Tag Archives: Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

C.L. Churchill Named ‘Tug of the Year’


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Churchill from lcmm 4 without railingThe C.L. Churchill, a 50 year old wooden tugboat, has been named Tug of the Year for the 2014 Waterford Tugboat Roundup.  The Roundup is an annual three-day event in Waterford, NY highlighting the area’s heritage of waterborne commerce.

The C.L. Churchill is the accompanying tug to the Lois McClure, a replica canal schooner of the type which operated on some of the canals of New York State and Lake Champlain in the 19th century. The Roundup bestows the honorary Tug of the Year title to a different tug each year, typically one that brings its own unique history to the event. Continue reading

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Whaling History Event


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Charles-W.-Morgan2-640x423Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) staff and volunteers have begun to build a whaleboat destined to go aboard Mystic Seaport’s newly restored whaleship Charles W. Morgan. On Sunday, July 21 at 1:30pm, LCMM will host a viewing of live streaming video from Mystic sharing the relaunch of America’s last wooden whaleship.

They will then invite visitors into LCMM’s boat shop to see the first steps in construction of the whaleboat, and measure themselves against a whale jawbone, ribs and vertebrae on loan from New Bedford Whaling Museum. Continue reading

Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History


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A new book, Lake George Shipwrecks and Sunken History, was published this spring by The History Press. Written by Joseph W. Zarzynski and Bob Benway, the book is a collection their columns previously published in the Lake George Mirror along with additional material. Zarzynski and Benway helped establish Bateaux Below, which works to preserve shipwreck sites in Lake George.

The depths of Lake George hold an incredible world of shipwrecks and lost history. Zarzynski and archeological diver Bob Benway present the most intriguing discoveries among more than two hundred known shipwreck sites. Entombed are remnants of Lake George’s important naval heritage, such as the 1758 Land Tortoise radeau, considered America’s oldest intact warship. Other wrecks include the steam yacht Ellide, and excursion boat Scioto, and the first Minne-Ha-Ha (including some new findings). Additional stories include an explanation behind the 1926 disappearance of two hunters, John J. Eden and L. D. Greene, of Middletown, and pieces on the lake’s logging history and marine railways.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Searching For MacDonough’s War of 1812 Shipyard


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The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has received a grant of $23,985 from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) to undertake an archeological survey to determine the precise location and established boundaries for MacDonough’s War of 1812 Shipyard in Vergennes, Vermont.

“We are proud to support projects like this that safeguard and preserve American battlefields,” said Jon Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. “These places are symbols of individual sacrifice and national heritage that we must protect so that this and future generations can understand the struggles that define us as a nation.”


This grant is one of25 National Park Service grants totaling $1.2 million to preserve and protect significant battle sites from all wars fought on American soil. Funded projects preserve battlefields from the Colonial­ Indian Wars through World War II and include site mapping (GPS/GIS data collection), archeological studies, National Register of Historic Places nominations, preservation and management plans.

Federal, state, local, and Tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions are eligible for National Park Service battlefield grants which are awarded annually. Since 1996 more than $12 million has been awarded by ABPP to help preserve significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil.

Additional information is online at www.nps.gov/history/hpslabpp. To find out more about how the National Park Service helps communities with historic preservation and recreation projects please visit www.nps.gov/communities.

Artist conception of MacDonough’s War of 1812 Lake Champlain Shipyard Workers by Kevin Crisman, LCMM Collection).

Champlain Maritime Museum Native American Encampment


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The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum will be hosting a Native American Encampment Weekend this weekend, June 25 & 26, that is expected to give visitors a Native American perspective on life – past, present, and future – in the Champlain Valley and across Vermont.

Members of the Elnu and Missisquoi Abenaki tribes, the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk and Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki Nation will gather will gather at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum for the annual celebration of the region’s Native American Heritage. Continue reading

Maritime Museum Has New Longboat, New Exhibit


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The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s (LCMM) 2011 season has already kicked off and features the newest Champlain Longboat, Maple. Student boat builders, faculty members from the Hannaford Career Center’s Diversified Occupations program, and LCMM boatbuilding staff recently launched the boat at Basin Harbor.

