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NMHS Receives Grant from the Philadelphia Foundation for Ernestina Documentary Series

The National Maritime Historical Society is pleased to report that it has received a grant of $200,000 from the H.F. Lenfest Fund at the Philadelphia Foundation for its documentary series Sails Over Ice and Seas: The Life and Times of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey.  On behalf of our Vice Chairman/Film Producer Richardo Lopes and all the trustees of the National Maritime Historical Society, we thank Mr. and Mrs. Lenfest for this most generous gift which will allow us to complete production and initial editing of the series.  For a glimpse of the upcoming series, watch the trailer.

Credit: Susan S. Bank, Boston Globe

Ernestina-Morrissey is America’s story.  Now a National Historic Landmark, she joined thousands of her sister ships as she was launched from the shores of Essex, Massachusetts in 1894.  The documentary’s four one-hour episodes will each focus on a distinct era of her 124 year history – from her start as she fished and carried cargo out of Gloucester, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland (1894–1925); explored the Arctic regions with Captain Bob Bartlett (1926–1945); traversed the Atlantic as a Cape Verde Packet trader bringing immigrants and cargo to and from the shores of America (1948–1968); and advanced educational programming and sail training for people of all ages (1982–present).  In her wake, Ernestina-Morrissey has left a diverse and indelible mark on America’s history and her future, and we are grateful to the H.F. Lenfest Fund for making this documentary series possible!

Click here to see the trailer for Sails Over Ice and Seas: The Life and Times of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey.  For additional information, please contact us at nmhs@seahistory.org.

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NMHS Receives National Maritime Heritage Grant

We are thrilled to report that the National Maritime Historical Society has received a $50,000 matching grant from the Department of Interior, National Park Service (NPS) through the National Maritime Heritage (NMH) grant program for its maritime library and digital collections project.  Thirty-four grants totaling $2.6 million were awarded to deserving organizations across the country in collaboration with the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs). With these funds, organizations and agencies conduct education and preservation projects designed to preserve historic maritime resources and to increase public awareness and appreciation for the maritime heritage of the United States.  You can read the full NPS press release here.

As part of its Education-category project for which the Society will receive the maximum grant amount, we will assess, catalog, digitize and preserve our 8,000 volume maritime library, making it accessible to the public both online and in our physical location.  The project also includes assessing, cataloging, digitizing and preserving the Society’s extensive archives collection, including over 3,000 photographs, maps, charts, vessel plans, pamphlets, newspaper articles, works of art, ship models and fragments of maritime structures and objects.  Upon completion, the public will be able to visit the library to access its physical collections as well as to access the library and digital archives database online, ensuring that that the broadest audience of historians, researchers, teachers, students and the public at large will be able to utilize the organization’s treasure trove of maritime books, archives and artifacts.  We look forward to working with the National Park Service on this exciting project, and to sharing our progress with you all!

We also wish to congratulate all the recipients of this year’s round of awards and are excited about the preservation and education projects that will soon be underway across the country, including the Maritime Museum Association of San Diego’s Star of India, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Association’s USS Pampanito, Mystic Seaport’s L.A. Dunton, Project Liberty Ship’s SS John W. Brown, Destroyer Escort Historical Museum’s USS Slater, Seaport Museum’s Wavertree, and education projects by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, USS Constitution Museum, New Bedford Whaling Museum and so many more!  For a complete list of recipients and brief descriptions of their projects, go the Maritime Heritage Grant Program Recipients page.

For more information on the National Maritime Historical Society Maritime Library and Digital Collections project, please contact us at nmhs@seahistory.org. For questions regarding the NMH grant program, or to comment on this or any other proposed NMH grant project, please contact Kelly Spradley-Kurowski, National Maritime Heritage Program Manager, at (202) 354-2266.

