The More Things Change

Posted: August 7, 2018 4:54 pm


So much has changed here at the Erie Maritime Museum in the last few months that I’m not sure where to start. Our first ever Tall Ship Summer Camp is winding down (only one full week left! How is it August already?) and the schooner Lettie G. Howard is making the most of her first season in Erie; not only has she been sailing with the summer camp kids and offering day sails out of Erie since June, she’s also been keeping Niagara company at ports and festivals across Lake Erie. She returned late last night from a weekend jaunt to Port Colborne, where she and Niagara joined in the Canal Days festivities.¬†Just a few weeks before that,¬†Niagara¬†collaborated with the Girl Scouts for the first time to offer a two-week¬†Destination trip on board. Twenty Girl Scouts from all across the country joined the ship’s crew as we sailed from Cleveland to Sandusky to Erie.

Back in the noise and sawdust of the woodshop, Cutter I is getting more boat-like by the day. She’s spent¬†years as a bare hull, so it’s strange but wonderful to see her growing new pieces and parts, day by day–soleboards, inwales, stern knees, thwart risers, gunwale caps. Today Team Carpentry is patterning thwarts and adding some reinforcement to the sheer strakes. (Less than a year ago, I’d have said that most of those words sounded fake. Gunwale caps? Sheer strakes? For me, working on Cutter I has been a slapdash but incredible introduction to the world of small boats.) On a more domestic note, the main entrance to spar alley is looking gorgeous with its new paint and cabinetry, thanks to heroic volunteering from Bill, Chuck, and Gayle.

What else is new?¬†The construction on East Front Street, just next door to the museum, has added plenty of excitement to our days. We’re still as thrilled about towering cranes, multi-story drills, backhoes, and dump trucks as we were at age nine, and it’s a privilege to see Erie’s waterfront transforming right in front of us. If you’re stopping by the museum and wondering where to park amid the orange signs and equipment, just head down to Holland Street, where you’ll find lots of on-street and off-street parking.

But the more things change. . .you know how it goes. Our resident flock of geese is still thriving.¬†There are plenty of familiar faces around the museum, both volunteer and professional. (Keep an ear to the ground for work parties on Lettie; email for the latest schedule and information.) Mariner’s Ball was a huge success, as always, with a dazzling fireworks show and more than six hundred attendees–the most of any Mariner’s Ball to date, and all of them dressed to the nines in tuxedos and gowns. We’re still honoring Taco Tuesday, the rig shop still smells like pine tar, and Captain Goldman still has a sharp word for anyone who whistles while¬†underway.

Taken all together, though, it’s been a pretty eventful summer. And it continues.