Also new this year is the exhibit “From the Page’s Edge: Water in Literature and Art” which reveals a wide array of personal connections between art, literature, and the natural world.

In this interdisciplinary exhibit, nineteen contemporary artists from New York City, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Jersey, Maryland, and upstate New York share some of the literary sources and life experiences that inspired them. Their artworks – in diverse media – range from representational to abstract. Their literary selections are as well-known as an African-American spiritual or an essay by Thoreau, and as private as personal poetry. Lake Champlain’s shipwrecks inspired the poetry of UVM Professor Daniel Lusk and a painting by Vergennes artist Eloise Beil.

Exhibit curator Virginia Creighton, a New York City artist with family connections in Ripton, Vermont, recalls childhood adventures in a flooded yard: “My sister and I were tomboys. We went out the side door . . . straight to the flooded low ground next to the garage. . . to wade in amongst the growing stalks of rhubarb.” Creighton’s painting “Kid’s House” was her response to that memory and the poem “in Just” by e. e. cummings, which evokes a youthful spring “when the world was mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful.”

From the Page’s Edge will be on view at LCMM through June 26. A color catalog of the exhibition will be available at LCMM and online.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, located at 4472 Basin Harbor Road, seven miles west of Vergennes, is open daily. A world-class nautical archaeological research center with a lakeside campus of eighteen buildings, LCMM operates a fleet of full-sized and operational replica vessels, with a staff including educators, boat builders and curators. The museum’s team of nautical archaeologists has explored the lake’s 300+ historic shipwrecks, transforming their discoveries into hands-on exhibits, films, and programs.

LCMM brings the past of Lake Champlain to the public through special events, exhibits, courses and workshops, summer camps, and traveling replica vessels that encourage historical perspective and cultural connections between communities. More information about new exhibits, special events, and on-water programs, and the itinerary for schooner Lois McClure can be found on the Maritime Museum website.

Photo: Champlain Longboat Maple ready for launch day.

Champlain Maritime Museum Announces Changes


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The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) is undergoing its first change in leadership in the 26 years since it was founded. Art Cohn and LCMM’s Board of Directors have just unveiled their transition plan for the next years of leadership for LCMM.

This fall, Art Cohn, co-founder and executive director, will take on the new role of Senior Advisor and Special Projects Director, while Erick Tichonuk and Adam Kane, both longtime members of the museum staff, will ascend to the position of Co-Executive Directors.

Tichonuk will have primary responsibility for the fleet, museum programs and operations, while Kane will be Archaeological Director of LCMM’s Maritime Research Institute. They will work in tandem on the overall leadership of LCMM.

In a letter sent to community leaders, museum members and supporters, Cohn explained “Several years ago I began to ponder the prospect of transition, and I came to believe that passing leadership of the museum to the next generation was perhaps the most important responsibility I would have. Over the years, I have focused very hard on identifying and recruiting the best and brightest to the museum with the hope and expectation that the next generation of leaders would be among them. I am pleased to report that they were.”

Sandy Jacobs, LCMM Board Chair from 2006 to 2009, and Darcey Hale, incoming Board Chair who took office on May 1, elaborated: “The museum is what it is today because of the vision that Art Cohn and Bob Beach had 26 years ago, Art’s skillful leadership, his devotion to every aspect of the institution and, most of all, his passion for everything that relates to Lake Champlain. As many of you have so aptly stated, ‘Art is the Maritime Museum.’ Adam Kane and Erick Tichonuk have worked closely with Art for many years, helping to shape the values and the culture of the museum, and they have been thoughtful and thorough in their proposal for carrying forward the Museum’s mission and vision. We are confident that under their leadership the museum will continue to grow and to flourish.” “Two more talented, dedicated and thoughtful people you could not find,” Cohn declared, “I am so pleased for them and for the museum family.”

