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Keeping a Weather Eye

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Boston Light

Sal ly Snowman, Historial and Keeper of Boston Light
June 5, 2008, 7:00 p.m.

Boston Light is the count ry's oldest continually used lighthouse site. Originally financed by a tax of a penny a ton on all vessels entering and leaving the harbor, the stone lighthouse was largely destroyed by the British when they evacuated Boston at the close of the Revolutionalry Wa r, but was rebuilt in 1783. In 1859, the tower was raised 14 feet to its present height of 102 feet above sea level, enabling its light to flash 27 miles out into the Atlantic.

By 1990, the Coast Guard had automated every lighthouse int he United States, with the Boston Light scheduled to be the last in the process. Preservation groups appealed to Congress and the Coast Guard. Fundin was appropriated to keep Coast Guard staff on the island, where they remain to this day, recording meterological data in addition to maintaining the light adn structures on teh island. Keeper Sally Snowman will bring the history fo this beloved Boston Harbor icon to life.

Museum Events

Throughout the year, the museum hosts a variety of events for friends and members. Whether enjoying the holiday season's "Champagne and Salmon" gala, a festive exhibit opening, a sea chantey concert on the lawn, a Harbor Island excursion, a scintillating lecture, an open water rowing race, or the culinary extravaganza, Taste of the South Shore, the museum offers a full calendar of monthly activities that enhance the cultural life of the South Shore.

First Thursay Lecture Series

Pilots Boats of Boston Harbor

Andy Hammond of the Bost on Harbor Pilot Association
May 1, 2008, 7:00 p.m.

Since the eighteenth century, vessels entering Boston Harbor have engaged pilots whose local knowledge of channels and currents could guide them safely past potential dangers. Pilot boats were know for their speed, seaworthiness and maneuberability. Until 1958, when they were replaced by outborads, pilots were rowed to their ships in eighteen foot "yawl boats" crewed by apprentices. Although the nature of the pilot boat has changes over the years, today Boston Harbor pilotage is very similar to waht it was historically. Boston pilots remain among the most highly skilled and trained mariners in the port. Join us for a look at pilot boats in the harbor, past and present.


Past Lectures

Great New England Storms of the 20th Century

Janice Page, Editor
April 3, 2008, 7:00 p.m.
$3 members, $5 nonmember

Everyone knows what they say about weather in New England: If you don't like it, wait a minute, right? But some weather is more destructive than others, and some storms ca n last long enough to make you remember their fury more than a hundred years later. People who live in the Northeast know about blizzards and nor��????'easters, hurricanes, ice showers, tornado winds, and flood-producing rains. In Great New England Storms of the 20th Century, the Boston Globe chronicles an era that encompasses many of the most devastating weather events on record, including the blizzard of 1978, the ��????'perfect storm��????' of 1991, tornadoes in 1953, floods in 1936, gales in 1905, and a 1938 hurricane that still has no equal. And this book doesn��????'t just bring the historical facts; it offers the faces and personal stories behind each disaster, along with weather data and graphics, trivia, and the lighter side of the news. Produced by the respected staff of the Boston Globe, each chapter presents compelling writing and dramatic photographs culled from an unrivaled regional archive of material, all of which add up to the most complete and captivating portrait of 20th-century New England storm history ever published. Join editor Janice Page for a look at some of the most amazing weather of the past 100 years.

Tugboats in Boston Harbor, Past and Present
Boston Towing and Transportation

March 6, 2008, 7:00 p.m.
$3 members, $5 nonmember

The Blizzard of '78
30th Anniversary Recollections with Chris Haraden

February 7, 2008, 7:00 p.m.
$3 members, $5 nonmember

Join Chris Haraden, author of Storm the Century, for a look back at this unforgettable storm that wrought both massive destruction and lifelong memories.

Have a story or photo to share?��????��???? Send it to us or drop it by the museum. We will scan photographs and include as many as possible in the evening's slide show.��????��???? Please include your name, the circumstances and location of the photograph.��????��????

And for a little fun��????'A 1978 ��????'Then and Now��????' of some of our favorite folks.
Send us your ��????'then and now��????' pictures of you, friends and family so we can see how things have changed since those crazy blizzard days!

Following the Paper Trail: Researching the Crew of the Portland

Walter Hickey, Archives Specialist at the National Archives Northeast Region
January 10, 2008, 7:00 p.m.
$3 members, $5 nonmember

The devastating "Portland Gale" that struck New England on November 27, 1898 bears the name of the steamship Portland, wrecked as she attempted to make the return trip from Boston Harbor to Portland, Maine.  With all 192 passengers and crew tragically lost with the ship, thePortland is one of the worst disasters in New England maritime history. 

