There is an exciting new jobs oriented program underway at the Museum. See the banner below. Thank you to all the sponsors of this important project. Best of luck to the first class of students!
There is an exciting new jobs oriented program underway at the Museum. See the banner below. Thank you to all the sponsors of this important project. Best of luck to the first class of students!
New public art signage doors for the museum, Urban BoatWorks, and our new Waterfront South Training Center Program which starts January 23rd with the Carpenters Union Pre-Apprenticeship Program. People drive by every day and never “see” us. Thanks to artist Danielle Cartier for our 4 year partnership making murals throughout our Waterfront South Arts & Cultural Association district funded by the Camden County Local Arts Partnership grant program. The Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum was another brainchild of the late Father Michael Doyle and the Heart of Camden's in 2006 to save the former Church of Our Savior. We will continue to honor his legacy as an anchor institution in the Waterfront South neighborhood.
Photo of Executive Director Jack O'Byrne and artist Danielle Cartier
Monsignor Michael Doyle, long time priest of the Sacred Heart Church in South Camden died on November 4th at his home in the Waterfront South neighborhood of Camden. Father Michael was major force for peace and justice in South Camden and the city. He was an inspirational priest, a dedicated peace activist and a tireless community organizer. He inspired many others to join him in revitalizing South Camden.
THE CAMDEN SHIPYARD MUSEUM WAS BORN ON A PEACE MARCH.
It was while marching across the Ben Franklin Bridge during a peace march protesting American involvement in the Iraq war that Father Doyle spoke about saving the abandoned Church of Our Saviour and turning it into a maritime museum. Meetings followed, volunteers were enlisted and the rest is history.
So Father Doyle, along with his great friend Joe Balzano, was one of the
founders of the museum. Indeed, without his vision, inspiration, and organizational support, the museum would not exist. Urban BoatWorks which shares space at the museum, also owes much to his support and encouragement. When first he came to visit the boat shop, he saw the children and their mentors building small row boats. He said:” I thought the museum would tell about Camden’s shipbuilding history, now I see it will be a story about the future”. His broad smile evidence of his great joy in seeing the children learning to make beautiful boats that they would launch on the waters.
CAMDEN AND THE DELAWARE RIVER
Father Doyle frequently spoke about nature and the Delaware River and the need for residents of South Camden to have access to the river. His exhortations eventually led to the establishment of beautiful Phoenix Park and a fishing pier on the banks of the river. His deep love of Camden, its riverine environment and his celebration of its inhabitants echoed that of Camden’s Walt Whitman, who wrote:
“Then the Camden ferry. What exhilaration, change, people, businesses, by day. What soothing, silent, wondrous hours, at night, crossing on a boat, most all to myself-pacing the deck, alone, forward, or aft. What communion with the waters, the air, the exquisite chiaroscuro -the sky, the stars, that speak no word, nothing to the intellect, yet so eloquent, so communicative to the soul”
A kindred spirit indeed. Rest in peace.
For a full obituary see: https://www.inquirer.com/obituaries/michael-doyle-obituary-sacred-heart-camden-20221104.html
CAMDEN SHIP TO BE PRESERVED?
Our museum just received an unusual email from a museum director in far away Port Vila, Vanuatu, a small island nation in the South Pacific. His name is Christian Cranois and he and some friends are trying to save what they say is the last WWII FS ship in original condition (US Army FP 313, then US Army FS 313, Camano Class, Design 381). The ship apparently saw action during the war: “Guam/Tinian invasion, Guadalcanal, New Guinea, and Okinawa until the last day of the war, 2 Battle Stars awarded”. She must have had an interesting subsequent history as well. What makes this story particularly fascinating is their claim that the ship was built in 1944 at the John Mathis Shipyard in Camden, N.J.. Their quest has led to the production of a film about the ship, now called the Betsy Ross. A link to the film is provided. Unfortunately for most of us, the film is in French, but the visuals are arresting. We are in touch with Mr. Cranois and his team and will provide updates on their progress.
