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Time Running Out on Battleship Texas

photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife

Supporters of the battleship Texas warn that there isn’t much time left to save the ship, a veteran of two world wars. The hull is becoming more and more difficult to patch, due to the weakness of the steel surrounding the holes that develop; the Battleship Texas Foundation reports that 300,000 gallons of water a day are pumped out of the ship. The best course of action, the group says, is to dry berth the ship, creating a system around the vessel allowing restorers to control the amount of water surrounding the hull. The cost of such a project is estimated at $40 million.

The State of Texas owns the battleship, currently berthed in the Houston Ship Channel. The Battleship Texas Foundation is urging people to reach out to their representatives to ask for additional funding to save the ship.

Launched in 1912 and commissioned in 1914, Texas took part in President Woodrow Wilson’s intervention in Veracruz, Mexico. After the outbreak of World War I, she trained Naval Armed Guard gun crews. After an overhaul in 1917, she was sent to protect troop convoys in the North Sea. In the Second World War, she participated in the battle of Iwo Jima and the Normandy invasion. Today, she is the country’s only remaining World War I-era dreadnought battleship.

 

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June and July Seminar Series: Bannerman’s Island

Wednesday, 21 June
Bannerman’s Island—Seminar with Thom Johnson
LOCATION: Chappaqua Library, 195 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua, NY
Refreshments: 6:30 PM
Presentation: 7:00 PM

Is Bannerman’s Island haunted? Please join us in welcoming historian and guide Thom Johnson as he presents and recounts the history of Bannerman’s Island, with its castle-like structure looming in the Hudson River.  Originally built to resemble a Scottish castle and to store military goods for the government, Thom shares the fascinating story of this mysterious island and its abandoned arsenal.

The public is invited to attend. Suggested Donation: $5 to $10.
E-mail or call 914-737-7878, ext. 0 to reserve your place.

Saturday, 22 July
Bannerman’s Island – Visit and Tour with Thom Johnson
LOCATION: Beacon Station, 8 Long Dock Road, Beacon, NY

Thom Johnson will  take us on an excursion!  Meet us at Beacon Train Station, or join fellow members on Metro North departing from Peekskill station for a narrated trip up the Hudson. From the dock at Beacon Station we’ll board the Estuary Steward for a ride to Bannerman’s Island followed by a walking tour. Boxed lunches will be served aboard on the trip back to Beacon station.
Price: $70 per person. Seating is very limited and early reservations are suggested.

E-mail or call 914-737-7878, ext. 0 to reserve your place.

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2017 NMHS Annual Awards Dinner – NYC

NATIONAL MARITIME HISTORICAL  SOCIETY ANNUAL AWARDS DINNER
THURSDAY, 26 OCTOBER  2017
NEW YORK YACHT CLUB, NYC

The National Maritime Historical Society is honored to recognize three most esteemed recipients at its gala 2017 Annual Awards Dinner.

 NMHS will present the NMHS Distinguished Service Award to Brian D’Isernia, American sailor, fisherman, shipbuilder, and maritime heritage preservationist, whose career spans nearly 50 years. Founder and owner of a four vessel commercial fishing enterprise out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, Mr. D’Isernia progressed from commercial fishing into vessel construction, opening the Eastern Shipbuilding Group of Panama City, Florida, in 1976. Today, Eastern’s history includes a portfolio of over 350 vessels. Mr. D’Isernia built a steel hull replica of Columbia, the historic 141’ Gloucester fishing schooner which had been built at the A. D. Story shipyard of Essex, Massachusetts, designed by William Starling Burgess. Brian D’Isernia discovered the original lines plan of the Columbia in the Essex Shipbuilding Museum in Massachusetts. He took the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of bringing a significant piece of maritime history back to life. 24th Commandant of the US Coast Guard, Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (Ret.), will present the award.