The announcement comes as the Maritime Museum prepares to launch into a typically busy “open” season. Kane is deploying teams of LCMM nautical archaeologists to fieldwork and consultations in Onondaga Lake and Lake George as well as Lake Champlain, while Tichonuk directs the installation of the museum’s new exhibits, readies the Philadelphia II and Lois McClure for the new season, and works with waterfront communities around the lake in anticipation of the schooner’s “Farm and Forest” tour this summer. In the months ahead, LCMM’s Board and leadership staff will also be engaged in a strategic planning process that will chart LCMM’s future course. “This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to reach out and celebrate the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum – past, present and future,” Hale exclaims. “We are sincerely grateful to all of the many people who over the years have demonstrated their support, interest, and belief that LCMM plays a vital role in the history and well being of our region and far beyond.” Cohn concurs: “We have just celebrated LCMM’s twenty-fifth anniversary year, and this positive transition plan provides assurance that the museum will build upon its accomplishments and be even more productive in the years to come.”

Photo: LCMM Co-founder and Executive Director Art Cohn (center) with Erick Tichonuk (left) and Adam Kane, who will become Co-Executive Directors of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in the fall.

Rare Maps of the American Revolution in the North


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The 1776-1777 Northern Campaigns of the American War for Independence and Their Sequel: Contemporary Maps of Mainly German Origin by Thomas M. Barker and Paul R. Huey is the first, full-scale, presentation in atlas form of the two, abortive British-German invasions of New York – events crucial to understanding the rebel American victory in the War for Independence. The book includes 240 pages with 32 full-color illustrations.

The bulk of the maps are from the German archives. The material has previously been little used by researchers in the United States due to linguistic and handwriting barriers. The volume includes transcriptions, translations, and detailed textual analysis of the naval and land operations of 1776 and 1777. It is written from a novel military-historical perspective, namely, British, German, loyalist, French Canadian, and First American.

The attack of Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery on Québec City, the colonial assailants’ repulse and withdrawal to the Province of New York and the Hudson River corridor, prior actions in the adjacent St. Lawrence-Richelieu river region of Canada, the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain, the forts at Crown Point and Ticonderoga, and the Battles of Bennington and Saratoga all receive detailed attention. The last section of the atlas deals with the less known, final phase of combat, in which the Britons, Germans, refugee tories, Québec militia, and Amerindians kept the insurgents off balance by mounting numerous small-scale expeditions into New York.

The significance of the publication is highlighted by Russell Bellico, author of Sails and Steam in the Mountains: A Maritime History of Lake George and Lake Champlain. He writes that Barker’s and Huey’s tome is “a superb work of scholarship based on exhaustive research on both sides of the Atlantic.” J. Winthrop Aldrich, New York State Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation, states that the maps “are of significant help now as we continue to build our understanding of what happened in our war for independence, and why. This rediscovered treasure and the illuminating commentary and notes superbly advance that understanding.”

Dr. Thomas M. Barker is emeritus professor of history, University of Albany, State University of New York at Albany. He is the author of numerous books about European military history, especially the Habsburg monarchy, Spain, World War II as well as ethnic minority issues. Dr. Paul R. Huey is a well-known New York State historical archeologist and also has many publications to his credit. He is particularly knowledgeable about the locations of old forts, battlefields, colonial and nineteenth-century buildings, and/or their buried vestiges. He works at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation Bureau of Historic Sites office on Peebles Island in Waterford, New York. The book is co-published with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Champlain Maritime Museum Storytelling Festival Sat


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Gather in the museum’s intimate theater or in an Adirondack-style lodge to experience lake history in song and story at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Storytelling Festival, Saturday October 16. Festival activities take place from noon to 5pm, rain or shine, at the museum’s scenic campus just west of Vergennes on the shore of Lake Champlain.

