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Maine Maritime Museum is Seeking New Chief Curator

Photo: Ted Kerwin

Photo: Ted Kerwin

Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine, is seeking a new chief curator, to succeed the current chief curator, who is retiring in April of next year. From the MMM website:

The Chief Curator will play a key role in the leadership team and help the museum continue to grow and excel. The Chief Curator leads a curatorial staff of two plus interns and volunteers, and provides the creative leadership and management of the museum’s historic object, library, and archival collections; changing and permanent exhibits; and publications program.

Interested parties can find the full job posting at the Maine Maritime Museum website.

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Special July Event: Launching the Andrea Doria Lifeboat

The Andrea Doria Lifeboat Launching—60 Years Later
Saturday, 30 July 2016
10:00 am–3:00 pm

Discovering, recovering, restoring and re-launching Andrea Doria’s Lifeboat #1, at the Maritime Academic Center, State University of New York Maritime College.


Photo courtesy Mark Koch

Mark Koch, a dive manager from the New Orleans area, has acquired the Andrea Doria’s Lifeboat #1 and had it restored to new quality. The 28-foot boat looks great—shiny, bright white, and totally renewed, except for a few of its historic dents and mystifying bullet holes. Yes, bullet holes. All of its mechanical components have been reconditioned and the human-powered cranks that drive the big brass propeller operate perfectly.

On July 30—60 years from the sinking—this restored lifeboat will be launched from the waterfront at the SUNY Maritime College. All willing participants are invited to paddle the lifeboat out into Long Island Sound for a short excursion (the boat holds about 50 people).

In addition, historians, divers, ship and boat preservationists LifeboatSMand others will discuss the Andrea Doria, her collision at sea with the Stockholm, and the significance of that collision to the merchant marine world. Discussions will focus on the repercussions of that accident, the evolution of lifeboat technology, and the effects of the sinking on the training of merchant mariners and on the evolution of SCUBA technology.

  • 10:00 am: Registration and coffee, tea and muffins
  • 10:00–11:30 am: Presentations
  • 11:30 am: Launch of the boat
  • 12:00 noon: Lunch ($8 per person at the cafeteria)
  • 1:00 pm: Presentations in the Luce Library (in the fort)
  • 2:30–3:00 pm: Tour of the Maritime Industry Museum (in the fort)
Photo courtesy Mark Koch

Photo courtesy Mark Koch

This event is free and open to the public.
Suggested Donation – $5 to $10.
Reservations required, 914 737-7878 x 0 or email

The event will take place at:
Maritime Academic Center, State University of New York Maritime College
6 Pennyfield Avenue
Bronx, NY  10465

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Unveiling of Griffiths Headstone Planned for 23 July

NMHS is proud to announce the planned unveiling of a headstone at the grave of legendary naval architect John W. Griffiths on Saturday, 23 July 2016. The ceremony will take place in Queens at the Linden Hill United Methodist Cemetery at 10:30 am.


John W. Griffiths (6 October 1809 – 30 March 1882) was a maverick of American shipbuilding, a naval architect, and the designer of steamships, war vessels and the record-setting Rainbow and Sea Witch clipper ships. In 1849, Sea Witch sailed from Hong Kong to New York in 74 days 14 hours, a record which has not yet been broken by a single-hull sailing vessel. Griffiths authored several books, while his innovations and patents left a lasting impression on ship design and construction.

Despite his reputation as a “naval architect genius,” Griffiths died in poverty, and was buried in an unmarked grave in Queens, NY.

SeaWitch copy

In 2012, the lack of a headstone was discovered when Matthew Carmel wanted to give a rubbing of Griffiths’ headstone to his friend, Melbourne Smith, Chairman of the National Maritime Historical Society Advisory Committee, since he knew that Smith gives credit for much of his historic ship design skills from studying the works of Griffiths.  To their surprise, there was no headstone and further research revealed there never was one.  The two men then began the efforts to give the marine and naval architect a proper headstone.  The new monument was designed by Melbourne Smith to honor this great American ship designer.

Steadily gathering momentum since the 25 October 2013 New York Post article “Grave Injustice for NY Ship Hero,” the John Willis Griffiths Gravesite Project seeks to honor this “maverick of American ship-building at a time when it was one of (New York) City’s most important industries.” The New York Post article sums it up: “New York, and the nation, owe Griffiths an appropriate headstone.”

GRIFFITHS HEADSTONE Master-1The National Maritime Historical Society is proud to celebrate the life of John Willis Griffiths and the public is invited to attend the ceremony to unveil his well-earned and long-awaited headstone.

Saturday, 23  July 2016 at 10:30 am
Linden Hill United Methodist Cemetery
323 Woodward Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385

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In the Pages of Sea History 154

Sea History 154 is in the mail and on the newsstands. Just look at what’s in this issue:

The 2016 National Maritime Awards Dinner
NMHS and the Naval Historical Foundation present the 2016 National Maritime Awards Dinner. Join us for our annual gala event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC!