Captain Bert Rogers, Executive Director of Tall Ships America, will receive the NMHS Distinguished Service Award. He has served as bosun, rigger, mate, captain and educator aboard many sailing school vessels and traditional sailing ships. Between 1985 and 1993, he developed, directed, and served as captain for programs aboard  schooner Spirit of Massachusetts, sailing from Penobscot Bay to the north coast of South America conducting sail training and ocean education programs. Captain Rogers joined forces with Alix Thorne and became executive director of Ocean Classroom Foundation, which taught sail training aboard schooners Harvey Gamage, Spirit of Massachusetts and Westward. He is a major influence in the preservation of the skills to maintain and operate historic ships, and in the promotion of the public’s interest and appreciation of tall ships, and in supporting the continuing professional education and safety standards for those crewing today’s tall ships. His dedication is unwavering. Sea History editor Deirdre O’Regan will make the presentation.

NMHS overseer, Philip J. Webster, will receive the David A. O’Neil Sheet Anchor Award. Mr. Webster is the active founding chairman of the National Maritime Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., of which there have been seven successful dinners promoting the signifi cance of our maritime heritage in the nation’s capital. The dinners support our efforts to advocate for federal funding for the maritime heritage community and fl ourish as a result of Mr. Webster’s leadership, commitment and vision. As a trustee he served as a progressive Development Chairman. He has written for Sea History. Mr. Webster comes from a family of mariners; his great grandfather was a clipper ship captain; his grandfather was the author of the 1927 Old Sailing Ships of New England. He has been a dynamic trustee and overseer whose vision and talent have been of great benefit to the Society.

Richard T. du Moulin, award-winning yachtsman, will be Master of Ceremonies. The US Coast Guard Academy Cadet Chorale, directed by Dr. Robert Newton will provide the entertainment.

Dinner Chairman George W. Carmany III, previous recipient of the NMHS Distinguished Service Award, and Dinner Vice Chairman Christopher J. Culver, invite your sponsorship support for this event.

For more information on sponsorship or tickets, please contact:

Burchenal Green, President
burchenalgreen@seahistory.org
914-737-7878, ext. 223
or
Wendy Paggiotta, Vice President
vicepresident@seahistory.org
914-737-7878, ext. 235

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Congratulations to the 2017 National History Day State Winners

The National Maritime Historical Society is honored to award special prizes for excellence on a maritime topic at the 2017 National History Day state competitions.

National History Day (NHD) is a highly regarded year-long educational program for middle- and high-school students that involves them in a competition to prepare a history project on a designated theme, culminating in state and national competitions. Each year, more than half a million students, encouraged by thousands of teachers nationwide, participate in the NHD contest. Students choose historical topics related to a theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries—either individually or in groups.

2017 Winning Projects

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National Maritime Awards Dinner – VIEW PHOTOS

The National Maritime Historical Society (NMHS) and the Naval Historical Foundation (NHF) honored three distinguished individuals and organizations at their National Maritime Awards Dinner on Tuesday, 4 April 2017, at the elegant, historic and iconic Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

This illustrious event brought together those who love and serve the sea—leaders of the military sea services, merchant marine and maritime industry; maritime authors and artists; oceanographers, sea explorers and scientists; competitive yachtsmen; philanthropists and government officials who have supported America’s maritime heritage; industrial and pleasure boat designers and builders; cruise lines operators; aquaculturalists; maritime educators; and maritime educational institutions and museums.

Funds raised support the education initiatives of both organizations.

The maritime community gathered to honor Conservation Internaci_42483771tional, an American non-profit environmental organization, and its chairman and founder Peter Seligmann, on the occasion of its 30th anniversary. Conservation International has had a major impact on the health of the world’s oceans and shorelines. Conservation International is a founder of the Ocean Health Index and serves as the managing partner.  The NMHS Distinguished Service Award was presented by Thomas L. Friedman, the distinguished three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist.

The NMHS Distinguished Service Award was also given to the National Geographic Society for its extraordinary achievements in chronicling mankind’s relationship with the water and educating tens of millions of readers and viewers about our global maritime heritage. Since its first issue, National Geographic magazine has introduced generation after generation to maritime cultures around the globe and how they have contributed to our civilization. National Geographic  magazine is currently published in 38 editions in 33 languages in 75 countries, with a combined English and non-English circulation of 5.6 million copies per month.  Gary Knell, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society, accepted the award, which was presented by internationally-recognized underwater explorer Dr. Robert Ballard, discoverer of the wreck of the Titanic.