It seems more and more people are sporting tattoos these days! Many are amazingly complex and beautiful; full or color and creativity. Have you ever wondered about the origins of this body art? Well, wonder no more. Come to the Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum and see our latest exhibit:
“Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor”
Opening Sunday, October 16, Noon to 3 PM
email: [email protected]
The amazing team from the Urban BoatWorks at our museum continue to help Camden youth to build beautiful boats and put these youngsters out on the waters of South Jersey. Looks like the Spring launch was a great success. What a great program.
Announcing a new children's book about Camden's Maritime History
Rufus the Cat and the Little Museum that Could is an imaginative children’s coloring book about Waterfront South and the transformation of the former Church of Our Saviour into a new museum and a boat shop where Camden children construct real boats. All this is seen through the eyes of Rufus, a kitten hiding in the empty old church. The book describes the events surrounding the development of what is now the vibrant Camden Shipyard and Maritime Museum and Urban BoatWorks. Along the way, it highlights neighborhood links to the giant New York Shipbuilding Company, the historic Barnegat Lightship, and the famous Arctic explorer Mathew Henson. The book contains 19 charming, original illustrations by the noted local artist, Sarena Johnson.
The book is available from the shop at: waterfrontsouthcamden.com
The international attention given to the recent discovery of Shackleton's ship, the Endurance, in Antarctica is astounding. This is testimony to the continuing allure of polar explorations and their aftermath. Our museum highlights the harrowing Henson-Peary exploits, but there are so many fascinating adventures to hold our interest. This link takes you to the story.
An expedition went where few have ever gone to locate the remnants of a ship that became trapped in the ice 106 years ago, dashing the famed explorer's ambitious mission to cross Antarctica.
If you want to get a feel for what Mathew Henson and other Arctic explorers of his era experienced, do view the recent film "Against the Ice" on Netflix. It is gripping story. Exploring Greenland's vast landscape for a lost map, two men must fight to survive. Based on the true story of Denmark's 1909 polar expedition.
Based on: Two Against the Ice; by Ejnar Mikkelse
Urban BoatWorks goes beyond teaching the craft of wooden boat building. The volunteer-run program also helps young people learn responsibility and leadership skills.
The Executive Director and Board of the Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum are excited to announce their re-opening to the public beginning September 23, 2021, through November 12th. Hours for our general re-opening are Thursdays, Noon to 4pm and by appointment. There will be a special open house on Saturday, October 10th at 2pm for a video chat with Italian Photographer Stefano Benazzo.
Our Executive Director, Jack O’Byrne is very excited to be reopening with two brand new exhibits to the museum. “As we reopen, we will be remembering the long and lurid history of the Delaware River with an exhibit titled, Disasters On The Delaware. The exhibit includes a disaster in 1777 when Revolutionary soldiers fired on a British warship and hit its powder magazine with a resulting explosion that shattered windows for over 16 miles.” O’Byrne continued, “In 1975, two oil tankers collided near Marcus Hook creating a fire so intense that the steel plates of the hull popped, launching the rivets that had been holding them, like bullets.” This exhibit includes 12 large-scale original woodcut prints designed by Brooklyn-based Cannonball Press, to help illustrate the disasters that struck the ships on the Delaware.
Our second exhibit, a photographic exhibit, is entitled “Silent Witness: Photographs of Shipwrecks by Stefano Benazzo. The museum will display a collection of 60 photographs by this Italian artist and photographer. His work is from around the globe and narrates the scenes of these disasters at sea using natural light to portray the soul of the abandoned vessels. O’Byrne describes the photographs, “telling us the story of the decay of these vessel’s architecture as sculptures embedded in the landscape.”
The artist for “Silent Witness”, Stefano Benazzo is Italian sculptor, model maker, and photographer who devoted his life to the memory of abandoned ships. His photographs tell a real story. His 50+ years of research led to him being invited to the Venice Biennale in 2015. His works have been displayed around the world in Italy, Ankara, Turkey, Greece, and France.
