Sea History 146 - Spring 2014

Page 10

NMHS: A CAUSE IN MOTION Join Us for the NMHS 2014 Annual Meeting in Erie, Pennsylvania


W e are delighted to announce that the National Maritime Historical Society is holding our A nnual M eeting in partnership w ith the North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH) and the Canadian Nautical Research Society (CNRS) on 15-17 May in Erie, Pennsylvania. Home of the Erie Maritime Museum and the US Brig Niagara, Erie holds a special place in the annals of history as the building site and homeport for the 1813 USS Niagara and USS Lawrence, flagships of Lt. Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie. I have visited the museum once before and have been scheming for a chance to return because there is so much to see and do. The museum vividly interprets the dram atic story of the War of 1812 o n the G reat Lakes, a pivotal theater in the conflict. During my previous visit, I got to hear C aptain Walter Rybka, the museum's administrator and Niagara's senior captain, recount the story of the Battle of Lake E rie and of Perry's daring victory achieved from the Niagara's quarterdeck . I do not exaggerate when I say that C aptain Rybka is an American treasure. H e has agreed to recount this story fo r you during our m eeting and, if you have that and nothing else, The Brig N iagara and the Erie Maritime Museum in Erie, Pennsylvania, are it is more than worth the trip. hosting this year's NMH SINASOH /CNRS annual meeting and conference. The E rie M aritime Museum tells the story of Erie's role in G reat Lakes history, fo cusing o n the dram atic evem s of 10 September 1813. Exhibits fea ture the histo ry of the US Navy's first iron steamer, USS Michigan/Wolverine, as well as Erie's three historic lighthouses and the US Life-Savi ng Service, the fishing industry, and historic ship models. Conference participants will also have a special opportunity to view the exhibi tion of The Lloyd M cCajfery Collection: Miniature Figureheads of the US Navy (as fea tured in Sea H istory, Summer 201 2), on display at the Erie M aritime M useum through June of this yea r. The No rth American Society for O cean ic History comprises A merica's top m aritime scholars, and the conference planners amicipate more than fift y presentations on the latest research in maritime history and projects in m aritime heritage. We will post the program and presenters on our website as we get closer to the date, so check back w ith www. this spring for updates on the conference.

(above) One of the more compelling exhibits at the museum is the "live-fire" display that dem onstrates the hazards of ship-to-ship battles, where more men were injured and killedfrom the splintering wood than were actually struck by cannonballs. The museum replicated the mid-section of USS Lawrence and then fired at itfrom the N iagara's carronades with 12- and 24-pound cannonballs, along with grape shot.


Tours: 1 h ere will be a behind-the-scenes tour of the Erie M aritime Museum on Thursday night, followed by a welcome reception at the museum . O n Friday afternoon C aptain Rybka will lead the sta ff aboard the brig Niagara in demonstrating the ship's equipment, rigging, and setting and striking sail. For those able and interes ted , you can even do an "up and over" to the fighting tops, aloft in the rig. W eather permitting, each day N iagara's crew will take som e fifteen people at a time out in the ship's boats, under both oar and sail.