The Naval Historical Foundation Distinguished Service Award was presented to Dr. J. Phillip London, executive chairman and former CEO of CACI International for 23 jacklondoncaciphotoyears until 2007. Under Dr. London’s leadership, CACI has become a trendsetter in offering IT solutions and consulting services across markets throughout North America and Western Europe. Dr. London served 12 years as an officer during the Cold War, as a naval aviator and carrier pilot from 1959 to 1971, and in the US Naval Reserve until 1983. He has made extensive contributions to naval heritage projects and has served on many boards, including the Naval Historical Foundation, the United States Naval Institute and the Navy Memorial Foundation. The NHF Distinguished Service Award was presented to Dr. London by Admiral William J. Fallon, USN (Ret.), chairman of the Naval Historical Foundation.

 

                         

THANK YOU TO THE NATIONAL MARITIME AWARDS DINNER COMMITTEE:
CAPT Jim Noone, USN (Ret.) Dinner Co-Chair
Dr. Timothy J. Runyan, Dinner Co-Chair
Philip Webster, Founding Chair

Charles B. Anderson; Jonathan Boulware ; John Brady; Walter R. Brown; CAPT Patrick Burns, USN (Ret.); RADM Joseph F. Callo, USN (Ret.); Dr. William Cogar; CAPT Charles Creekman, USN (Ret.); Vice Admiral Dirk J. Debbink, USNR (Ret.); Donna Dudley; Dr. William Dudley; Paul Fontenoy; David S. Fowler; Burchenal Green; Kristen Greenaway; Karen Helmerson; Dana Hewson; Howard Hoege; Gary Jobson; Dr. Paul F. Johnston; Vice Admiral Al Konetzni, USN (Ret.); Denise Krepp; Amy Lent; Richardo Lopes; Guy E. C. Maitland; Ginger Martus; LCDR Jim Mathieu, USCG (Ret.); CAPT Sally Chin McElwreath, USN (Ret.); Drew McMullen; Captain James J. McNamara; RADM John Mitchell USN (Ret.); Captain Eric Nielsen; Ronald L. Oswald; Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (Ret.); The Honorable S. Jay Plager; Bert Rogers; Christopher Rowsom; Kristen Sarri; Clair Sassin; Richard Scarano; Philip Shapiro; Howard Slotnick; Duncan Smith III, Esq; Dr. Joshua Smith; Captain Cesare Sorio; Irmy Webster; Dr. David Winkler; Jean Wort

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Annual Meeting in Charleston, SC

The NMHS Annual Conference will take place 15–17 May, 2017 in Charleston, SC, in conjunction with the North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH) annual conference and the annual meeting of the Society for the History of Navy Medicine.

We will be joined by maritime historians, professors, underwater archaeologists, authors, captains, crew, students and leaders from the maritime heritage community. Enjoy three days of presentations, panels, scholarly papers, plus tours and receptions.

The conference will be hosted by the College of Charleston and will explore a wide range of maritime connections and cultural landscapes—and an interweaving of both—to examine the meaning and processes of our maritime heritage. The college is downtown, within easy walking distance of Marion Square and other historic sites (there also will be plenty of nearby parking available).

college-of-charleston

SCHEDULE
Monday, 15 May – Evening reception off-campus at Tommy Condon’s Irish Pub and Seafood Restaurant

Tuesday, 16 May – Enjoy an afternoon harbor cruise to see Fort Sumter and then join the fun in a “dine-around,” an opportunity to better get to know other conference attendees in smaller groups at local restaurants

Wednesday, 17 May – Private tour of the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley and conclude the three-day event with an evening banquet

CHECK BACK FOR UPDATES …. VIEW  PROGRAM

REGISTRATION
You can register for the full three days, or by the day.
Click here for the registration and sponsorship form.

Full Conference: $265 per person – includes all continental breakfasts & lunches, sessions, breaks, reception, banquet and field trips.  (If reserved prior to March 31, the cost was $245 per person)

Single Day:
Monday: $125 per person—includes continental breakfast & lunch, all lectures,
reception at Tommy Condon’s Restaurant.

