A Message from the Director...
As a result of an extensive and thoughtful process, the H. Lee White Maritime Museum and the Oswego Maritime Foundation consolidated in 2014. The resources and programs from the former OMF are now under the responsibility of the Maritime Museum. This includes, of course, our fleet of vessels such as the schooner Ontario, Derrick Boat 8, Eleanor D, and the National Historic Landmark WWII Tug LT-5. Understanding this responsibility, we have been assessing each vessels condition and are developing a distinct plan of action for each. Knowing this monumental task, we are providing the following information on each vessel:
LT-5 – Last year we began working on scraping, sealing, priming and painting the starboard side of the exterior. This year, under the direction of restoration expert led volunteerism, we plan to tackle much of the remaining exterior above the waterline. We created period accurate reproductions of the 50 caliber machine guns and have revamped the guided tour training and procedures to provide a better visitor experience. Most impressively, we have been refinished the mahogany doors and windows to the pilot house and captain’s cabin. Each year, as many of you know, Boy Scout Troop #888 spends an evening in May cleaning and freshening up the vessel for our mid-May season opening. This year was no exception, and we are thankful. We hope to institute an “adopt a room” program whereby each room will be kept throughout the season. We could use some dedicated good painters!
Derrick Boat 8 – We kicked off this year’s National Boating Safety Week with a great temporary exhibit of a model NYS Canal lock (courtesy of NYS Canal Corporation) during our Waterfront Open House held on May 21st. In 2014, Derrick Boat 8 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a 2013 grant lays out our long-term preservation plan for this vessel.
Schooner Ontario – Upon acquisition of the OMF’s assets, it was determined that the hull of the Schooner Ontario was experiencing corrosion issues that had plagued it for some time which is, of course, a great concern to us. We cannot allow further deterioration of the hull and have at this time decided not to launch the vessel into the water until a professional marine surveyor performs an inspection, and develops a plan of action on our behalf. We have identified several other key issues that are currently being addressed, such as electrolysis due to faulty wiring, mast repairs, and documentation and inspections for all rigging and sails as required by the United States Coast Guard – most of which is currently in the works. We would like to extend a special thanks to our pier neighbors Essroc, for storing the masts during the winter months these last 5 years and a long-term strategy is being developed for enhancing storage facilities on our own property.
Eleanor D – Don Feck will be returning to do some minor maintenance on the exterior of the vessel, and other minor painting projects to keep her looking sharp. The crews from Leudtke Engineering, who raised the Eleanor D out of the water in 2005, have returned to Oswego Harbor to perform dredging, and it’s great to see them again.
In other news, we continue to work closely with the four county National Marine Sanctuary Committee led by Phil Church, former chair of the OMF Submerged Cultural Resources Committee. The proposal will be submitted soon, and will raise awareness and research capabilities for our submerged cultural resources. Further, we have invested considerable grant resources into developing our collections management facility, repairing our roof, performing exterior renovations and constructing a new grand entrance to the Museum’s main facility.
We will continue to update you as we continue to make progress on these important developments, and we thank you for your continued support.
Mercedes Niess, Executive Director and the HLWMM Board of Trustees