What is ShiPosium?
ShiPosium brings together preservationists, mariners, and historians from across the country to discuss the challenges, opportunities, and realities of conserving or utilizing heritage ships for modern purposes.
The ShiPosium is held in tandem with SSHSA’s Annual Conference, attended by SSHSA members from all over the country. Attendees are invited to attend social gatherings, outings to local attractions, and special maritime-related tours, in addition to the ShiPosium.
NS Savannah: Baltimore, MD
The first ShiPosium was held in May 2012 aboard NS Savannah moored in Baltimore Harbor. It included case studies of Savannah, SS Badger, SS Delta Queen, SS United States, and USS Olympia. The keynote speaker was the Honorable Helen Delich Bentley, former U.S. Maritime Commissioner and 4-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Ms. Bentley is and always has been an ardent supporter of the U.S. Merchant Marine.
RMS Queen Mary: Long Beach, CA
ShiPosium II was held in Long Beach, California, aboard the historic RMS Queen Mary. Events included a ride on the historic Los Angeles Harbor tugboat Angels Gate, currently owned and operated by the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, a behind the scenes tour of the museum, a visit to SS Lane Victory Museum in San Pedro, and a visit to the home of Peter Knego, an avid collector of furnishings from scrapped passenger liners, whose home is completely furnished with these items. The keynote speaker was Mark B. Perry, Executive Producer of “SS United States: Lady in Waiting," a Primetime Emmy Award winner in 1993 for Picket Fences, and current writer and co-producer of ABC’s series Revenge.
After lunch, we gathered again for the "Below the Waterline" portion of our conference for tales of ships that fared not so well:
At the end of the day we met up once more for a special reception at the hotel to wind down. Day 1 of ShiPosium was a great success, and we were very much looking forward to Day 2 at the International Yacht Restoration School.
ShiPosium (Day 2) Tour of IYRS: The following morning, ShiPosium continued with a special tour of the International Yacht Restoration School, located just 1/2 mile from the Newport Harbor Hotel. SSHSAmembers were met by Loriana DeCrescenzo, Director of Philanthropy at IYRS, and were given a brief history of the school and examples of what students were working on. During the tour, guests were able to speak with IYRS students about their projects, and viewed other students’ works-in-progress.
Guests were then directed to IYRS’ library, located on the 4th floor of a restored 1831 Aquidneck Mill. The library contains more than 4,000 nautical titles, rare books, and source materials that give students a look into the maritime past—including logbooks, yacht registers, and yacht club directories. Additionally, the library houses several ship models, including one of the schooner, Coronet. Built in 1885, the Coronet iscurrently being restored at IYRS through the generosity of Dr. Robert McNeil of Coronet Restoration Partners.
Following the guests’ visit to the library, we were able to see theCoronet first-hand, and met with Dr. McNeil who spent time discussing restoration plans, the restoration work that has already been done, and answering questions about the Coronet. Guests took a closer look at the planking of the schooner, and Dr. McNeil showed them various artifacts that were removed from the vessel during the restoration process. SSHSA is grateful for the opportunity to visit IYRS and to speak with Dr. McNeil. We look forward to seeing the Coronetrestored to her former glory!
Rum Runner II: The cruise of Newport Harbor on board the classic motor yacht Rum Runner II was a weekend highlight. Rum Runner II was built in 1929 during the height of Prohibition. Originally built for two New Jersey mobsters to elude the Coast Guard, she now offers cruises past Newport mansions and former speakeasies that were fueled by seaborne smugglers back in the 1920s-1930s. Despite a little wind, the afternoon was bright and sunny and the perfect day for a boat ride. With complimentary drinks in hand, passengers relaxed onboard to enjoy the ride and tour of Newport Harbor.
Guests particularly enjoyed the stories of Newport history, such as the tale of Ida Lewis, a longtime keeper of the Lime Rock Lighthouse (now home to the Ida Lewis Yacht Club), and of Clingstone, a house built in 1905 that is perched on top of a small, rocky island in Newport Harbor. The Captain and crew of the Rum Runner II were friendly and knowledgeable of the Harbor’s rich history. All aboard thoroughly enjoyed their time on this motor yacht!
Awards Gala: The 2014 Awards Gala was held at the Atlantic Beach Club overlooking the ocean. The evening was full of activity and camaraderie. During the cocktail hour people perused over the silent auction, which consisted of donations from members and friends including an original print from maritime artist William Muller and original photo print from Martin Cox; and items donated by the Newport Preservation Society and SSHSA member James Berwind.
Herreshoff Marine Museum: On the final day of ShiPosium, guests were invited to visit the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, Rhode Island— about a half hour drive from Newport. The Museum has many significant boats on display, including the dinghy Nathanael; theDefiant, built for the successful defense of the America's Cup; Harold Vanderbilt's Trivia;Rhode Island's oldest boat,Sprite, (which Herreshoff claims to be the oldest existing private yacht in the U.S.); and Captain Nat's personal yachts, the 1887Clara and the 1925 Pleasure.
The Nathanael Greene Herreshoff Model Room holds Captain Nat's models used to create his designs, including his America's Cup defenders. This room was closed to the public, but SSHSA members were able to get a glimpse of the models through a glass window viewing area. Guests were also able to take a short walk to the building where the museum houses the Reliance Project, where a one-sixth scale museum-quality model of Reliance is being constructed. A special “thank you” to Harris Gruber, the museum’s Volunteer Manager, and Sandy Lee, the Project Manager of the Reliance Project for their time showing our guests around and answering questions!
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