Tuesday: $125 per person—includes continental breakfast & lunch, harbor cruise to Fort Sumter and all lectures.

Wednesday: $145 per person—includes continental breakfast & lunch, tour of H. L. Hunley and banquet.

Cancellation Policy: All cancellations must be in writing; email is acceptable. Substitutions are accepted at any time, but must also be requested in writing. Cancellations will be refunded up until 5:00 PM EST May 1, 2017 minus a $50 cancellation fee. After 1 May 2017 no refunds will be issued.

TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATIONS
Charleston International Airport is served by American, Delta, Jet Blue, Southwest, and United Airlines. There is a downtown shuttle service that costs $14 each way and leaves every fifteen minutes. A taxi to the Francis Marion hotel is about $30 each way. The driver may not charge extra for two passengers, but there is a $14 per passenger supplement for more than two people.

TWO HOTELS HAVE BEEN RESERVED

DAYS INN Charleston Historic District – ROOMS STILL AVAILABLE
NASOH also has a room block at the Days Inn Charleston Historic District, located at 155 Meeting Street. The conference rate is $135/night. Attendees must make their own room reservations by calling (843) 722-8411 by Friday, 21 April 2017; you must mention the group code C G N A S O to receive this rate.

**SOLD OUT**    FRANCIS MARION 
facadeNASOH has reserved a room block at the Francis Marion Hotel located at 387 King Street. The website is: http://www.francismarioncharleston.com.

The conference rate is $179/night for a single or double traditional room. Attendees must make their own room reservations by calling (877) 756-2121 by Friday, 31 March 2017; you must identify yourself as attending the NASOH conference to receive this rate. The Francis Marion hotel is on Marion Square, and is within easy walking distance of the College of Charleston.

charleston-sc

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TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®: Boston, 17–22 June 2017

Tall Ships America is collaborating with Sail Training International for a transatlantic Tall Ships Regatta* marking the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta will bring ships from European host ports to Boston on 17–22 June and then on to various ports in Canada and the Gulf of St. Lawrence before arriving in Quebec City in July. From Quebec City ,the ships will return to Europe in September 2017.

Tall Ships America is planning port events along the Atlantic Coast culminating in the Sail Boston® 2017event as part of their TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Atlantic Coast 2017 series. Check this webpage for the latest information on participating US ports it develops.

About Tall Ships America
Founded in 1973, Tall Ships America is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching youth education through character building and leadership programs aboard tall ships. It is the hub for tall ship activity, expertise, and information in North America, and is commended by the United States Congress as the Sail Training Organization representing the United States in the international forum.  Tall Ships America supports the people, ships and programs of sail training and tall ships through grants, scholarships, conferences, education, publications, regulatory and licensing information, public events and advocacy. The mission of Tall Ships America is to encourage character building through sail training, promote sail training to the North American public, and support education under sail.

For more information visit the Tall Ships America website.

 

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TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®: Charleston – May 19-21, 2017

Charleston welcomes the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Atlantic Coast 2017 series for Tall Ships® Charleston 2017. This event will offer a fantastic opportunity for visitors to step aboard many beautiful tall ships from across the world.

As part of Tall Ships America’s TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Atlantic Coast 2017 Race Series and a feeder port for the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, Tall Ships® Charleston will host a fleet of international vessels, 19–22 May. Charleston will also be the start of a race to Bermuda, where the tall ships will join the Rendez-vouz fleet before racing north to Sail Boston® 2017, 17–22 June.

NMHS members and Sea History readers are invited to attend and meet sail trainers, ship operators, preservationists and supporters from across North America and the world.

For more information visit the Tall Ships America website.

The mission of Tall Ships America is to encourage character building through sail training, promote sail training to the North American public and support education under sail.

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The National Maritime Alliance Needs Your Help!

Photo: US Coast Guard

USCGC Storis (WMEC-38), decommissioned in 2007. Photo: US Coast Guard

Over one year ago, the National Maritime Alliance asked for our help to lobby for passage of the Ships to Be Recycled in the States (STORIS) Act, an attempt to reverse language in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act that had allowed the Maritime Administration to use all of the maritime heritage grant funds solely for its own maritime heritage. Many of you wrote to your legislators and the relevant committee members—and we thank you for that effort!