We hope the public will join us in this gala reopening. Not only are we reopening, but the entire arts neighborhood is alive with activity. Visit our website to learn more about our story and also visit the neighborhood website to find out about our arts associates. www.camdenshipyardmuseum.org and www.waterfrontsouthcamden.com
A TRAGEDY ON THE RIVER
Rahsaan Stevens was killed in an accident earlier this month during dredging operations in support of the Delaware River channel maintenance project.
Rahsaan leaves behind a wife and five children under the age of eighteen.
Seamen's Church Institute joins other members of the port community in mourning the loss of Rahsaan, and we invite our friends to consider a donation to provide financial support to his family. A fund has been established at https://gofund.me/2ccf7050.
We know this financial support can in no way make up for the loss of a beloved husband and father, but we hope it can somewhat relieve the burden on Rahsaan's family. Please help us show our love and support.
Copyright © 2021 Seamen's Church Institute of Philadelphia & South Jersey, All rights reserved.
Rahsaan Stevens perished on February 4th, 2021 in an accident while working … Stuart Griffin needs your support for Help support the family of Rahsaan Stevens
In case you have not noticed, the Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum has a new website. Thanks to Peter Walzer, our operations manager, our website has a whole new look and now features a Virtual Museum. So do make time for a visit and tell your friends. Thank you.
Bittersweet news. Rip Tide has sailed off to a new home port in Newport, Rhode Island. As you know, this famous yacht designed by John Trumpy and built at the Mathis shipyard in North Camden has been in the museum’s possession for several years. We had tried to utilize her for youth education and found, for many reasons, that it was not possible. Recognizing she needed to be back in the water and under the care of a knowledgeable new owner, we can now announce that she is in the good hands of a Trumpy specialist, Earl McMillen of McMillen Yachts. woodenyachts.com. We want to thank the many Camden folks who provided great stewardship while she was in Camden. In particular Andrew Saporito of the South Jersey Port Corporation and Port Manager, Doug Miller, who organized her safe transfer and transport up to her new berth. Able assistance was also provided by museum volunteer Peter Walzer. Smooth sailing, Rip Tide
Wow! Urban BoatWorks has really hit the big time with great media coverage that you all saw, no doubt!! ! Well, perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we wanted to tell you the shop was recently featured in a national magazine called “ Wooden Boat: The Magazine for Wooden Boat Owners, Builders and Designers” May/June 2020 p. 26. It was in an article called “ Teaching with Small Boats; Building Boats, Building Lives” by Robin Jettinghoff. The article describes the development of an organization called the Teaching with Small Boats Alliance and its first annual conference back in 2010. Today TWSBA has 150 member organizations that reach some 20,000 students. Urban BoatWorks honcho Tom Calistario attended the 2019 conference and is highlighted in the article along with a neat picture of Urban BoatWorks housed in the Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum here in our Waterfront South neighborhood. www.urbanpromiseusa.org/boatworks Stop by sometime and look over our museum and stop by UrbanBoatWorks to see the boats under construction.
It has been announced that as of July 15th Msgr. Michael Doyle of the Sacred Heart Parish will retire. Father Doyle has been a pillar of the Waterfront South community since 1974. He has been the force behind the restoration of the Sacred Heart Church and church school, as well as the establishment of the Heart of Camden Community Development Corporation. Together with Sister Peg Hynes, they oversaw the rehabilitation of scores of dilapidated homes in the community. Later the group turned their attention to abandoned civic buildings like the fire house, movie theater and Our Saviour Episcopal Church. All of these have been restored to life and vitality thanks to his vision and his love for the people and community he served. A lifelong crusader for peace and justice, his mark will forever be etched on the stones of Camden where he intends to remain in his well deserved retirement.
The following letter was submitted to the Republican American Newspaper in Waterbury Ct.