The location of the wreck had long been one of the great mysteries of Massachusetts Bay, until recent underwater archaeology efforts at the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary revealed the wreck site.  Sadly, much of the Portland's documen tation went down with the ship, making the crew and passenger lists something of a mystery as well. 

Walter Hickey, Archives Specialist at the National Archives Northeast Region in Waltham, has followed a paper trail of archival materials, including deceased seaman's papers filed by the victims' families, to carefully identify the crew of the Portland. Please join us to hear how dedicated research has helped to solve one of the steamer's many mysteries.

Author's Talk with Eric Jay Dolin, Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America

Sunday, November 11, 2007, 2:00 p.m.
$3 members, $5 nonmember

Please join us on Sunday, November 11th at 2 pm as the Hull Lifesaving Museum welcomes Eric Jay Dolin author of Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America.

Much of America's culture, economy, and spirit were literally and figuratively rendered from the bodies of whales. In Leviathan historian Eric Jay Dolin chronicles the epic battle between man and the sea and, in this case, between man and beast. Dolin traces the rise of this burgeoning industry--from its rapid expansion in the colonial era to its Golden Age in the mid-1800s, when more than 60 ports got into the whaling business and the sails of America's whaleships whitened the seven seas.

Leviathan teems with fascinating vignettes, from the Pilgrims' frustrating encounters with whales, to the Candle Wars that pitted eighteenth-century New England Industrialists against each other. Through it all, those "iron men in wooden boats" created a legacy of dramatic, poignant, and at times horrific stories. Original, stirring, and authoritative, Leviathan delivers the 300-year history of American whaling in an epic account of this once-vital industry.

Eric Jay Dolin was recently awarded the New Bedford Whaling Museum's 23rd annual L. Byrne Waterman Award, for outstanding contributions to research and pedagogy in the Arts, Humanities, and Sciences for Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America.

Devil on the Deep Blue Sea: The Notorious Career of Captain Samuel Hill of Boston

Mary Malloy, Professor of Maritime Studies, Sea Education Association
August 2, 2007, 7:00 p.m.
$3 members, $5 nonmember

Had he not been a madman, Captain Samuel H ill would likely be remembered as one of the great maritime adventurers of the early nineteenth century. He was the first American to live in Japan, and was in the Columbia River basin at the same time as Lewis & Clark. He rescued men held captive by Indians and pirates, met King Kamehameha of Hawaii and the missionaries who arrived soon after the King's death, was captured as a privateer during the War of 1812, witnessed firsthand the events of the Chilean Revolution, and wrote about all this persuasively. He was also a rapist and murderer.

In all his contradictions and complexities, Samuel Hill represented the fledgling U nited States during its first wave of expansion. At home he appeared civilized and sensible, but as he sailed into the Pacific Ocean the mask slipped away to reveal the recklessnes s, ambition, and violence that propelled the United States from coast to coast and around the world.

Mary Malloy has enthralled a generation of students at SEA with her ability to bring maritime studies to life by putting the story in history. Her considerable experience sailing the high seas on SEA's tall wind-driven ships, her impeccable research, and her natural ability to spin a yarn combine seamlessly so that we all discover the lessons the maritime past holds for each and every one of us. John K. Bullard, President, Sea Education Association.

"Plenty of Work for a Woman"

Ma ry Evelyn Sparrow, a Lifesaving Service Wife
Victoria Stevens, Museum Educator
June 7, 2007, 7:00 p.m.
$3 members, $5 nonmembers

There is plenty of work for a woman left alone at a life saving station. At two o'clock in the morning, fires to replenish, rooms to put in order after the hasty departure, and then the thought of breakfast for the shipwrecked ones and the gallant band who have gone to the rescue.

When Joshua James died suddenly in 1902, William Sp arrow of Provincetown was appointed the next keeper of the Point Allerton U.S. Lifesaving Station. Despite H ull's outrage over the appointment of an "outsider," William Sparrow went on to serve for twenty distinguished years.

William's wife Mary was an outstanding figure in her own right. Beyond cooking and cleaning at the station, Mary Sparrow promoted the cause of coastal lifesaving by presenting lectures to churches and women's groups. She maintained correspondence with Sumner Kimball, General Superintendent of the Lifesaving Service in Washington, D.C., and worked to establish public support for pensions for the Lifesaving Service men.

Mrs. Sparrow's lecture notes, letters and personal photographs are among the real treasures of the museum collection. They offer rare first hand-accounts of life at a lifesaving station and, even rarer, the perspective of a wife who watched her husband and crew rush off to the wreck and tended the beleaguered shipwreck victims after the rescue. At the same time, they show us an informed and independent Edwardian woman with a love of the sea and a flair for the dramatic.

Join us for a look at this extraordinary woman and the tales she told of the Massachusetts coast.

