Classic workboats from the Puget Sound region gathered today at the Historic Ships Wharf in Seattle’s Lake Union Park for a show alongside the historic ships permanently berthed at the site. Visitors also got the first public views of the ongoing restoration work aboard Lightship No. 83, also called Swiftsure. The retired NOAA research ship John N. Cobb was also open to the public. The show was organized by Northwest Seaport and supported by Seattle-area maritime businesses and 4Culture, King County’s arts and heritage agency.
The Willapa Seaport Museum in Raymond, Wash., has announced the opening of a new exhibit on southwest Washington maritime history. On June 12, the museum dedicated an exhibit of the rebuilt wheelhouse of the F/V Vanshee. The exhibit honors the still-working boat, current Captain Pers Odegaard, and its long history. The museum itself is something like grandma’s attic; it’s no Smithsonian, but it’s packed with fun and interesting bric-a-brac. The museum also announced an expansion of its exhibit on the Coastal Artillery, a branch of the U.S. Army that defended Washington State in the days before aircraft.
The museum, located near South Bend, Wash., on the Willapa River is a prime example of a community museum which plays a pivotal role in keeping local memories alive and passing them to children and grandchildren. They also play an important role in bringing newcomers up to speed about their new neighborhood and attracting tourists to local businesses. I’ve also viewed them as unsung heroes of the travel and tourism industry. In some small towns, the local community museum is the best, and sometimes the only, attraction around. The museum is listed in the Fyddeye Guide to America’s Maritime History.
What’s your favorite community museum? (Comment below.)
Many of the specimens are suspended from the museum’s ceiling, while other parts of the exhibit include smaller specimens and hands-on learning stations. Large specimens include the largest aquatic reptile ever discovered, the 45-foot-long Tylosaurus. Other species include Megalodon, the largest of the sharks, and Archelon, a sea turtle whose shell was 17 feet in diameter.
The Harbor History Museum is collaborating with local marine and environmental organization Harbor WildWatch to create special exhibit programs for Savage Ancient Seas. K-12 schools are invited for special tours and hands-on workshops. Lectures, workshops, and youth programming are also available. Savage Ancient Seas is open through July 14, 2013 at the Harbor History Museum, 4121 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor, Wash. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
CWB’s new exhibit, which opens December 29, records the stories, preserves the small watercraft, and shares images of the “glory days” of recreational salmon fishing in the region. The story of the development of Puget Sound communities is told by exploring how people interact with the waterfront.
“Recreational salmon fishing in the early part of the last century was as much a cultural experience as a sport,” said Betsy Davis, CWB executive director. “Businesses, like boathouses, resorts, boats shops and tackle manufactures, that serviced western Washington’s love affair with salmon sportfishing drove local economies and buoyed entire communities.”
The boathouses and resorts phenomenon peaked in the late 1950s. At nearly 200 rental operations, anglers gathered not just to rent boats, but to swap lies, compare fishing rigs, and make friends. Fishing was a social experience. By the mid-1960s private boat ownership, declining fish runs, more stringent regulations and televised sporting events combined to forever change the spirit of recreational salmon fishing in Puget Sound.
The new exhibit includes historic photographs of many well-known Puget Sound resorts and boathouses, the stories of the people who ran and visited them, as well as actual boats that were used at some locations. Resort boats will be available for public rides on Seattle’s Lake Union, others will be on display or undergoing restorations in the CWB floating boat shop.
The exhibit was funded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Ivar’s Seafood Restaurants. CWB currently operates historic cabins at Cama Beach State Park. The exhibit is staged at the CWB Boathouse in Seattle and continues through the fall of 2013.
Source: Center for Wooden Boats