Camden NJ, a struggling, post industrial city in southern NJ, once had the unenviable reputation as the murder capital of America. Today it basks in the glow of and widespread positive reporting on the successful response of its reorganized police department to the protests surrounding the murder of George Floyd. A remarkable turnaround indeed. Less noticed is that Camden is also leading the way when it comes to the fraught issue of dealing with statues of civic leaders who have a racist past. A few years ago a new Camden museum, housed in an abandoned church, commissioned a statue to a largely unsung Arctic explorer named Mathew Henson. The reason Henson was chosen was that the stones used to construct the museum's historic church complex were brought back from the North Pole region on the return of the Arctic expedition led by Admiral Robert Peary in 1892. This expedition was front page news back then and Peary was lionized. However, instead of celebrating this historical connection with a statue of Peary, the museum board commissioned a statue of Henson, the only African-American member of the expedition. This beautiful statue of Henson and his lead sled dog “King” stands in the forecourt of the museum. The decision to commemorate Henson rather than Peary was taken in recognition of Henson’s extraordinary exploits; he was the only one invited by Peary on all of his many attempts to reach the North Pole. Furthermore, Henson was a skilled navigator and craftsman, well versed in all aspects of Arctic exploration, and many feel he, rather than Peary, actually reached the North pole first. Also important was the fact that his remarkable exploits were largely ignored while Peary basked in the public adulation accorded the great explorer. But it was Henson’s humanity that was key to the decision. While in the Arctic, Henson respected and worked with the local Inuit, while Peary and the other members of the exploration team denigrated them and even victimized six of them by displaying them as curiosities in New York City. Perhaps America might learn another lesson from Camden and more carefully evaluate those it wants to honor and reject those candidates whose accomplishments and notoriety were based on little more than power, privilege and violence. Though few of us are perfect, America has a deep trove of candidates whose lives reflected the humanistic virtues we all hold dear. Clearly it is time for a serious review of who gets to stand on our pedestals.
Michael Lang, Woodbury, Ct. 609 280-7659
Lang is Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University Camden, and Past Director, Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum, 1910 S. Broadway, Camden, N.J. 08104 www.camdenshipyardmuseum.org
SAD NEWS: The Board of the Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum has decided to sell the Rip Tide, the sailboat built in North Camden in 1933 that was designed by John Trumpy. The museum has tried for years to develop a workable plan that would keep her in Camden. Sadly, the time has come to part with this historic boat. This ad will appear in Wooden Boat Magazine.
"RIP TIDE" 30’ cutter, 4’ draft, 9.5 beam, four berths, designed by John Trumpy, built by Mathis, 1933, white cedar over oak frames, bronze fastened, all original fittings, mahogany cabin, restored 2008, recent electric engine, stored inside. Museum owned, possible deductible donation, amount negotiable. Located Camden, N.J. Contact: [email protected] or call 609 280-7659
Good news about one of Camden’s finest examples of maritime craftsmanship that had fallen on hard times. The former presidential yacht SEQUOIA is currently undergoing a major refit. The 104 foot long yacht was designed by the legendary John Trumpy and constructed in 1925 at the John H. Mathis Yacht Building Company in North Camden. SEQUOIA hosted Presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter, as well as many foreign dignitaries. Recently she was placed on a barge and towed to Belfast, Maine where the shipwrights at French & Webb will set to work restoring this iconic piece of American maritime history. It was reported that the atmosphere on the Belfast waterfront “crackled with the kind of electricity" associated with celebrity appearances. Over 2000 visitors thronged the waterfront and heard a band play “Hail to the Chief”. This story has received tremendous coverage in the national news media as well as specialized maritime publications. The shipbuilders of Camden City, New Jersey have every right to be pleased and proud.
One of the most famous US presidential yachts in the world, Sequoia, is one step closer to being restored.
Good news and interesting story about a new cruise ship that is more environmentally friendly. Progress is being made.
“We know passengers don’t want to visit beautiful, pristine places on an operator that is not taking the nature they sail to seriously," said the cruise company's CEO.
Save the date! Opening reception (Sunday Sept. 15, 12-3 pm) for a wonderful exhibition of maritime art to be held at Fireworks, 1813 South Broadway in Camden. Our museum is partnering with Fireworks for this exhibition. The exhibition runs until October 13. There is another celebration on Sept. 19th, that is not to be missed. Check out the poster for more information. Great things are happening in Camden.
