive grant program. However in 2010, the National Defense Authorization Act allowed the Maritime Administration (MARAD), which jointly manages the program with the National Park Service, to instead use the 25% exclusively to preserve MARAD properties.

The maritime heritage community has sought restoration of the approximately $17 million collected through 2014. This year, MARAD agreed to share only $7 million in a multi-year grant program with the National Park Service. MARAD has not sought input from the Maritime Heritage community stakeholders on the agency program, and to date, has not apparently expended any of the funds. Instead, the money has languished at MARAD while US maritime heritage organizations struggle for funding.

The STORIS Act Section 5 (c) restores funding, as originally intended by Congress, for the nation’s maritime heritage organizations—historic naval ships, lighthouses, maritime museums, sail training, education and preservation organizations.  Senator Begich is the author of the STORIS Act and he is working with the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee to include it in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. Please support Senator Begich’s bill, seconded by Sen. Blumenthal (CT) and Rep. Courtney (CT). It will provide significantly more funding for us and other maritime organizations around the country.

Bills are being marked up on Capitol Hill; we must write now to members on the committees that will be involved in this bill. There are 4 committees—2 House, 2 Senate. You can find the members of each committee here.  For a draft letter to send to members of your committee, click here . Copy the text and paste it to your own word processing program. Fill it out with your information. Email the letter to the committee members from your home state. You can write to all senators through their Senate web site—you must be a member of the district to submit a letter to a congressman via their web site, unless you have an email address to send to. You will need to copy and paste in your letter.  We also suggest sending a hard copy of your letter by snail mail.

Thank you for stepping up and your willingness to help. We must contact these members of the House and Senate now if we are to succeed. Millions in grant funding for the maritime heritage community is at stake. Please make these contacts!

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Join Charles W. Morgan Historian Matthew Stackpole and Stay for the NMHS Holiday Potluck

Join the National Maritime Historical Society for
World’s Last Whaleship, Restored, Sails Again”
with Charles W. Morgan Historian Matthew Stackpole
Followed by the Annual NMHS Holiday Potluck 

Credit Mystic Seaport -The CHARLES W. MORGAN sailing to Newport on her 38th Voyage on June 15, 2014

Photo Credit: Mystic Seaport . The CHARLES W. MORGAN sailing to Newport on her 38th Voyage on June 15, 2014

Saturday, 6 December 2014
Coffee is at 10:30
am. Presentation begins at 11:00 am.
Holiday Potluck to Immediately Follow Presentation
Cortlandt Yacht Club, 238 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY 10548
Sign Up Now!

Over an 80-year career, the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan sailed on 37 voyages to remote corners of the globe. In May of 2014, following a five-year, multi-million-dollar restoration, the ship set out on her 38th voyage—perhaps her most important—to raise awareness of America’s maritime heritage and to call attention to issues of ocean sustainability and conservation. It was the first time the National Historic Landmark had left Mystic Seaport since her arrival in 1941.  Get a sneak peak at the restoration work Matthew Stackpole will discuss in Mystic’s Restored to Greatness, Set to Sail: Whaleship Charles W. Morgan at Mystic Seaport.

The Charles W. Morgan departed Mystic Seaport on 17 May and visited New London, CT; Newport, RI; Vineyard Haven, M; New Bedford, MA; the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Boston; and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy as part of the centennial celebration of the opening of the Cape Cod Canal. The Morgan is now docked back at Chubb’s Wharf in Mystic and has resumed her role as an exhibit and the flagship of Mystic Seaport.

Credit Mystic Seaport - The Charles W. Morgan arriving in Mystic, Conn., November 1941

Credit Mystic Seaport – The Charles W. Morgan arriving in Mystic, Conn., November 1941

Sailing the 1841 whaleship was a maritime event not seen since the 1920s. Due to her status as a National Historic Landmark, the ship proceeded to each scheduled port on a one-day sail so that she could be safely berthed in the next harbor by nightfall. As weather conditions were a determining factor in the decision to head to sea each day, each port transit was scheduled with a three-day window of opportunity with the intention that the ship would sail on the first acceptable day. Once in port, the Morgan was open to the public on select days. Additionally, the ship was accompanied by a dockside exhibition that included historic interpretation, live demonstrations, music, waterfront activities, and Spouter, a life-sized inflatable model of a sperm whale.