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George Washington’s Birthday Celebration at Washington’s Headquarters, Newburgh 17-19 February 2018

Newburgh, New York – Revolutionary War reenactors in uniforms fire a cannon at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site as part of George Washington’s birthday celebration on Feb. 18, 2012.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation invites the public to Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site (84 Liberty St, Newburgh, NY) to celebrate George Washington’s Birthday.  The event will be held February 17th, 18th and 19th, from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm each day, and our own NMHS Seminar Series Steering Committee Member Dr. Raymond Phillips will be doing a historical presentation on Sunday!  For additional schedule details and information, call 845-562-1195 or visit the Facebook Event Page  and check out the Daily Program.  Admission for all three days is free, though donations are appreciated.

There will be music, military demonstrations, historical presentations, and a take-home craft every day. Join us in singing “Happy Birthday” to The General, eat a piece of his birthday cake and enjoy all that each day has to offer.  The General will be greeting visitors in the historic headquarters with balladeer Thad McGregor offering musical entertainment in the dining room. On the grounds, reenactors will be performing military drills culminating at the end of the day with a review of the troops by the General himself. Troops that will be present each day are: Saturday – the 5th New York Regiment, Sunday – 4th Connecticut Regiment and Lamb’s Artillery, and Monday the 5th Connecticut Regiment.

The museum building will host a craft for visitors of all ages, along with offering interesting historical presentations. One such talk on Saturday will be about Mount Gulian during the Revolutionary War, and another will touch upon enslavement in the Hudson Valley. On Sunday, learn about George Washington’s health while residing in this area. On Monday, a reenactor will share her insights into portraying Martha Washington for a contemporary audience.

For additional schedule details and information, call 845-562-1195 or visit the Facebook Event Page.  Admission for all three days is free, though donations are appreciated.  Sponsorship for this program is provided by the Friends of the State Historic Sites of the Hudson Highlands, Palisades Interstate Park Commission and the Palisades Parks Conservancy.

Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site is a registered national historic landmark. It is located at the corner of Liberty and Washington Streets within the city of Newburgh’s East End Historic District. The site is one of 35 historic sites within the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and is one of 28 facilities administered by the Palisades Inters Park Commission in New York and New Jersey. For further information contact: (845) 562-1195.  For more information about New York State Parks, please visit our website at www.parks.ny.gov.

 

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Crucial Victory on Lake Champlain – 11 September, 1814

Crucial Victory on Lake Champlain – 11 September, 1814
America’s Second War for Independence (1812 – 1815)

The War of 1812, also known as America’s Second War for Independence, was a contest to see if a free, republican form of government could survive.  Read about Commodore Thomas Macdonough’s Crucial Victory on Lake Champlain on this day in 1814.

 

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Time Running Out on Battleship Texas

photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife

Supporters of the battleship Texas warn that there isn’t much time left to save the ship, a veteran of two world wars. The hull is becoming more and more difficult to patch, due to the weakness of the steel surrounding the holes that develop; the Battleship Texas Foundation reports that 300,000 gallons of water a day are pumped out of the ship. The best course of action, the group says, is to dry berth the ship, creating a system around the vessel allowing restorers to control the amount of water surrounding the hull. The cost of such a project is estimated at $40 million.

The State of Texas owns the battleship, currently berthed in the Houston Ship Channel. The Battleship Texas Foundation is urging people to reach out to their representatives to ask for additional funding to save the ship.

Launched in 1912 and commissioned in 1914, Texas took part in President Woodrow Wilson’s intervention in Veracruz, Mexico. After the outbreak of World War I, she trained Naval Armed Guard gun crews. After an overhaul in 1917, she was sent to protect troop convoys in the North Sea. In the Second World War, she participated in the battle of Iwo Jima and the Normandy invasion. Today, she is the country’s only remaining World War I-era dreadnought battleship.

 

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TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®: Charleston – May 19-21, 2017

Charleston welcomes the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Atlantic Coast 2017 series for Tall Ships® Charleston 2017. This event will offer a fantastic opportunity for visitors to step aboard many beautiful tall ships from across the world.

