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Updated: May 23, 2024

Moosehead Marine Museum plans open house aboard the Katahdin steamship

Courtesy / Moosehead Marine Museum The Moosehead Marine Museum will receive $500,000 in federal funds to be used for the restoration of the historic Katahdin steamship, seen here on Moosehead Lake.

The Katahdin, a historic steamship that offers visitors tours of Moosehead Lake, has been undergoing a restoration project led by the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard.

The ship, which is affectionately nicknamed the Kate, is 110 years old this year — and unfortunately showing some signs of age.

Restoration work has been done in stages in the winter, as Mainebiz reported earlier this spring. In recent months, the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, which is part of Bristol Marine, replaced the upper deck. The work is done at the pier on Moosehead.

Last year, shipyard workers replaced the upper aft fantail deck. The next phase will involve replacement of the "green rail" and side decking.

This weekend, visitors will have a chance to see the work. 

The Moosehead Marine Museum will hold an open house on Sunday, May 26, from 2-5 p.m. Visitors will have a chance to go aboard the historic ship, and tours of the museum and the Katahdin will be given by staff and volunteers.

Fundraising campaign

To pay for the restoration, the museum has led a multiyear fundraising effort, the Keep Kate Cruising Campaign, to raise $2 million. Fundraising received a big boost with $500,000 in congressionally directed spending, getting it 78% of the way there.

The campaign received support from U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, who secured the federal grant. Donations have also come from individuals, foundations and businesses.

The Katahdin hosts 8,500 visitors a year. 

Steamship Katahdin under wraps on Moosehead Lake
Courtesy / Moosehead Marine Museum
The Moosehead Marine Museum is restoring the historic Katahdin steamship, at a cost of $2 million, including $500,000 in congressionally directed spending. Visitors are invited to tour the progress on May 26.

The shipwrights from the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard were hard at work all winter behind the white protective plastic wrap. In recent days, the covering has been removed, signaling the completion of phase 2.

Visitors making a $110 contribution will have their names placed in a drawing for tickets to Kate's birthday cruise in August, as well as other events. 

The Katahdin steamship at the pier on Moosehead Lake
Courtesy / Moosehead Marine Museum
Boothbay Harbor Shipyard sent workers to Moosehead Lake to work on the restoration of the Katahdin steamship.

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