ICMM in Hong Kong, the 2015 International Congress of Maritime Museums,
by Burchenal Green and Deirdre O’Regan
For the first time in its history, the ICMM held its biennial conference in Asia this past November, where attendees from institutions around the world, large and small, had a unique opportunity to network, debate, support, and encourage best practices for the maritime museum community.

Photo: Marion Kaplan

Photo: Marion Kaplan

So Old a Ship: Twilight of the Arab Dhow, by Marion Kaplan
In 1974, photojournalist Marion Kaplan embarked on an expedition to document the last generation of Arab dhows, sailing with the monsoon along ancient trading routes. Here, she shares glimpses of that journey, and of the way of life of the dhow captains and crews.
Find this article in Featured Articles from Sea History

Racing the Goldplaters—the Tradition Continues, by John C. North II
Summer visitors to Maryland’s Eastern Shore are treated to a spectacle of athleticism, tradition, history, and good fun at the annual Chesapeake Bay log canoe races. There is a history to the evolution of these remarkable vessels that have sailed and raced for more than 100 years.

Courtesy Cal Maritime Academy

Courtesy Cal Maritime Academy

We Know Ocean! Improving Ocean Literacy at Cal Maritime,
by Colin Dewey, Alexander Parker, Steven Runyon
Recognizing the critical link between the health of the oceans and the survival of our planet, California Maritime Academy is taking the lead in improving ocean literacy among our future professional master mariners and leaders shaping environmental and economic policy.

Historic Ships on a Lee Shore: Kit Jones is Waiting for You, by William C. Fleetwood Jr.

Kit Jones tumblr 1973

University of Mississippi

Leisure yacht of the rich and famous, wartime fireboat, and scientific research vessel—the 1939 Sparkman & Stephens designed Kit Jones has had a remarkable career. Currently, she sits abandoned in a Biloxi boatyard, awaiting her next reincarnation.

The Brothers Eldridge: Extraordinary Mariners in an Extraordinary Age,
by Vincent Miles
Nineteenth-century ship captains faced professional obsolescence with the transition from sail to steam, a new technology that required the skills of an engineer over the expertise of the sailing master. Three brothers from Cape Cod, however, prevailed, becoming elite ship masters of both.


This issue’s cover is  The Wait/Flying Cloud, by Marc Castelli.

Plus, you’ll find the regular features you look forward to in every issue:

Deck Log
NMHS: A Cause in Motion
Marine Art News
Sea History for Kids
Ship Notes, Seaport & Museum News
Maritime History on the Internet
Book Reviews

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Charles Point Council April Seminar: The New York Naval Militia

History and Missions of the New York Naval Militia
with Major General Robert L. Wolf, NYNM (Ret.)

Saturday, 30 April 2016
Hendrick Hudson Library – 25 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY 10548
Continental Breakfast is at 10:30 AM. Presentation is at 11:00 AM.

The New York Naval Militia (NYNM) was first created in 1889 and was formally mustered into state service as the First Battalion, Naval Reserve Artillery, on 23 June 1891. After the sinking of USS Maine, the NYNM sent five divisions of its 1st Battalion to fight in the Spanish-American War, and also conducted patrols of New York Harbor. The New York Naval Militia was activated during both World War I and World War II, as well as the Korean War. In this presentation, Major General Wolf, the immediate past commander of the New York Naval Militia, will talk about the history and missions of the unit.

Upon his retirement from the Regular United States Marine Corps on 1 December 1994, he was commissioned in the New York State Naval Militia, in February 2015.  The NYNM, a volunteer force of the organized militia of the United States, is authorized under Title 10, United States Code. Naval_Militia_Bugler_NGM-WebThe State Naval Militia must meet the standards set by the US secretary of the navy, by which 95% of the State Naval Militia must be Active Drilling Reservists and 5% may volunteer from the active duty retired ranks.  As a Lieutenant Colonel of Marines, he was the operations officer for 26 MEU (SOC) and mission coordinator during the initial invasion of Sarajevo.  A parachute and SCUBA-qualified marine, he was originally assigned as Special Missions, Special Operations Training Group (SOTG) II MEF before he was selected and assigned as an immediate relieved his predecessor. It was Bob Wolf who, in 1992, designed the rescue SOP which was later implemented to rescue US Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady (shot down behind Serbian lines) in June 1995, during the Bosnia conflict.

Major General Wolf is currently an associate director, Veterans and Military Affairs at State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College at Fort Schuyler.

The public is invited. Please contact the National Maritime Historical Society at 914 737-7878, ext. 0, or email if you plan to attend. A $5 to $10 donation is appreciated. If you would also like to join NMHS and the speaker for lunch following the presentation, it is $25 prepaid, with cash bar. Reservations required.

For more information on the complete lineup of seminars as it is finalized, please check back with the Charles Point Council page for ongoing updates.

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Nauticus to Purchase Schooner Virginia

The Norfolk City Council voted on Tuesday to approve a plan for the Nauticus Foundation to buy the schooner Virginia. Under the proposed plan, Virginia would be docked next to the battleship Wisconsin and used for educational programming.