As part of Tall Ships America’s TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Atlantic Coast 2017 Race Series and a feeder port for the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, Tall Ships® Charleston will host a fleet of international vessels, 19–22 May. Charleston will also be the start of a race to Bermuda, where the tall ships will join the Rendez-vouz fleet before racing north to Sail Boston® 2017, 17–22 June.

NMHS members and Sea History readers are invited to attend and meet sail trainers, ship operators, preservationists and supporters from across North America and the world.

For more information visit the Tall Ships America website.

The mission of Tall Ships America is to encourage character building through sail training, promote sail training to the North American public and support education under sail.

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The National Maritime Alliance Needs Your Help!

Photo: US Coast Guard

USCGC Storis (WMEC-38), decommissioned in 2007. Photo: US Coast Guard

Over one year ago, the National Maritime Alliance asked for our help to lobby for passage of the Ships to Be Recycled in the States (STORIS) Act, an attempt to reverse language in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act that had allowed the Maritime Administration to use all of the maritime heritage grant funds solely for its own maritime heritage. Many of you wrote to your legislators and the relevant committee members—and we thank you for that effort!

Unfortunately, the STORIS act stalled and was not passed. The good news is that new language has been proposed for the National Defense Authorization Act that would achieve much of what was hoped for with the STORIS Act: restoring the maritime heritage grant program and increasing funding. Focusing on key points, rather than the entire act, makes it easier to gain supporters in Congress.

We at NMHS and the National Maritime Alliance are asking for your help again, by emailing your congressional representative and senators, and members of the committees that will be voting on this legislation, by mid-June.

Members of the House Armed Services Committee
Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee
Members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee

We have a sample letter here; please complete and personalize the draft letter to the representative or senator’s staff member, and ask that it be shared with the representative or senator. If the staff member’s email is not provided, call the office of the representative or senator to ask for the names and email addresses of the appropriate staff members for committees on commerce and defense, or the legislative director. You can also contact the local office of a representative or senator and ask that your email be forwarded to appropriate staff in Washington, DC. If your representatives are not on these committees (you can write to both senators from your state), write anyway. The bills go to the full House and Senate.

The request asks for inclusion of Section 3508, Title 35, of the National Defense Authorization Act. Sec. 3508 is the main item we wanted in the STORIS Act. It restores the maritime heritage grant program and will increase funding.

Important: Please send a copy of your letter to Tim Runyan at runyant@ecu.edu. Having copies of your letters helps him lobby for this issue more effectively.

The 2015 National Maritime Heritage Grants awarded 34 grants in 19 states, totaling $2,580,197.37. Here is just a sampling of the programs who will benefit:

Amount Award Recipient Project
$50,000 National Maritime Historical Society Indexing, Digitizing, and Online Expansion of Sea History magazine
$200,000 Sound Experience Deck replacement for the National Historic Landmark vessel Adventuress of 1913
$100,088 Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild Restoration of boat deck and hull of the 1902 tug Jupiter
$144,569 North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Development of a large artifact conservation wet lab
$34,000 Seamens Church Institute Build a consortium of interconnected digital archives that trace, map and bring to life the history of maritime culture in New York City
$50,000 USS Constitution Museum “Renewing Old Ironsides,” a chronicle of USS Constitution restoration work, capturing the stories of the artisans and documenting the skills involved.
$178,670 Project Liberty Ship Preservation of the Superstructure of Liberty Ship John W. Brown
$52,900 San Francisco Maritime National Park Association Comprehensive structural survey of the steam ferryboat Eureka, a registered National Historic Landmark vessel

A link to the full list of grants can be found here. Imagine what we could achieve if we could free up more funds for the Maritime Heritage Grants!

 

 

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Success! Maritime Heritage Grant Program Restored

We’re happy to bring you this letter from Tim Runyan, chair of the National Maritime Alliance

Good News!

