October 2012
Join Us for the Seafood Festival !
Events Calendar
View from the Bow
View from the Stern
Wooden Boat School Update
Recent Events
Exhibit Update

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A boat load of upcoming events! 

From the Seafood Festival to wooden boat building workshops... new additions to our lecture series and a variety of educational cruises... we truly have something for everyone! 


Check out our updated Events Calendar below, visit our website, and follow us on Facebook for the latest on museum happenings.  You can also stop by or give us a call at (850) 653-2500.


A special thanks to our hard working staff and volunteers who make our programs possible, and to all of you for your support.


We hope to see you at the museum again soon!


Join us at the Florida Seafood Festival! 

We have several events happening this weekend in conjunction with the Florida Seafood Festival.  Come join us as we celebrate our maritime heritage!


We are hosting a Beer Garden and Low Country Boil to benefit the Franklin County Seafood Workers Association and BayAid, which will take place from 5-10 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, with a live band on the docks!  Join us for good food and libations on the waterfront, and support a great cause in our community.


Boat building demonstrations will be held both Friday and Saturday. Our Wooden Boat School Director, Ron Dierolf, will be completing the construction of a "Six Hour Canoe" in the courtyard in front of the museum workshop.  This is the same model that will be the subject of our classes later in the month, when students will be able to build their own to take home.  Stop by to meet Ron, learn more, and register! 


All aboard!  Working waterfront cruises will be running throughout Friday and Saturday, with free trips for locals and museum members on Saturday.  Call 653-2500 or stop by to sign up.


Museum admission will be free all weekend!


Events Calendar


The Civilian Genesis of the American Torpedo Boat, by Dr. Edward Wiser

November 10, 2012  at 7 p.m.  $5.


Dr. Wiser will discuss the infusion of civilian small craft expertise into the arena of national defense, tracing the history from the American Revolution through its ultimate incarnation of the motor torpedo boat of World War Two.  His research on the evolution of small combatant craft in the United States Navy shows that the most successful of these boats have consistently come from the civilian sector.  From Vietnam to modern day counter-terror and drug interception operations, rugged, efficient boats for security, patrol, and combat are still an essential factor in law enforcement, homeland defense, and power projection.  Dr.  Wiser is a licensed merchant marine deck officer (500 gt), former artillery officer,  ABYC certified marine technician, and published author, with a Ph.D. in history from Florida State University.  He has over three decades of experience operating and maintaining a variety of small craft on the coastal waters of the Atlantic and Gulf and throughout the Bahamas, Antilles, and Central America. Dr. Wiser is an adjunct professor of strategy and policy for the Naval War College.  The presentation will be preceded by a social starting at 6 p.m., and followed by a reception and low country boil on the docks.



Apalachicola Aweigh! Maritime Aspects of Apalachicola's Cotton Trade, by Dr. Lynn Willoughby

November 17, 2012 at 7 p.m.  $5.

Award-winning author Lynn Willoughby will present on the maritime aspects of Apalachicola's international cotton trade in the 1830s and '40s, which made Apalachicola the third largest port on the Gulf coast.  Dr. Willoughby earned her Ph.D. in history from Florida State University, and is the author of Fair to Middlin': The Antebellum Cotton Trade of the Apalachicola -Chattahoochee River Valley and Flowing Through Time: A History of the Lower Chattahoochee River. She earned two teaching awards at Winthrop University as well as two book awards in history.  Her books will be available for purchase and signing at the lecture.  The presentation will be preceded by a social starting at 6 p.m., and followed by a reception and low country boil on the docks.



Wooden Boat School Classes for the Thanksgiving Holiday Week

November 19, 2012     


The Six Hour Canoe will be a good boat building project for families or groups of friends.  When completed, the canoe is 15' 3" in length with a 31 ˝" beam. It can be paddled with kayak or canoe paddles.  Inexpensive to build using ordinary tools and materials, the canoe gives everybody access to boat building and a boat. The course runs two days with an optional day of painting on the third day.  The courses are offered starting on November 19 and December 28 .  The AMM will provide all of the materials, tools, and instructors to keep you and your friends and family on the right course.  We will build up to four boats in a weekend and group size is limited to four.  The cost is $200 per group and you take the boat home with you on your car top or in the back of a pickup.   Visit our web site to sign up.



Franklin County Maritime Heritage Regatta

November 23 - 24


A circumnavigation of St. George Island with overnight anchorage, open to vessels of all types.  Send us an email for more information.  See related article below for details!