CREDIT: Mark Alan Lovewell

CREDIT: Mark Alan Lovewell

Matthew Stackpole, a native of Nantucket, spent much of his childhood at Mystic Seaport, where his father was curator from 1953 to 1966. He sailed for five summers on the square topsail schooner Shenandoah, owned and chartered the Concordia schooner Mya with his wife Martha, and settled on Martha’s Vineyard. He taught American history at the Dana Hall School and served as a founding member and past president of Sail Martha’s Vineyard, as the executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, and as an overseer for the USS Constitution Museum.  In February of 2008 he joined Mystic Seaport as a major gifts officer and historian for the Charles W. Morgan Restoration Project. Matthew is also the recipient of the NMHS Rodney Houghton Award for the Best Feature Article in Sea History magazine for his article titled Restoring an Icon: Preparing the Charles W. Morgan for her 38th Voyage in the spring 2011 issue. It is no exaggeration to say that Matthew Stackpole, who grew up reading Sea History magazine, has been “living history” all his life, and he looks forward to sharing his many fascinating stories on Saturday, 6 December 2014 at the Cortlandt Yacht Club.

Holiday Potluck 3

The Public is invited. Please contact the National Maritime Historical Society at 914-737-7878, ext. 0 or Email NMHS@SeaHistory.org if you plan to attend. A $5 donation is appreciated.   Stay along for the Holiday Potluck.  Bring your favorite dish, drink, or dessert and join in the fun!

 

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Liemba Documentary with Filmmaker John Billingsley

On Saturday, 15 November 2014
The National Maritime Historical Society was Honored to Present:
Liemba: An Epic Voyage Down Lake Tanganyika Aboard Africa’s Oldest Steamship
with Documentary Filmmaker John Billingsley

Liemba dvd cover

Credit: Liemba: A Documentary Film

On Saturday, 15 November producer and director John Billingsley presented his 2011 documentary film Liemba. The film tells the story of an epic voyage aboard Liemba, the world’s last surviving steamship and one that still serves the communities of Lake Tanganyika in central Africa.

Loading ammunition into guns on the deck of the ship during WWI

Loading ammunition into guns on the deck of the ship during WWI

Built in 1913 in Germany and originally named the Graf von Götzen, the armed transport ship controlled the lake for the German Empire during World War I. As the Germans retreated, the ship was scuttled. Raised by the British Navy in 1924 and re-named Liemba, she went back to work as a ferry serving the British protectorate of Tanganyika. Deep in what was once considered the darkest heart of Africa, on one of the world’s largest and most pristine lakes, the Liemba doggedly perseveres, ferrying passengers and cargo up and down the remote eastern shore. For the past century, the ship has served as the primary means of travel, and a critical avenue of commerce, for soldiers, traders, missionaries and migrants alike—the geographical link between east, central and southern Africa.

1950’s Postcard of the Liemba

1950’s Postcard of the Liemba

The Liemba has witnessed many sea-changes in Africa’s history, from the era of European colonialism, through African independence in the 1960s and up to today’s emerging global marketplace. This documentary film uses the story of the steamship to bring that history to life while also taking the audience on a present day journey on the oldest operational passenger ship in the world. To find out more about the film and view a trailer, visit the Indican Pictures website.

CREDIT: John Billingsley

CREDIT: John Billingsley

John Billingsley has extensive experience in audio, music, and film production. After studying audio engineering and production at the Institute for Audio Research, John worked for many years as a recording engineer in New York. He has engineering credits on albums in a wide range of musical genres from Philip Glass to Phish. John also has audio production credits on television programs that have aired on many major networks including MTV, VH1 and PBS. He received an MA in Media Studies from the New School University in 2002.  John has scored music and created sound design for several independent films, and produced documentaries, that have toured and won awards on the festival circuit. John presently resides with his wife and three children in the Green Mountains, where he works as a producer at Vermont Public Radio and Breadbox Productions.

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Lois McClure at the Newburgh Riverfront Marina this Thursday 14 August

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Canal Schooner
Lois McClure
Thursday August 14, 10am–5pm at the Newburgh Riverfront Marina
Admission Free

Lois McClure

CREDIT: Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

The schooner Lois McClure will be at the Newburgh Riverfront Marina this Thursday, 14 August from 10am-5pm.  Admission is free.  A full-scale replica of an 1862-class sailing canal boat, Lois McClure  is on tour this year commemorating the 200th anniversary of the final year of the War of 1812.

