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April 20, 2018

Maine Maritime Museum to celebrate relaunching of historic fishing schooner

Courtesy / Maine Maritime Museum
Courtesy / Maine Maritime Museum
Shipwright Aaron Freeman at work on the Mary E restoration at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath in July 2017.

About Maine Maritime Museum

Maine Maritime Museum, located at 243 Washington St. in Bath, celebrates Maine's maritime heritage and culture in order to educate the community and a worldwide audience about the important role of Maine in regional and global maritime activities. Founded in 1962, the museum has twice been named one of the best maritime museums in the world. Its campus, located on the Kennebec River in Bath, encompasses the only remaining 19th-century wooden shipyard where large wooden sailing vessels were once built.

Maine Maritime Museum in Bath plans to celebrate the full restoration of the 1906 schooner Mary E, the oldest Bath-built vessel still sailing, by hosting a public recommissioning ceremony as the vessel is launched into the Kennebec River on June 9.

Built in Bath in 1906 and restored in 1965 on the grounds of what is now Maine Maritime Museum, Mary E is a two-masted clipper schooner and the oldest surviving Maine-built fishing schooner. The museum purchased Mary E in early 2017.

Last April, when Mary E arrived in Bath from its former home in New York, the museum announced its plans to complete the major restoration of the vessel that began in 2006 under its previous owner's collaboration with the Long Island Maritime Museum. Soon after, a team of shipwrights, led by renowned master shipwright Andros Kypragoras, began working year-round on the Mary E's restoration, replacing all its frames, replanking the hull above the waterline, reframing and planking the deck and replacing the engine.

The museum is in the midst of a $2 million fundraising campaign to fund not only the acquisition and restoration, but also ongoing maintenance to assure Mary E continues sailing for many years.

Public celebration

Photo / Deb Dawson
Photo / Deb Dawson
Shipwright Andros Kypragoras surveys the progress of the restoration of the 1906 fishing schooner Mary E in February at the Maine Maritime Museum.

Maine Maritime Museum has designated June 9 as "Mary E Commissioning Day" and will offer reduced admission ($6 for adults, kids 12 and under free) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a day of special events to celebrate the historic schooner's return to the Kennebec for the third time in its long career.

It will be the first opportunity for the public to board the Mary E at the museum and docents will be providing dockside tours and sharing stories from its colorful history.

The event will also feature live music, demonstrations and kids' activities.

Following it launching, Mary E will make its permanent home at Maine Maritime Museum. The schooner will spend the majority of the 2018 season, from June to October, at the dock to give the museum's 50,000-plus annual visitors an opportunity to go on board.

Mary E is also scheduled to sail to special events around the state serving as an ambassador of Maine's maritime heritage, including the Boothbay Windjammer Festival and Portland Schoonerfest.

A gala fundraising event will be held at the museum on Friday, June 8. For details, go here.

Read more

Maine Maritime Museum welcomes home the Mary E

Oldest Bath-built wooden vessel acquired by MMM

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