Adventures in Apalachicola Valley Archaeology, by Dr. Nancy White

December 8, 2012 at 7 p.m.  $5.

Dr. White will chronicle 12,000 years of human habitation in this region -- from native fishers, hunters, and farmers of different time periods through the first Old World intruders and early American traders and settlers. White will show where they lived and died, and how they used the lands and waters we now inhabit and enjoy. She will also describe the sometimes exciting processes of archaeological discovery in the field and lab.  White earned a Ph. D. at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and is a professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida in Tampa and Registered Professional Archaeologist. Her books include Grit-Tempered: Early Women Archaeologists in the Southeastern United States, Gulf Coast Archaeology, Archaeology for Dummies, and Late Prehistoric Florida. She has done fieldwork across the U.S. and in France and Mexico, and taught at universities in Italy and East Malaysia (Borneo). For over 20 years she has studied the Apalachicola-Lower Chattahoochee valley region of northwest Florida/south Georgia/south Alabama.  The presentation will be preceded by a social starting at 6 p.m., and followed by a reception and low country boil on the docks.



Wooden Boat School Classes for the Holidays

December 28, 2012   


The Six Hour Canoe will be a good boat building project for families or groups of friends.  When completed, the canoe is 15' 3" in length with a 31 ˝" beam. It can be paddled with kayak or canoe paddles.  Inexpensive to build using ordinary tools and materials, the canoe gives everybody access to boat building and a boat. The course runs two days with an optional day of painting on the third day.  The courses are offered starting on November 19 and December 28 .  The AMM will provide all of the materials, tools, and instructors to keep you and your friends and family on the right course.  We will build up to four boats in a weekend and group size is limited to four.  The cost is $200 per group and you take the boat home with you on your car top or in the back of a pickup.   Visit our web site to sign up.



Also coming up...


The Corner of Our Country, by Homer Hirt

January 12, 2013


Religious Life Aboard Navy Ships in World War II, by Dr. Kurt Piehler, Director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience

January 26, 2013


The Dog Island Shipwreck Survey, by Dr. Chuck Meide, Director of LAMP (Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program) in St. Augustine 

February 9, 2013  


La Florida and the Maritime World of Juan Ponce de León, by Peter Cowdrey, Exhibit Research Specialist at the Florida Historic Capitol Museum

March 9, 2013


Apalachicola in the Civil War, by Ken Johnston, Executive Director of the Civil War Naval Museum

May 17, 2013

Events funded in part with support from: 




ViewFromTheBowViews from the Bow
by George Kirvin Floyd

Franklin County Maritime Heritage Regatta


The Museum will be hosting the inaugural Franklin County Maritime Heritage Regatta (FCMHR) in November.  The course will start just off of the Maritime Museum docks and proceed to a two day circumnavigation of St. George Island with an overnight anchorage at the end of the first day and return the following day.  The target date is to have the two day race start on Friday, 11/23, and be completed by the afternoon of Saturday, 11/24. 


We will time the event to take place following one of the autumn cold fronts that blow through this time of year.  Following the first gusty day or two as the front blows through the winds normally subside somewhat and become steady with a northerly bend that make cruising off of the Gulf Beach of SGI an awesome experience for the cruisers and a spectacle for those ashore.  Consistent depths allow good cruising just off the outer sandbars around 50 to 100 yards offshore.  Cold clear nights and warm sunny days combine to make an awesome sail experience.  As Northerly winds are frequent in early November, we expect that the weather conditions we seek will occur on our target dates of 11/9 and 10, but if not, we will change the date of the regatta to catch the weather window we seek.  Wind forecasts are very reliable up to a week in advance so we will be able to provide a final date approximately a week in advance.  We will provide updates via email as the event nears and the weather forecasts give us an ability to finalize the plans. 

Our objective is to do an anchorage off of the Gulf Beach of St. George Island where we will be in the lee of the  island.  After a couple of days of hard northerly blows, the waves will generally be running with the wind in a southerly direction which will make for a calm and comfortable overnight anchorage. 


The Heritage will have our wooden catspaw dinghy, Hope, in tow to provide transportation to and from shore during the anchorage.  The morning of the second day will make an early departure to continue the trip around St. George and return to the docks of the Maritime Museum. 


Heritage will be taking on a number of AMM members as guest "day crew" to be offloaded via the dinghy at the end of day one and on loaded during the start of day two.  If you are interested in sailing as part of Heritage crew let us know by email.  Priority will be afforded to volunteers and members, but the cruise is open to all and there is no charge.