CREDIT: Mark Krasnow Photography

CREDIT: Mark Krasnow Photography

Nauticus, an interactive science and technology center that explores the naval, economic, and nautical power of the sea, is run by the city of Norfolk and supported by the nonprofit Nauticus Foundation. It is home to the Battleship Wisconsin and the Hampton Roads Naval Museum. Using a $1 million state grant to cover the purchase of the schooner and seed a fund for future maintenance and repairs, Nautilus plans to use Virginia as part of Sail Nauticus, a program that gives underprivileged children around Hampton Roads access to the water.

The program teaches kids about character and teamwork, and builds science and math skills.

A reproduction of the last all sail vessel built for the Virginia Pilot Association, Virginia was built in Norfolk between 2002 and 2004, and sailed for the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation as an educational platform. She has sailed up and down the Atlantic coast, as well as to international destinations such as Trinidad, Bermuda, and Prince Edward Island. A reduction in state funding for the program made it increasingly difficult for the VMHF to meet operating costs, and the organization put the schooner up for sale last year.

Photo: Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation

Virginia and Pride of Baltimore II. Photo: Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation

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CBMM Announces Boat Auction

CBMM_OverstockBoatAuction_April28-May1The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) is holding its very first sealed-bid boat auction. Due to a large number of recent boat donations, up to 20 in-the-water boats—ranging in size and performance from cabin cruisers and sport fisherman to sailing yachts—will be auctioned off to each boat’s highest bidder. The boats will be available to preview at CBMM beginning on Thursday, April 28 and continuing during museum hours until all sealed bids are due at noon on Sunday, May 1.

A suggested value will be provided for each boat; sealed bids will be opened on Monday, May 2, with all successful bidders then notified of their purchases. Auctioned boats are sold as is, and must be removed from CBMM’s docks no later than 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 7. The museum will process all taxes and the transfer of title and registration for each successful bidder.

The spring overstock auction is in addition to CBMM’s annual Labor Day weekend live auction on Saturday, September 3, when more than 100 boats will be on land and in the water for the highest bidders to take home. Proceeds from both events benefit the children and adults served by the non-profit museum.

Through a generous grant from the Miles River Yacht Club Foundation, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will be addressing boater safety at the overstock sealed-bid auction by providing a 4-pack of life jackets with each boat auctioned off at the event.

Full details can be found here.

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Looking for an Organization to Take On Historic Ferry

TBinghamton 1he custodian of the ferryboat Binghamton is searching for someone to take possession of the vessel. One of six steam-powered screw-propeller, double-ended ferryboats built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock for the Hoboken Ferryboat Company in 1905, Binghamton served from 1905–1967 between Hoboken and Manhattan before being sold and converted into a restaurant in Edgewater, NJ, in 1975. The 500-ton steam boilers were removed and 640 tons of concrete were poured into the hull as ballast. She was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Damage from Hurricane Sandy has left Binghamton partially submerged, and her present condition is described as “poor.”

Only qualified interested parties that which can demonstrate the ability toBinghamton 2 undertake the removal and preservation will be considered.

The complete Public Notice can be found here; it will expire after 90 days, on June 29th, 2016. Interested parties must by that date enter into a written agreement for the removal of the vessel from the site for the purposes of preservation.

Interested parties should email to receive more information.

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South Street Receives $4.84 Million for Community Education Space

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) and the South Street Seaport Museum (SSSM) have announced $4.8 million in federal funds for the renovation of SSSM’s Water Street properties as an education and community space. The proposed allocation is made possible by a grant from LMDC, which is funded through Community Development Block Grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. These funds are being obtained through a $50 million legal settlement reached with Lend Lease Construction LMB Inc. (formerly Bovis Lend Lease LMB Inc.). LMDC formed a working group of state and city officials that conducted extensive reviews of the proposals, including site visits and interviews, and oversaw a public information session, during which dozens of community members presented and discussed various proposals.

Photo courtesy South Street Seaport Museum

Photo courtesy South Street Seaport Museum

“The South Street Seaport is where New York City began,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “These funds will be significant in ensuring the museum’s long-term vitality and ability to provide appropriate space for its extraordinary programming that documents that history.”

“We are thrilled that LMDC has once again moved to support the Seaport Museum,” said Captain Jonathan Boulware, the museum’s executive director. “This grant will support the renovation and activation of the Seaport Museum’s historic buildings in support of its education and community programs. Together with significant restorations of our ships, these new spaces will form the basis for outstanding programming.”

Notable recent achievements in the last year include revitalized education programming (with tripled attendance over last year), increased membership and public programs (more than doubled), installation of a new exhibit at 12 Fulton Street, and the reactivation of the 1893 schooner Lettie G. Howard as a sailing school vessel. In addition, the museum is nearing completion of a $13 million city-funded restoration of the 1885 ship Wavertree, which will return to the museum’s piers this summer.

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