At noon, Russell Van Dervoort will share family stories from over a century of adventure operating tugboats on the Hudson River, Erie and Champlain Canals. Van Dervoort will also personalize autographed copies of his new book, Canal Canaries and Other Tough Old Birds, recently published by LCMM. At 1:30pm, the student actors of Burlington’s Very Merry Theater will lead theatrical activities, games, and present a performance of The Velveteen Rabbit.

Their presentation is a special occasion at “The Roost,” LCMM’s Adirondack-style lodge that served as a children’s theater for Camp Marbury in the 1920s. At 3:00pm, the traditional musicians of Atlantic Crossing team up with LCMM director Art Cohn to offer original songs and illustrated stories of life on Lake Champlain, interweaving narration, images and music to paint a picture of Lake Champlain and its people. Along the way, Art Cohn shares his personal adventures as a nautical archaeologist and his unique perspective on the lake. The show ends with a brief discussion of the current state of lake resources and the need for conservation.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is open daily from 10-5. Festival admission includes all performances, a day at the museum, a 20% discount at Red Mill Restaurant, and helps preserve Lake Champlain’s history and archaeology. Enjoy over a dozen exhibit buildings, antique boats in the new Hazelett Watercraft Center, and replica historic vessels at North Harbor. Find out more online at www.lcmm.org or call 802 475-2022.

NNY Museums, History Scaled Back Over Economy


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The Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake has announced that it will close it’s satellite retail store in Lake Placid on October 30th. The store, which opened in 2003, was an initial step in the museum’s long-range plan to reach out to communities in the Adirondack Park. Lake Placid was considered by museum officials to be the best place to begin.

“The subsequent and continuing economic downturn have forced a strategic re-thinking of the museum’s plans,” Adirodnack Museum spokesperson Katherine Moore told the press in a recent announcement. “At the present time it is no longer feasible to operate two retail operations and maintain a growing online sales presence.” The museum will concentrate its efforts and financial resources on the Blue Mountain Lake campus Moore told the press.

It’s the second set-back for the Adirondack Museum in Lake Placid. In June of 2008, the museum ended its plan to erect a building on Main Street to house a new branch of the museum and its existing store. That decision was made “very reluctantly” museum officials said, citing a strained economic situation.

Last year, Adirondack Museum Marketing Director Susan Dineen told WNBZ that they were feeling the effects of the recession. “Like many large nonprofit institutions, our endowment has seen a downturn,” she told Chris Morris, “It’s unavoidable.” Dineen said today that the museum has not yet instituted a museum-wide hiring freeze or any layoffs. However, three employees at the Lake Placid store have been notified that their positions will be eliminated.

The Adirondack Museum’s economic travails are part of wider trend for local historical organizations. First Fort Ticonderoga faced financial ruin after Deborah Mars, a Ticonderoga native married to the billionaire co-owner of the Mars candy company Forrest Mars Jr., bailed on her long-time support for the fort just before completion of a new $23 million Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center. The Mars paid for nearly all of the new building’s construction but left before it was finished leaving Fort Ti about two million dollars in debt.

Then there was the well-publicized New York State Historic Site closure debacle that threatened the John Brown Farm in Essex County and the Macomb Reservation State Park and Point Au Roche State Park, both in Clinton County.

The long-awaited preservation of Rogers Island in Fort Edward is on hold after preservation funds dried up in July. Earlier this month, Governor David Paterson vetoed a bill that would have funded the celebration of the 200th Anniversary of America’s Second War of Independence, the War of 1812.

The news about the Adirondack Museum’s retreat was not the only troubling local museum news this week. The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) abandoned its plan to occupy a 7,000 square foot former generating plant on the Burlington waterfront. The LCMM had planned an installation of the museum’s collection of historic shipwrecks.

“The City of Burlington has done an outstanding job putting together a sound plan for redeveloping the Moran site, but the Maritime Museum has significant concerns about our ability to raise sufficient funds to participate in the project and the long-term financial sustainability of a future Moran maritime museum site. We felt our continued participation in the project, given our funding concerns, was not helpful to the City in meeting their overall goal of redeveloping the Moran site,” Art Cohn, Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, announced.