Recent Shoreline Changes on Monomoy Island

Thursday, April 5, 2007, 7 pm
Dr. Graham Giese, Provincetown Center for Coastal Research
Join us for a fascinating look at the recent changes in the shoreline at
Monomoy Island, and the ongoing interaction of land and sea along Cape Cod.

Jack Daley, An Evening of St. Patrick's Day Laughs

Friday, March 16, 2007, 7 pm
Your sides will ache with laughter after an evening with Jack Daley, whose
legendary Irish and Maine stories are guaranteed to leave you chuckling for
days to come.

Surveying the Shore: Historic Maps of Coastal Massachusetts, 1600-1930 with author Joseph G. Garver

Thursday, January 4, 2007, 7:00 p.m.
$3 members, $5 nonmembers

Join us on Thursday, January 4, 2007 at 7 pm for an evening with Joseph Garver, author of Surveying the Shore: Historic Maps of Coastal Massachusetts, 1600-1930. Since British, French, and Dutch colonists vied for the territory we call New England, cartographers have drawn the region to suit their political and commercial goals. In his new book, Garver analyzes and illuminates ninety historic maps, connecting them with key developments in New England history and demonstrating how a community's maps reflect its view of the world. Surveying the Shore is a rich and compelling history of New England, from the arrival of the first white men to the early twentieth century, revealed in some of the most beautiful examples of the mapmaker's art.

Garver has culled his maps from the Harvard Map Collection, the Boston Public Library, the Boston Athenaeum, the State Archives, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the American Antiquarian Society, the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum, and Houghton Library. The result is a treasure for map lovers and history lovers alike.

Greenland Kayak

Dan Sheehan, Cal-Tek Kayaks
Thursday, December 7, 2007, 7:00 p.m.
$3 members, $5 nonmembers

Dan Sheehan, Cal-Tek Kayaks, is a seminal figure on the development and engineering of small paddling boats in fiberglass. Dan will tell the story of the development of his latest boat, a Greenland Kayak. This lecture is presented as part of the Maritime Artisans Speakers Series, a collaborative project between the Hull Lifesaving Museum and Mass Bay Maritime Artisans of Jones River Landing Environmental Heritage Center. Now in its third year, the Series features individuals serving the history and continuation of marine trades in coastal Massachusetts. For a full series schedule please visit

Maritime Archaeology and Shipwrecks of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary with Deborah Marx, Maritime Archaeologist

Thursday, October 12*, 7 pm
$3 m embers, $5 nonmembers
*Due to installation of the Sea & Sky Art Show, the "First Thrusday" lecture will be held on October 12th.

Located at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary sits astride the 400-year-old shipping lanes and fishing grounds of Massachusetts' historic ports. Historical research has identified over 100 vessels lost in the vicinity of the sanctuary as a result of storms, collisions, and other maritime calamities. Since the sanctuary began investigating its maritime heritage resources, over a dozen shipwrecks have been located, including the steamship Portland and the schooners Paul Palmer, Frank A. Palmer, and Louise B. Crary. This presentation will detail the sanctuary's maritime archaeology fieldwork investigations and findings for the past few years through historic images and underwater images/video of the sanctuary's historic shipwrecks.

Deborah Marx is a maritime archaeologist with the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Scituate, MA. She has MA in History from East Carolina University's Program in Maritime Studies and has been involved with numerous archaeological field projects around the United States and Caribbean include recent ROV surveys of the steamship Portland. Ms. Marx has also consulted on the conservation of waterlogged materials from shipwreck sites and maritime heritage resource management issues.

October is Massachusetts Archaeology Month. Join us for this wonderful presentation on exciting marine archaeology projects happening in Massachusetts Bay. Light refreshments will be served. Please call for more information.

Codfish, Dogfish, Mermaids and Frank with author Skip DeBrusk

Thursday, September 7, 7 p.m. $3 Members, $5 non-members
For event details ca ll 781-925-5433.

Codfish, Dogfish, Mermaids and Frank is the true story of the relationship between a young man, Skip DeBrusk, and his mentor, set on the fishing grounds and ports of Massachusetts during the summer of 1951.

C aptain Frank Savery, an ex-prisoner of the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Alcatraz was, to say the least, an unusual mentor who passed on his natural gifts of curiosity, leadership and the value of education. He also passed on the value of hard work, risk and rewards, all as the Captain of the J.L. Stanley and Sons, a commercial fishing boat based in Plymouth.

Join us to hear this story of a by- gone era when fish were plentiful and our way of life was simpler. Light refreshments will be served. Please call for more information.

Hullapalooza '07 to Benefit Lifesaving Museum

kayak thumbnailThe 5th annual Hullapalooza, August 19, 2007, 5:00-10:00 p.m.--come rock the Sea Note with local bands Catbasket, the Pem berton All-Stars and others. There will also be a kayak raffle and a silent auction featuring fine art, gift certificates for local restaurants and merchants.


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