The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is using the opportunity to share the story of the military contest for Lake Champlain and Macdonough’s Victory on September 11, 1814. The battle helped determine the outcome of the war and the 2014 tour will visit communities along the Richelieu River, Lake Champlain and the Hudson River to New York City. In addition to concluding the War of 1812 trilogy, the 2014 program will carry information about environmental stewardship and the incredible historic canal system that is still operational today. An important aspect of interpretation will focus on the shipwrecks of the War of 1812.

For more information, visit the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Lois McClure page at http://www.lcmm.org/our_fleet/lois_mcclure.htm.

 

 

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Lafayette’s Hermione Voyage 2015

Credit: Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America

Credit: Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America

In 2015, a handcrafted replica of the Hermione,­ the 18th century frigate that brought the young Marquis de Lafayette with French troops back to General Washington, will set sail to the United States from Port des Barques, France—replicating a historic voyage that in 1780 changed the course in our quest for independence and re-affirming the historic relationship between the United States and France.

The transatlantic crossing is expected to take 27 days before landfall at Yorktown, Virginia, where the original Hermione took part in the blockade which led to the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and his army. It will then move up the coast accompanied by a traveling exhibition, close to Washington, DC, at Alexandria; to Philadelphia; New York; Greenport; Boston and then to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and home. Enthusiasts can track the Hermione’s itinerary and progress online at www.hermione2015.com.

Hermione Lafayette logoThe Friends of Lafayette-Hermione in America, a non-profit group, supports this exciting adventure—partnering alongside local heritage and nautical groups, students and teachers K-through-12, and many cultural organizations, museums and universities—with a full program of exciting educational, musical, culinary and special events scheduled at each port. To learn more, please visit www.hermione2015.com.

 

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Charles W. Morgan: The 38th Voyage

The 38th Voyage: Charles W. Morgan
May 17 – August 6, 2014

Charles W. Morgan's 38th Voyage.  CREDIT: Mystic Seaport

Charles W. Morgan’s 38th Voyage. CREDIT: Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport has announced that Charles W. Morgan completed her 38th voyage on 6 August, 2014. The ship has now resumed her role as an exhibit and the flagship of Mystic Seaport.  For more information on her voyage, please visit the Mystic Seaport website.

Over an 80-year career, the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan sailed on 37 voyages to remote corners of the globe. In May of 2014, following a five-year, multi-million dollar restoration, the ship set out on her 38th Voyage — perhaps her most important — to raise awareness of America’s maritime heritage and to call attention to issues of ocean sustainability and conservation. It was the first time the National Historic Landmark had left Mystic Seaport since her arrival in 1941.

The Charles W. Morgan Sails on Block Island Sound 6-15-14.  CREDIT: Mystic Seaport

The Charles W. Morgan Sails on Block Island Sound 6-15-14. CREDIT: Mystic Seaport

With Captain Richard “Kip” Files at the helm, the Morgan departed Mystic Seaport on May 17 and visited New London, CT, Newport, RI, Vineyard Haven, MA, New Bedford, MA, the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boston, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy as part of the centennial celebration of the opening of the Cape Cod Canal.

During her three day sails to Stellwagen Bank with NOAA, the public was able to follow the Morgan’s visit to the sanctuary on OceansLIVE.  The live broadcast offered interviews and commentary with historians, scientists, authors, and artists discussing the shift from whaling to watching in New England.

Sailing the 1841 whaleship was a maritime event not seen since the 1920s. Due to her status as a National Historic Landmark, the ship proceeded to each scheduled port on a one-day sail so that she could be safely berthed in the next harbor by nightfall. As weather conditions were a determining factor in the decision to head to sea each day, each port transit was scheduled with a three-day window of opportunity with the intention that the ship would sail on the first acceptable day.

Once in port, the Morgan was open to the public on select days. Additionally, the ship was accompanied by a dockside exhibition that included historic interpretation, live demonstrations, music, waterfront activities, and Spouter, a life-sized inflatable model of a sperm whale.

The Morgan completed her historic 38th Voyage on August 6. The ship is docked at Chubb’s Wharf and has resumed her role as an exhibit and the flagship of Mystic Seaport.

 

 

 

 

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