Tall Ships Erie 2010

This just in: After six years of waiting, the State Archives research room will be closing for renovations on Monday, October 18, 2010. The last day of public access will be Saturday, October 16. We anticipate that the research room will reopen for public use on February 3, 2011.

Many thanks to guest blogger Linda Bolla for this week’s post. The photos are by Linda, John Baker, and Lance Barclay.

Taken from Niagara during the Parade of Sail

Tall Ships Erie (September 9 – 12, 2010) was a larger event than one can cover in a single blog posting, so I’ll focus on that part I know best, the educational programs offered on Friday and throughout the weekend.

Kevin Windsor tells some tall (ship) tales between gun drills

Friday, September 10, was the largest one-day educational undertaking in the history of Niagara and the Erie Maritime Museum. Organized by long-time volunteer and retired Erie educator Mary Jane Koenig and her committee, over 3,600 students were given a Tall Ships experience they’ll never forget. The fifty schools who participated came from all over the Western Pennsylvania counties, and included all types of institutions: public, private, charter, home school, and even cyber schools. All students went onboard at least two of the Tall Ships, and listened to dockside presentations on those they did not visit. Most teachers made a full day of it, touring the Museum, as well, to see sail handling and gun drill demonstrations done by Ship’s Company, Niagara’s Living History group. They could also take advantage of the Maritime Film Festival, featuring educational short films throughout the day, to get off their feet for a few minutes and regroup.

Captains of the Tall Ships, from l to r: Rachel Bohm (Unicorn), Hugo Bauer (Roald Amundsen), Robin Walbridge (Bounty),
Walter Rybka (Site Administrator and Senior Captain of Niagara) and Jan Miles (Pride of Baltimore II)

Later that day, almost 200 people attended the Flagship Niagara League’s annual commemoration of the Battle of Lake Erie, held on Presque Isle at the Perry Memorial Monument. The program included patriotic songs, performed by Lake Erie Sound Quartet, and remarks about the Battle by Erie Maritime Museum Site Administrator Walter Rybka. It was a most poignant moment in the service when several of the Tall Ships Captains placed a wreath honoring the men of both the American and British fleets on Misery Bay. Niagara spent the winter of 1813-14 at Misery Bay, and was later sunk there.

Sue Beates plays traditional tunes with the Good for Nuthin’ String Band

The Tall Ships Erie Festival included a number of local bands throughout the weekend, including traditional music by the Good For Nuthin’ String Band. PHMC employees might recognize Sue Beates, stepping out of a familiar role as Historian/Curator II at Drake Well Museum to play mandolin with the band. Many thanks to Sue and the band for contributing their time and talents.


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