This first year regatta will mostly be a fun run with little regard for PHRF ratings or the normal formalities of a true race.  Our goal is focused on promoting maritime heritage and the opportunity for cruising Franklin County as it would have been during the 1800s when sail ruled the seas and Apalachicola was an international seaport. Dockage and / or transport to and from anchorage will be provided by the Museum before and after the race. 


The calendar for the race follows. 


Day One

9 AM - Coffee, juice and continental breakfast at the Museum Docks.  Final briefing of race plan.  Dinghy rides out to the boats.

10 AM - Alignment at the starting line and start cannon.

5 PM - All boats at anchor

6 PM - Bonfire on the beach


Day Two

7 AM - All crew aboard and ready for race

8 AM - Cruise resumes with starting cannon and continue back to finish at the Museum docks.

6 PM - Awards ceremony and celebration. 

To participate, send us an email at Admin@ApalachicolaMaritimeMuseum.org


Update on the Paddle wheeler Jean Mary


This is the fourth in a series of articles chronicling the acquisition and renovation of the paddle wheeler that began with our July newsletter. The pace of restoration activities have picked up significantly during October as the expanded crew, now averaging twelve artisans, has settled in and the equipment and other resources have come on line.  Unfortunately the scope of repairs required has been continuously expanding to take in many new discoveries not uncovered during the initial survey.  It is daunting to look at the size of this project and speculate on an actual completion date and launch of a fully restored and newly renamed riverboat.  When the Samuel Floyd does splash in, she will have an 800 mile run to her new home port in Apalachicola so our plan is to have the restoration wholly completed before launch.  Vision of this magnificent paddlewheel vessel plying the waters of the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee inspires everyone on the crew and keeps enthusiasm high when the path ahead is so uncertain and challenging. 


With the arrival of the cooler autumn temperatures of October we entered our fourth week of all out efforts with the restoration and replacement of steel plating getting fully underway.  Consistent with the phased work plan identified in our August newsletter, we have been focused on the refurbishment of external structures above waterline and the paddlewheel.  As work progressed the crew has continued to come together and work more effectively as a cohesive team under the leadership of Museum Operations Manager Daniel Stewart.  We are continuing to implement more effective technologies as we move from the use of torch (oxyacetylene) and stick (arc welding) techniques for cutting and welding respectively, to use of wire (MIG) and plasma cutters which yield results quicker and better.  The latest round of equipment expansions is being delivered as we pen this journal. On the job training with the newest tools is also help boost productivity and make for a better cleaner result while adding to the skills and job opportunities for your crew.  As of this newsletter, we estimate that we have completed approximately 10% of the total steel refurbishment efforts over the past seven weeks.  With no change to crew size or productivity, the project would be forecast to require a staggering additional 63 weeks of work.  As this is the largest single resource requirement of the project we are optimistic that the expanded crew will become increasingly more productive and be able to implement the new technologies and processes to slice this forecast by around 60% yielding a revised forecasted work effort spanning roughly 11 weeks.  With the upcoming holidays, we hope to be winding down of the steel refurbishment operations by early February. 


Other, less significant elements of the restoration efforts are progressing concurrently with the steel work.  The work in the cabins, galley and other habitable areas has also expanded in scope to a complete rip out of all wall and ceiling coverings due to the discovery of significant water damage and mold.  We are removing all of the insulation in order to expose the existing wiring, plumbing and other controls, audio visual and HVAC lines.  This will help ensure we are able fully document the existing configurations as we map out a plan refurbishments and expansions there.  As of this writing, the rip out is nearing completion and we are beginning to move into the planning for the repairs and replacements.  Dumpster after dumpster of debris and waste are coming off as she grows lighter and as we approach the milepost where the project can transition to renewal. 


A particularly noteworthy event has been the arrival onto the crew of Scott McLain.  Scott was an oysterman working in Apalachicola Bay as the disaster came about this summer that has put so many of our seafood workers in Franklin county out of work.  Scott came to the museum inquiring of opportunities and remained diligent in follow up.  Scott has been a shrimp boat captain where he performed all of the maintenance on the mechanical aspects of his boat.  He came onto the Museum crew by beginning to help with the Wood Boat School demonstrating his abilities and enthusiasm there.  He then offered to help with some of the engine maintenance on Heritage as we came to realize the capabilities of our most recent addition to the crew.  In recent weeks he has come to be a critical member of the paddlewheel team by bringing all three engines into an operational state and repaired the hydraulic systems used for steerage, rudder control, the elevator and the paddlewheel.  Scott's enthusiasm, good nature and solid work ethic make him a joy to be around and an inspiration to everyone else on the crew.  As a result of Scott's presence, the engine and other mechanical aspects of the project are well ahead of schedule and he will be taking the lead in refurbishing the other mechanical systems including the implementation of the replacement chilled water system for HVAC, refurbishment of plumbing efforts for drinking, grey, black and bilge water.  We further note that the enthusiasm of everyone on the crew is running very high as many are very grateful to work on a project of this magnitude and have a hand in expanding the maritime traditions in Apalachicola.