Wow! What a homecoming! What many folks consider the most famous and most beautiful peacetime ship ever constructed at the famous New York Shipbuilding Corporation yard here in the great city of Camden has just returned to our river. Read about her in this nice article in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sad we can't go aboard, but there is a virtual tour available. It would be great if we could capture her permanently!!
The deactivated NS Savannah is to undergo regular maintenance just down the Delaware River from where it was built in Camden.
CALLING ALL ARTISTS TO FIREWORKS
For many of us in South Jersey, the summer time brings thoughts of the sea. Together with our arts partner CSMM, we're going to ride that wave right through to September, when we'll feature an exhibition honoring all things maritime. Please share the invitation with all of your artist friends. FIREWORKS, 1813 South Broadway, Camden N.J. 08104 email: [email protected] www.camdenfireworks.org phone: 856-338-0400
Good things are happening in Camden for sure. A new park has been developed on the waterfront. Check out the announcement for latest ribbon cutting event down on the river.
Kids building wooden boats is a thriving industry here in our Urban BoatWorks and elsewhere. One unusual example is Mad Martha a 32 foot long Cornish Pilot Gig recently constructed in Massachusetts. Pilot Gigs originated in Cornwall in the southern part of England. In the 1800s, when ships would arrive to bring in supplies, a Pilot Gig with coxswain, crew, and a harbor pilot would venture out 25+ miles offshore to await incoming sailing vessels. The first gig to put its pilot on board to guide the ship to port got paid; hence, pilot gigs were built for speed, endurance, and stability in the often rough seas, to ensure employment for ship pilots. Here Mad Martha is seen being launched in Plymouth Harbor as part of a rowing program run by Mass Bay Open Water Rowing Inc. (https://mbowr.org ) Mad Martha was constructed at a youth boat-building program that encouraged handicapped kids to take part. See the website for Mad Martha under construction. One girl who could not walk was lifted into the boat and sanded away along with her friends. Mad Martha was named after the head boatbuilders wife; after she was christened, the kids were anxious to learn how she would react to this particular naming. No problems were reported! Mad Martha participates in numerous Gig races in the US and club members have raced in England and Holland and they welcome all comers. Perhaps there might be an entry from Camden one day.
Sad news…We recently learned that Rodney Sadler passed away. For many years Rodney ran Pyne Poynt Marine Services in North Camden and was the Harbormaster at Wiggins Marina in Camden. He had been a teacher, and served on the city's Economic Recovery Board, the Camden City Planning Board, North Camden Neighborhood Development Corporation, Camden Greenways Working Group, the Board of Trustees for the Battleship New Jersey and Save Our Waterfront — among other positions he'd held. The City of Camden and the maritime industry has lost a great champion. He was a great friend to our museum and to its programs. He will be sorely missed.
Wooden boatbuilding thrives here at our museum, at Urban BoatWorks. Camden youngsters and their adult mentors use various methods to construct these boats...Here is an interesting article about a recent discovery about a very, very, old method of wooden boatbuilding and a mystery that was solved.
Greek historian’s description of ‘baris’ vessel vindicated by archaeologists at sunken city of Thonis-Heraclion
Underwater Photographer of the Year! This is relatively new and fascinating competition. But do they know that in 1934 Camden saw one of the earliest and most famous underwater photographers E.R. Fenimore Johnson, commission a special ship for underwater photography at the John H. Mathis Shipyard in North Camden? His collection of early photos are archived locally. The ship, the Elsie Fenimore, still exists and is being restored. Check back for more on this story.
Now in it’s fourth year, the Underwater Photographer of the Year competition attracts thousands of entries from scores of countries
The amazing adventures Urban Trekkers never fail to amaze us. So glad the these boatbuilders part of the Shipyard Museum.
Lots of fun and laughing after spending the last couple of days with our friends from Team Osprey and Urban Trekkers. Today, Team Albatross is heading south to Washington DC!
Sobering article on the harmful effects of plastics that are everywhere in our environment...Glad the women scientists/sailors are leading the charge on this issue.