Photo: The Adirondack Museum’s store on Main Street in Lake Placid. Photo courtesy Sarah and Marc Galvin, Owners of The Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid.

VT: British Raid on Addison County to be Recreated


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Addison County was “A nest of the greatest rebels in that part of the country,” when British forces led by Major Christopher Carleton invaded the area, determined to eliminate any possible supplies for rebel troops. Carleton’s 21 day expedition of 350 soldiers and 100 Indians, supported by naval vessels on the lake, proudly tallied up their success: crops destroyed, livestock slaughtered, barns and homesteads burned – nearly 100 structures and enough supplies to feed 12,000 men for four months. Continue reading

Champlain Maritime Museum Small Boat Fest


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A celebration of small-boating will be held at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Vermont on Saturday and Sunday, July 17th, and 18th. The event will include the Grand Opening of the new Hazelett Watercraft Center and the exhibit “Celebrating the Small Watercraft of Lake Champlain,” displays by contemporary boat builders, on-water boat trials, workshops, and illustrated talks. On Saturday there will be a Kids Duct Tape Regatta. On Sunday the Lake Champlain Challenge Race will be held during which participants with their own non-motorized boat, kayak, or canoe compete in a three-mile race from the museum’s North Harbor. Continue reading

Native Encampment at Champlain Maritime Museum


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There will be a Native American Encampment event on Saturday and Sunday, June 19-20, 2010, 10am-5pm daily at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 4472 Basin Harbor Rd, Vergennes, VT.

Dressed in clothing of earlier times, members of El-nu and Missisquoi Abenaki portray their ancestors and share traditional life skills, tools, clothing, personal adornments, and weapons used by Native Americans in the Champlain Valley through the centuries. Event includes traditional songs, cooking and camp skills, wampum readings, Native American weapons and armor, film showings and much more. Participating craftspeople combine archaeological evidence with personal expression to create beautiful and utilitarian objects. Continue reading

Champlain Maritime Launches New Boat, Season


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Months of planning and work in the boat shop at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum go public on Thursday May 20th with the launch of newly built 32’ rowing gig Harvest Moon. Seven students and three staff members from the Diversified Occupations Program at The Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury worked full time for five months this winter with museum staff and volunteers to build this magnificent boat. Harvest Moon will join LCMM’s fleet of ten other student-built rowing gigs serving over 500 youth in team rowing activities throughout the year. Continue reading

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Small Watercraft Fest


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“Messing About in Boats” the annual Small Watercraft Festival at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, August 8-9 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The festival is a celebration of clean, green, sustainable boating.

On Saturday morning at 11 a.m., explorers Samuel de Champlain and Henry Hudson will meet for the first time at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum – 400 years after their first exploration of the region! The life-sized puppet of Hudson is traveling from Albany, NY in the company of Carol Margolis of the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center (www.albany1609.com), while Champlain will arrive in the company of Rebecca Goldberg of Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library. The great explorers will greet the public and are happy to share stories of their historic travels and recent adventures. Young visitors will also enjoy hands-on activities with smaller puppets of Henry Hudson and friends. Continue reading

VPR Looks At Historic Lake Champlain Sinkings


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All last week Vermont Public Radio (VPR) has been running a series of reported entitled “History Under the Waves” looking at five historic wrecks that lie at the bottom of Lake Champlain. Over 300 shipwrecks lie at the bottom of Champlain, and VPR looked at what sent five of them to their fates, including a Revolutionary War gunboat, a lake schooner, two steamboats, and a sailing canal boat. The reports also feature a photo gallery.

Much of what is known about the extend of underwater remains of Champlain shipwrecks comes from surveys conducted by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM). The LCMM has been instrumental in conducting archeological surveys and persuading New York and Vermont to establish the Lake Champlain Historic Preserve System in order to provide access for divers to some of the Lake’s historic shipwrecks. You can find a list of manning of the Champlain Shipwrecks at the LCMM Shipwrecks site.