Sea History 109 - Winter 2004-2005

Page 6



California Maritime Museums Interpret the Seafaring Legacy ofthe Pacifi,c Coast


he maritime museum s, oceanograph ic and maritim e education centers, historic sites, ship building and resto ratio n centers, sail trammg and maritime studi es programs of Southern C alifornia offer not on ly an exemplary interpretation of the seafa rin g legacy of th e region but formidable programs that keep those skills alive. In September NMHS vis ited Southern Cali fornia and was impressed with the rich maritim e culture and talented peopl e co mmitted to perpetuating it. The trustees ofNMH S and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum hosted a recep ti on fo r members in the area to visit this impressive faci lity. Of note is th e display on the wreck of the stea mship Cuba that has visitors push buttons that light the co rrespo nding ship parts both on an intact model and on a diorama of the shipwreck scattered o n the ocean Aoor. The museum is ho used at an active marina with histo ric ships and boats available for harbor tours. Robert Schwe mmer, the Maritime Heritage Program Regional Coordinato r for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, gave a fascinating presentation on the shipwrecks in the Santa Barbara C hannel , most notably the Honda Point disaster of 1923 when seven US Navy destroye rs were wrecked in a fog, including the USS Chauncey (pictured below). Schwemmer has promised Sea H istory an article in the near future.


NOAAs Robert Schwemmer, who spoke on shipwrecks in the Santa Barbara Channel, emerges from the submersible D el ta. Ventura Coun ty Maritime Museum boasts a formidable art collecti on , in additio n to magnifi cent models, scrimshaw, and di splays of local maritim e hi story. Mark Bacin, executive director, has long been a good friend to the Society, and it was encouraging to see the great job he is doing with the museum . Of all the support we received for a Southern California guidebook of m aritime sites for teachers, Mark Bacin was most enthusias tic and will coll aborate with us on this proj ect. Nancy Hughes Richardson, a longtime NMHS advisor and active ASTA supporter, is now wo rking to get students aboard the brigantines

Exy Joh nson and Irving Jo hnson at the Los Angeles Maritim e Institute, and we are ho peful of return ing to visit this program . The Maritime Museum of San Di ego is thriving under the direction of Executive Directo r Raymond Ashley. 1he muse um is based around the 1898 steam ferry Berkeley and includes a growing collectio n of historic vessels: the 1863 Star ofIndia, the topsa il schooner Californian, th e 1904 steam yacht M edea, the 1914 pilot boat Pilot, and now the Briti sh frigate replica "HMS" Surp rise, recently arrived from her starring ro le in the movie Master and Commander. The Newport Harbor Nauti cal MuseL1111 , housed in a riverboat, features an active education program, sports fi shing simulato r, ship model gallery, ships of the Pacifi c Ocean exhibits, and most exciting, a fascinating coll ection of 58,000 classic photographs. Glenn Zagoren, Pres ident and CEO , is contributing some of the best examples to share with yo u in a future issue of Sea H istory. We thank Program Chairman Ronald O swald and Honorary Trustee Capt. Fred Hawkins for fin ancial support of this visit. Kudos to the maritime museums in Southern Cali fornia for the exemplary job they are doing. B u RCH ENAL GREEN

Executi ve Vice President

SEA HISTORY 109, WINTER 2004-2005