Following are some photos from the project which provide a glimpse of the pace of activities.  

Note the paddlewheel off to the left with the forward side renewed and the steel containers forming our storage and workshops.  The Jean Mary is the backdrop for this photos of Maritime Museum crew and volunteers. Front Row: Daniel Stewart, Bronson Lamb, Eugene Reaves, Scott McClain, Earl Hughes. Second row: Ken Klein, George Floyd, Ron Metz, Mike Adams, Eric Exile, Jameel Jaquin, Daniel Best, Jason Pachall, Lawrence Johnson, Christopher Richards 


All wall covering removed exposing the electrical and plumbing runs in for testing and documentation to prepare for the renewal plans.


Another shot of exposed components as the rip out continues.

Welding complete, the starboard wing deck is draped and prepared for sandblasting.


The paddlewheel early in the process showing the large amount of decay.

Paddlewheel renewal underway with one of the wheel segments rebuilt and painted with epoxy primer.



Continued work on the HVAC units on the Texas deck.  Note the St. Johns river in the background.


Cut out of deteriorated roofing in preparation for renewal.


Another photo of the renewal efforts on the outboard support posts.



Heritage update


The S/V Heritage has been undergoing the topsides paint out we normally do this time of year with several new 
coats of varnish applied to the masts and other topside bright work.  Seasonal maintenance includes a review of all engine and mechanical systems and other topside painting, winch servicing, rigging repairs and upgrades and repairs and updates to the canvas awning used during the off season. 


The Heritage will be making a circumnavigation of St. George Island to officially inaugurate the Franklin County Maritime Heritage Regatta during early November and make a regular round of sailing trips during the favorable northwesterly winds that frequent the bay this time of year.


We are working with the US Coast Guard to bring her into the Inspected Vessel status that will allow up to 20 paying passengers to be aboard during our sail outings.  The core requirement of this upgrade is the addition of a 40" handrail around the entire vessel that will improve safety for those on deck.  As this new status comes on line, we plan to re implement the sailing program that existed during the initial 2008 and 2009 season wherein a museum membership allowed unlimited sailing excursions.  Subsequent editions of this newsletter will provide more details on this program as the USCG credentialing process is completed.



Golden Ball update


Sadly, this is the area that saw the least progress during October.  The most notable event was the passage of a resolution by the Apalachicola City Commission that will allow placement of an oyster shell base next to the Popham building which will form a solid base to which the Golden Ball will be moved in the coming weeks.  Oyster shells from our next door neighbor, Leavens Seafood, are being accumulated for the project and should be in place soon after passage of the Seafood Festival on the first Saturday of November.  


Once Golden Ball has been moved to the new location, we will be constructing the Quonset style structure that will keep the weather off and allow us to stage in tools to start the process.  

View from the Stern: Images from Seafood Festivals Past


One of the traditional events of the Florida Seafood Festival is the Blessing of the Fleet, held in the waters off Battery Park on Friday afternoon. Several clergymen bless the parade of passing fishing, shrimping, oystering, and recreational vessels vessels, joined by King Retsyo and Miss Florida Seafood.  Click here for more information on this year's festival.
Clergymen blessing the fleet, 1970

Shrimp boats parading past Battery Park during the Blessing of the Fleet, 1970.

Seafood Festival dignitaries aboard a shrimp boat in 2007.

Heritage decked out in full regalia at the 2007 festival.

Bird's eye view of the Blessing of the Fleet, 2007. 
Wooden Boat School Update
by Ron Dierolf, Director


October has been a busy month at the boat shop. The paddleboard is being varnished and it is hoped we can test it on the beach by the end of the month.


The Wood Duck kayak is being prepared for finishing and will be on display soon. The shop is gearing up to build two more boats - a canoe and a rowing/sailing dory. While all this is going on the masts and bright work on the Heritage, our flagship, are being varnished. If you stop by the museum you might catch Mike Anderson up the mast with a bush and can of varnish.


