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East End Seaport Museum kicks off season with new grand marshal, Tall Ships, Bug Light exhibits

The East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation kicked off the summer season at a grand opening this weekend spotlighting new exhibits, programs, and this year’s grand marshal for the 2015 Maritime Festival.

The event featured the brand-new Tall Ships exhibit, coordinated by Museum Trustee Lynn Summers and her husband George; nine educational panels illustrating the construction of the L’Hermione reproduction and the life of General Lafayatte. The ninth panel, illustrating the L’Hermione’s Long Island history, was delivered Saturday.

At the event, Summers said she grew up in Philadelphia, where the Continental Congress met upon the L’Hermione in 1781, so the voyage has great meaning.

Tall Ships history unfolds

The Marquis de Lafayette sailed in the French frigate “Hermione” on march 19, 1780 and after a 38-day passage, arrived in Boston, then reporting to Washington and Philadelphia. He later worked with George Washington and victory was achieved on October 19, 1781 against the British. Lafayette was honored for his devotion to the American cause. He was a dynamic man who was “adored,” Summers said.

His motto, “Cur non,” or “Why not?” is “the village of Greenport should adopt,” she added.

Greenport Village Trustee Julia Robins attended the event and gave a history of each of the Tall Ships headed to Greenport for the Tall Ships 2015 festival, which takes place July 4 to 7. The Hermione, she said, will arrive in Greenport on July 7 for two days.

A Captain’s Reception will be held at Brecknock Hall on Friday, July 3; tickets cost $30, former Mayor David Nyce said.

“I think it will be a fabulous celebration, focusing on what’s important about Greenport and our maritime history. This Museum is the keeper of our maritime heritage,” Robins said. She said the festival would be a great event for the village and urged others to spread the word and invite guests to see the Tall Ships.

Also on display is a fleet of 14 model ships from the Museum’s permanent collection, which were brought back from Brecknock Hall in time for the festivities, the “small ships” set up to honor the Tall Ships.

The ships, said Museum board member Tedd Webb, were created by an engineer named Dick Tracy who painstakingly breathed life into the vessels, although he’d never been on the water.

Pre-sale tickets to the Tall Ships visit will be available for purchase beginning on Saturday.

Model yacht racing ahead

The Seaport Museum also will be offering a special, interactive program to complement the Tall Ships visit through the East End Model Yacht Club. Sailors and sail enthusiasts of all ages are invited to enjoy racing and tactical demonstrations. Model yacht racing is scheduled for the third Saturdays through September, under the helm of Seaport member Ed Chimney.

Those interested in the model yachts can rent one for the day, sponsor a boat, or buy one at the Museum.

On display is a century-old model pond sailing vessel, a recreation of the “J-Class” yachts that sailed in the America’s Cup event. Years ago, men would push off the model sailboats then ride horseback to the other side of the pond to see who’d win.

The model was based on the Shamrock V, built by Sir Thomas Lipton to race in the America’s Cup, and although the vessel lost, the legacy lives on, with Lipton’s grandson donating the model now on exhibit at the museum. Greenport also has a tie to the Vanderbilt family; resident George Monsell was a captain on his boat, providing the village with a link to the America’s Cup event. The Shamrock V has since been restored.

On display above the model is a remote-controlled boat much like those that will be used outside the Museum by the club this summer.

Bug Light exhibit

Also at Saturday’s opening, the induction of the Bug Light room, dedicated to the Seaport Museum’s stewardship of the Long Beach Bar, or “Bug”, Lighthouse. The room is filled with information on Bug Light, as well as fascinating artifacts from the original Lighthouse.

New Grand Marshal introduced

One of the highlights of the event was the introduction of new grand marshal Pat Mundus for this years Maritime Festival, which will take place September 25 to 27.

Mundus, who will present a segement of the Seaport Museum’s Thursday lecture series on July 23 at 7 p.m., “Sailing Successfully Through A Man’s World,” is a “self-titled Montauk dock rat,”New York Maritime Academy graduate, and woman who spend 17 years in a man’s world aboard a tanker. She’s currently the owner of East End Charters LLC, and a member of the Village of Greenport planning board.

“She single-handedly brought the ‘maritime’ back to the Maritime Festival,” said 2015 Maritime Festival Chairwoman Arlene Klein. “We’re very, very proud to have her be the face of the festival.”

Mundus said she all she did was to “connect the existing history of Greenport” to the festival and said last year’s grand marshal, Otto Schoenstein, left “big shoes to fill.” Filmmakers Tony Bettler and Marla Milne, who produced a film about Schoenstein for last year’s festival, will produce a similar film about Mundus this year.

Recently, the Museum also presented its newly refurbished saltwater aquarium.

The Museum will also offer a full schedule of Lighthouse tours, beginning on June 18. For information on all events and tours, click here.

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