Bellingham Maritime Museum has now wrapped up the 2014 season and has concluded scheduled public openings. Kids are back in school and everyone is taking a deep breath while contemplating the transition from glorious summer to magnificent fall & winter in the Great Northwest.
September and October may see some special events at the museum, which are being contemplated and which will be advertised if they are confirmed. For now, we are about to begin a deep cleaning and reorganization. We continue to downsize and explore options and opportunities for the future.
The UNION Anchor preservation project is finally nearing completion and the Search for Vancouver’s Lost Anchor will be our top priority project over the winter.
Many thanks to the directors, staff, volunteers, sponsors, colleagues, friends and supporters of the museum for helping make this the best and most memorable season of the last ten years. We hope to see BMM achieve a permanent home in the future, but the challenges are great and there is a lot of hard work ahead.
All the Best,
Chair, Bellingham Maritime Museum
On Saturday May 17th 2014, the Museum will host the annual Scale Model and Radio Controlled Boat Show, welcoming enthusiasts of all ages to ‘see and be seen’! So join us to show off your own model boats, run them in the pool if they’re remote controlled or come and see our models. The pool is set up inside, in the midst of the exhibits so there’s lots to see for the whole family. The hours are 11 am to 4 pm and admission is by donation.
Congratulations to Michael McAuley on his re-election to the Port Commission, and to Dan Robbins on his election to the Port Commission. We look forward to a fresh start and are confident that the newly constituted commission will will steer a positive, cooperative, constructive and creative course, which will reflect credit upon themselves, the Port of Bellingham, and the Whatcom/Bellingham Community at large.
The museum looks forward to working with, supporting, and partnering with the Port in the many areas of common and mutual interest we share from the Working Waterfront to the broader reaches of Whatcom County, and beyond.
We also extend our thanks to Ken Bell and Renata Kowalczyk, for their participation in, and contributions to, this important election. We hope to see both of you in the future, both at the museum, and in continuing community activities.
All the candidates are to be commended for the high standards they observed in this election. You do yourselves and our community proud!
The Board, Staff, Volunteers, and Friends of the Bellingham Maritime Museum
All of us at the Bellingham Maritime Museum are saddened by the fact that we lost a giant in the boat building industry. The remarkable life of Arthur M. Nordtvedt, age 91, came peacefully to an end on October 1 , 2013.
Art Nordtvedt was the founder of the company that became Uniflite Inc. on the south Bellingham waterfront. In its heyday, the company employed more than 500 workers, adding military boats to its product line as the Vietnam War ramped up.
Arts commitment to the working waterfront was unsurpassed. We won’t see his like again.
A great time was had by all at the recent Uniflite Workers and Brown Water Navy Veterans Reunion held this past Saturday, August 17th. A modest gathering of close Uniflight and Brown Water Navy friends were in attendance.
A very special and timely appearance by Art Nordtvedt, Uniflite Founder and “Father of the PBR.” Thank you to all who turn out for this special event.
The annual reunion of the Uniflite Workers and Brown Water Navy Veterans will occur on the third Saturday in August. So for 2013 it will take place on Saturday, August 17th, 11 am – 4 pm with featured guest Art Nordtvedt, Uniflite Founder and “Father of the PBR” at 1 pm.
This will bring together members and family of “Gamewardens of Vietnam”, “PBR Force Veterans Association”, “Mobile Riverine Force Veterans”, “HA(L) 3 “Seawolves”, and other veterans from around the County, the State, and the Country, to meet the many members of our community who proudly crafted the iconic and much loved combat vessels which served with great honor and distinction at that difficult time in our history.
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The Bellingham Maritime Museum is very gratified to have received a surge of new sponsorship which will allow it to expand its’ existing floorspace. The individuals, businesses and foundations who have come forward in support of the maritime museum all have remarked on the tremendous value that the maritime museum brings in keeping alive the great maritime heritage and culture which has formed the character and content of our seaport community.
Of particular value is the Uniflite exhibit which features the iconic Vietnam era “PBR”, the River Patrol Boat, which draws military veterans and their families from all around the country. The Bellingham Maritime Museum has no paid employees, and has received no taxpayer dollars over the years in the formation and operation of this community based organization.
The museum looks forward to continued development of sustainable programs, exhibits, and events which will lead to a permanent presence on the shores of Bellingham Bay.
This increase in leased space was made possible by generous new local funding from individual and company donors resulting from media coverage of recent negotiations and the possibility that the Maritime Museum might be forced to leave Bellingham or be closed down.
Although the footprint of leased space will double, the actual size of the museum will shrink, as the popularity of, and community support for our many exhibits, has resulted in growth which occasionally has impinged on empty contiguous space in the building belonging to the Port.
Changes going forward will include a significant downsizing of floor exhibits, reduction in the size of the Radio Controlled Model Boat Tank, elimination of several exhibits, and consolidation of others.
The museum will continue to focus on three principle areas of importance:
1: The Bellingham built PBRs (Patrol Boat River), the legendary Vietnam era combat craft produced by Art Nordvedts’ United BoatBuilders (Uniflite) in Fairhaven for the US military. The annual reunion of the Uniflite Workers and Brown Water Navy Veterans will occur every third Saturday in August. This will bring together members and family of “Gamewardens of Vietnam”, “PBR Force Veterans Association”, “Mobile Riverine Force Veterans”, “HA(L) 3 “Seawolves”, and other veterans from around the County, the State, and the Country, to meet the many members of our community who proudly crafted the iconic and much loved combat vessels which served with great honor and distinction at that difficult time in our history.
2: The continuing saga of our “Search for Vancouver’s Lost Anchor”. On June 9th 1792, the “Stream Anchor” from the Armed Tender HMS Chatham, which accompanied Captain Vancouver’s flagship HMS Discovery, was lost in Bellingham Channel. BMM has been deeply committed for years, to finding and recovering this only known lost artifact from Vancouvers’ Voyages of Discovery (1792). BMM has conducted extensive academic studies, a magnetometer search, and most recently a sidescan sonar search of the target area. Next will be an ROV deployment to ‘eyeball’ discovered GPS positioned contacts.
3: Coast Salish: ”The First Mariners of the Salish Sea”. BMM recognizes, honors, and celebrates the nations, tribes, and peoples who first sailed these waters. We appreciate the opportunities we have had to work with, and learn from, the gifted carvers who continue the creative traditions of their ancestors. Our goal is to continue to build bridges of friendship, understanding, and appreciation between our cultures.
These are challenging economic times for museums and other non profits. If the history, boatbuilding and fishing tradition, and ‘working waterfront’ culture of our seaport community are important to you, and to following generations, then we invite your support for the Bellingham Maritime Museum.
This coming Saturday, 23 February, 2013 between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm the Bellingham Maritime Museum will feature the last showing of the David Berg Classic Wooden Boat Collection. These craft were built by Mr. Berg from drawings which appeared in boating magazines from the 1920’s and 1930’s and are considered by many as true works of art. “Dave Berg is a modern day Leonardo Da Vinci, who creates not only masterpieces of wood construction, but also casts all the metal pieces and fittings, and even builds the trailers” says museum Director Mike Granat.
The Bellingham Maritime Museum is located at 800 Cornwall Avenue. This event is open to the public. Admission is by donation.
Kids of all ages are invited to enjoy a Radio-Controlled and Scale Model Boat Show at The Bellingham Maritime Museum, Saturday August 31st, 2013, from 11am to 4pm, at the Bellingham Maritime Museum. Boats will set sail in the RC “pond”.
Bring your radio-controlled boat! The event is open to the public and admission is by donation.