The shop is gearing up to offer boat building classes beginning in November with the weekend canoe project on November 19th and 20th. This will be a great family project. The canoe is simple and children 10 years and up can participate in the construction but it is not a toy. This is a genuine canoe suitable for lakes, ponds and other protected waters. The project includes all the aspects of building a larger boat and will be a wonderful introduction to the art and science of boat building. Museum staff will guide the process but it will be your boat. Work will begin on Friday morning and the boat will be complete by Saturday evening. You can come back and begin painting the boat on Sunday or take it home for painting. Come on out and spend two days having fun and building a real boat. Call the museum for additional details.


The museum also offers classes on kit-boat building. Options include the Kaholo paddleboard and the WoodDuck kayak. Both are available in two or more lengths. The shop is evaluating other kits and boat designs plans are to offer several more options. 


Call the museum or email us to discuss your goals and objectives, and we will be happy to help you build the boat you have always wanted.





Recent Events


It's been a busy last few weeks at the museum with lots of trips, events, and projects.  At the end of September, we hosted a group of almost twenty journalists from around the country as part of Geiger and Associate's Franklin County Press Tour.  The group enjoyed our popular excursion to St. Vincent Island.  We've run many educational estuary tours and sunset cruises thanks to the continued beautiful fall weather. We also recently hosted Dr. Susan Baldino's Museum Studies class from Florida State University for a museum tour, discussion of our future plans, and historic working waterfront cruise. One of our more unique custom trips recently was to transport several members of the First United Methodist Church upriver for a baptism service. 


Our lecture events continue to be well-attended.  We hosted three this month, covering the topics of wooden boat building, the history of Fort Gadsden, and life aboard ship during the War of 1812.  New exhibits are under development, and our spring calendar is filling up with fun and educational events.  Research and Education Director Augusta West attended the Florida Association of Museums conference in Tallahassee last month, and came away full of ideas to implement. 


We've been fortunate to attract new volunteers to our crew, and have also grown our staff and membership roster. Established volunteers Mike and Robin Vroegop, and Captain Pete Burgher continue to be invaluable assets.  Eddie Woodward, Archivist at FSU's Heritage Protocol, has designed a brand new website for us which will go live soon. We are also pleased to welcome Gary and Paulin Sabitsch as the museum's newest volunteers and friends.


One of our latest projects is a partnership with the Florida Public Archaeology Network to document Franklin County's "big anchors" for the worldwide "Big Anchor" project.  A workshop for those who want to get involved is tentatively scheduled for January--stay tuned for details.  FPAN is also supporting our educational mission this fall with the loan of the ArcheoCart, a traveling kid-friendly exhibit on archaeology, which will be arriving soon.  


Our collaboration with the St. Pete Shanty Singers to develop a program of historic, regional maritime music is developing nicely, and we plan to host a performance here in the spring.  The group already has a program in which Apalachicola figures prominently, and our joint efforts have identified additional songs that were sung by sailors or dock workers in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River System, or as part of the international trade routes that serviced this port.


Secretary of the Key West Maritime Historical Society, Andrea Comstock, paid us a visit recently, and forged a friendship with museum staff. We are partnering to facilitate research and education on our port cities' historic connections.





Exhibit Update


We've added some notable artifacts to our collections in recent weeks.  The image to the left is of an original letter, written from Apalachicola in 1843 by John Brannen to his wife Mary, back home in New York, after  a "tolerably pleasant" passage of fourteen days.  The letter will be transcribed and a suitable method of display determined after consultation with archivists.


We have also acquired an antebellum bank note which features an Apalachicola paddlewheeler.  This item speaks to Apalachicola's historically significant cotton economy.  We look forward to Dr. Lynn Willoughby's talk on this subject on November 17.  Her book Fair to Middlin' is a fascinating read on the economic and social aspects of this era of the city's history.


A whiskey barrel from Georgia's first legal distillery, which was located in Albany, is another addition.  This piece will tie in nicely with some interesting stories we have to share on Apalachicola's prohibition era and aftermath.  It more than likely arrived here after being shipped down the Flint River on a paddlewheeler.


A 1920s ship's wheel, mounted on a brass stand, and brass binnacle (housing for ship's compass) are also new additions, pictured below.


Soon to be installed are several flat screen televisions which will display photo slide shows and videos.  These dynamic exhibits will allow us to easily update, enhance, and rotate content.  They will enrich current exhibits as well as provide the cornerstone for new exhibits in process.






Staff Contacts

Founder & Chairman

Research & Education Director

Operations Manager

Wooden Boat School Director

Museum Phone
(850) 653-2500

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