The announcement came late Thursday in an e-mail message to supporters from Chip Reynolds, Director of the New Netherland Museum and Captain of the Replica Ship Half Moon. Reynolds cited ongoing financial hardships exacerbated by annual budget shortfalls, and an inability to find a permanent berth and site for programming. “Continued operation of the Half Moon in our current capacity is financially unsustainable,” Reynolds said.
The Half Moon arrived in Albany in 1999 with plans, and the support of then Governor George Pataki, to establish itself permanently on the Albany waterfront. Those plans never came to fruition; Reynolds says they were dropped after 9/11.
“We have pursued many options over the years, but none have come to fruition,” according to Reynolds. “While several concepts remain as possibilities, no person or entity in New York has so far been prepared to take ownership of the Half Moon and move forward with a larger plan.”
“It is in this context that Andrew Hendricks, MD, the founder and Chairman of the New Netherland Museum, invited representatives from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, The Netherlands, to visit the Half Moon and consider taking ownership of the vessel for permanent placement at their museum north of Amsterdam,” Reynolds told supporters
The Director of the Westfries Museum and an elected official from Hoorn toured the Half Moon their organization’s office in Albany last weekend and indicated “serious interest” Reynolds said, in taking ownership and moving the vessel to Hoorn. Municipal officials in Hoorn are expected to vote on the proposal at a meeting later this year.
Reynolds offered high praise for the organizations volunteers. “The resounding success… over the past fifteen years,” Reynolds wrote, “is due to the commitment of an incredible group of people who range from as far as Asia, through Europe, and the United States who have committed their time and talents to keeping this programming going.” The Half Moon will hold an end of the season gathering on October 25th.
The 85-foot Half Moon, boasting three masts, six sails with 2,757 square feet of canvas, six cannons and four anchors, is a replica of the Halve Maen, commissioned in March 1609 for the Dutch East India Company. Hudson, an Englishman, was searching for a passage to the Pacific, when he claimed the area for the Dutch, 10 years the landing at Plymouth Rock by the Pilgrims.
Photo above courtesy Wikimedia user.