Unfortunately, the STORIS act stalled and was not passed. The good news is that new language has been proposed for the National Defense Authorization Act that would achieve much of what was hoped for with the STORIS Act: restoring the maritime heritage grant program and increasing funding. Focusing on key points, rather than the entire act, makes it easier to gain supporters in Congress.

We at NMHS and the National Maritime Alliance are asking for your help again, by emailing your congressional representative and senators, and members of the committees that will be voting on this legislation, by mid-June.

Members of the House Armed Services Committee
Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee
Members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee

We have a sample letter here; please complete and personalize the draft letter to the representative or senator’s staff member, and ask that it be shared with the representative or senator. If the staff member’s email is not provided, call the office of the representative or senator to ask for the names and email addresses of the appropriate staff members for committees on commerce and defense, or the legislative director. You can also contact the local office of a representative or senator and ask that your email be forwarded to appropriate staff in Washington, DC. If your representatives are not on these committees (you can write to both senators from your state), write anyway. The bills go to the full House and Senate.

The request asks for inclusion of Section 3508, Title 35, of the National Defense Authorization Act. Sec. 3508 is the main item we wanted in the STORIS Act. It restores the maritime heritage grant program and will increase funding.

Important: Please send a copy of your letter to Tim Runyan at runyant@ecu.edu. Having copies of your letters helps him lobby for this issue more effectively.

The 2015 National Maritime Heritage Grants awarded 34 grants in 19 states, totaling $2,580,197.37. Here is just a sampling of the programs who will benefit:

Amount Award Recipient Project
$50,000 National Maritime Historical Society Indexing, Digitizing, and Online Expansion of Sea History magazine
$200,000 Sound Experience Deck replacement for the National Historic Landmark vessel Adventuress of 1913
$100,088 Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild Restoration of boat deck and hull of the 1902 tug Jupiter
$144,569 North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Development of a large artifact conservation wet lab
$34,000 Seamens Church Institute Build a consortium of interconnected digital archives that trace, map and bring to life the history of maritime culture in New York City
$50,000 USS Constitution Museum “Renewing Old Ironsides,” a chronicle of USS Constitution restoration work, capturing the stories of the artisans and documenting the skills involved.
$178,670 Project Liberty Ship Preservation of the Superstructure of Liberty Ship John W. Brown
$52,900 San Francisco Maritime National Park Association Comprehensive structural survey of the steam ferryboat Eureka, a registered National Historic Landmark vessel

A link to the full list of grants can be found here. Imagine what we could achieve if we could free up more funds for the Maritime Heritage Grants!

 

 

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Success! Maritime Heritage Grant Program Restored

We’re happy to bring you this letter from Tim Runyan, chair of the National Maritime Alliance

Good News!

Language to amend the National Maritime Heritage Act was included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 (the Defense bill) that was favorably voted on today by the US House of Representatives (375 to 34). Members of the House and Senate reached agreement on the bill last week after a summer of tough negotiating. The Senate will consider it next week. Once passed, the president is expected to sign the bill.

The maritime heritage grant program will be restored. Funding for the program was diverted by an amendment to the National Maritime Heritage Act in 2010, initiated by the US Maritime Administration. Advocacy by the maritime heritage community and the support of members of Congress resulted in that agency’s commitment of $7M to the grant program over the past few years.

The new legislation mandates that 18.75% of all ship scrapping proceeds will be committed to the maritime heritage grant program (my goal was 25%, so we have some more work to do). The funds will be transferred to the Department of the Interior where the National Park Service will continue to administer the competitive grant program. The grants fund maritime heritage education and preservation projects.

Additional amendments to the Defense bill require greater transparency in the Maritime Administration’s ship scrapping operations, including timely reporting on the funds available, and the use of funds for the preservation and presentation to the public of the Maritime Administration’s maritime heritage property.

These changes are all beneficial to the maritime heritage grant program.

My thanks to all who have supported this effort.

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