Ubiquitous plastic waste may pose serious risks to our health. A crew of scientists and activists is conducting a hands-on investigation
Here is a heartwarming story about some wonderful folks who are doing great things with Camden kids and helping our beautiful waterways as well. Education seldom getter better than this-way to go!!
ICYMI: Coalition member UrbanPromise is sharing the value of nature with high schoolers in , NJ. 🌲 Camden hides a vast array of valuable wildlife and natural resources because it sits on two important rivers: the Delaware and the Cooper. http://ow.ly/47Ve30nFkf2
Recently the Heart of Camden hosted a Holiday Tea and Tour that showcased the many "hidden Gems" in our Waterfront South neighborhood. A nice article by the Center for Family Services in Camden described this successful event. Here is the article and some photos:
On Friday, December 7th 2018 Heart of Camden teamed up with multiple local art and cultural organizations to form a walking tour of Camden.
Among the stops and involved organizations were the FireWorks Gallery, Nick Virgilio Writer's House, CFET, South Camden Theater, the Camden Shipyard Museum and the Michael Doyle Fieldhouse. Below are some of the best things these places has to offer!
The tour started at the Camden FireWorks Gallery were there were refreshments of a wide variety, a live musician performing and plenty of artwork to explore. For many first time viewers they were in awe of the large building and different creations. The FireWorks Gallery is a refurbished firehouse whose decor says enough on its own. It is a contemporary place where the community often meets. FireWorks offers art classes, exhibits and will soon be developing printing press job training for teenagers.
The Nick Virgilio Writer's House focus on how to teach children how to think and write. They house the Mighty Writers and often have poetry nights open to the public. The writer's house has historical content related to Nick Virgilio contained on the second floor of the house. The house is an open environment filled with books, poems and classic decor.
The third stop was the CFET offices or house. CFET stands for Center for Environmental Transformation and they even had there own hot sauce for sale. The tour was greeted by an urban farmer who shared a program they have. CFET hosts mainly high school and college students from all over the country for service learning projects. The students are placed in locations across Camden to help them understand some of the issues urban communities face and are hosted in the house in the evening.
The tour also stopped at the South Camden Theater where four productions are put on every theater season. The theater is small, but mighty. It offers the feeling of a 60's theater in a cozy space. From the outside many may not know what capabilties it has, but few if not none have any negative things to say about the theater and events that go on there.
On of the last stops was that of the Shipyard Museum. The museum was once a parish and has since transformed themselves into a workshop for kayaks and canoes. Right now they are getting ready to celebrate their ten year anniversary of boat building and are constantly working with young people to build boats. They also work with eight people who serve as river guides for ecology on the Cooper River. These tours are part of Camden utilizing more spaces, focusing on the natural environment and boating as a way for physical activity. The museum is also filled with information on boats, ships and expeditions throughout time. Many of the exhibts are interactive and a great place for children to do some hands on learning.
What these places say is that Camden is full of hidden gems, Camden residents although faced with adverse conditions have not lost their artistical abilties. These organizations are working hard so that culture and art stays alive in the city. There projects are spilling onto the streets of Camden as more and more people come across them everyday, especially Camden's children. This event and their everyday hard work is commendable, with their dedicated teams as well as their sense of community; they will succeed in their endeavors.
Recently the Executive Committee of the Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum reluctantly accepted the resignation of long time board member Frank Foord. Among Frank’s many skills is building exquisitely detailed ship models from scratch. In recognition of his many years of devoted service the board commissioned a plaque in his honor. The plaque reads as follows:
“Frank Foord was one of the earliest and staunchest members of the Board of Trustees of the Camden Shipyard & Maritime Museum. A former member of the Canadian Navy, he brought us his strong love of the sea and ships. Frank made many important contributions to our museum. He produced many valuable technical drawings for us as we developed our plans for the museum. He made a number of beautiful wooden display cabinets and artifact stands that are a central component to our exhibits. He also donated a number of valuable marine artifacts to the museum. Frank, you were always there for us; we will miss your wise counsel and gentlemanly ways. Smooth sailing Frank. December 2018”
1910 S Broadway
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