Language to amend the National Maritime Heritage Act was included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 (the Defense bill) that was favorably voted on today by the US House of Representatives (375 to 34). Members of the House and Senate reached agreement on the bill last week after a summer of tough negotiating. The Senate will consider it next week. Once passed, the president is expected to sign the bill.

The maritime heritage grant program will be restored. Funding for the program was diverted by an amendment to the National Maritime Heritage Act in 2010, initiated by the US Maritime Administration. Advocacy by the maritime heritage community and the support of members of Congress resulted in that agency’s commitment of $7M to the grant program over the past few years.

The new legislation mandates that 18.75% of all ship scrapping proceeds will be committed to the maritime heritage grant program (my goal was 25%, so we have some more work to do). The funds will be transferred to the Department of the Interior where the National Park Service will continue to administer the competitive grant program. The grants fund maritime heritage education and preservation projects.

Additional amendments to the Defense bill require greater transparency in the Maritime Administration’s ship scrapping operations, including timely reporting on the funds available, and the use of funds for the preservation and presentation to the public of the Maritime Administration’s maritime heritage property.

These changes are all beneficial to the maritime heritage grant program.

My thanks to all who have supported this effort.

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December Charles Point Council Seminar: Norseman Saga

Saturday, 3 December
‘Norseman Saga’ and HOLIDAY POT LUCK PARTY at Cortlandt Yacht Club
James L. Nelsondraken_harald_sm
By the latter part of the 8th Century, all of Europe was plunged into the Dark Ages, a violent and uncertain time. Then suddenly and seemingly without warning, a new menace swept onto the scene as Viking raiders from Denmark, Norway and Sweden began crossing the oceans to plunder England, Ireland and the Continent. These Norse invaders came first to pillage, and later to conquer and settle. In less than a hundred years after their depredations began, the Vikings had become a major military and political force throughout Europe.

Author James L. Nelson, who has previously written on such topics as piracy and the naval action of the American Revolution, turns his attention to his own ancestors, the Norsemen, and their raiding and later settling in Europe, and Ireland in particular. He will also discuss the technological advances and unique aspects of Norse ship design and building, and how those advances helped drive the Viking invasion. Nelson is currently working on a series of novels that chronicle the adventures of Viking Thorgrim Night Wolf and company in 9th Century Ireland.

James Nelson has written more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, all centered on the maritime world.  Book signing to follow.

Holiday Pot luck

Join us for our Holiday Pot Luck Party with James Nelson after the presentation.
Please bring a dish, drink or dessert that serves six to eight people.

Cortlandt Yacht Club
238 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY  10548

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Time Running Out for Historic Falls of Clyde

Falls_of_Clyde_prow

photo: Alexandre via Wikimedia Commons

The historic ship Falls of Clyde, long a fixture of the Honolulu waterfront, is awaiting a miracle. The ship, the world’s only surviving four-masted, full-rigged ship and the only surviving sailing oil tanker afloat, has been impounded by the Hawaii Department of Transportation Harbors Division. The ship has been berthed in Honolulu Harbor for the past seven years, but 2015 brought new urgency. The state announced plans to terminate the permit that allowed the Falls to be docked for free in its present location. Friends of the Falls of Clyde, the group that formed in 2008 to take ownership of the ship when the Bishop Museum announced that it would be unable to meet the daunting price tag of further maintenance and restoration work, stepped up its fundraising efforts, including initiating an Indiegogo campaign, which was unable to raise sufficient funds to get the ship into drydock that season.

This summer, the state gave the group the month of July to present a plan for getting the ship into drydock for restoration work; however, the plan was subsequently rejected, and the state revoked the dock permit, leading to the impound action, when access to the ship was closed off. A hearing followed on 25 August, when Friends of the Falls of Clyde appealed the state’s position and asked, again, to be allowed to work on the ship and resume fundraising efforts. The state’s decision is expected later this month.

We encourage all who are interested and want to lend their support to go to the website of the Friend of the Falls of Clyde, as well as its Facebook page, and the petition to save the ship. Learn more about her history here.

 

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