Visitors will discover the stories of the captains, crew, and boat builders that were part of the maritime enterprise that carried up to 1,000,000,000 (yes, billion) bricks annually. The exhibit brings together for the first fascinating illustrations and items donated or loaned to the museum by descendants of brick boatmen and from other individuals and museums including the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, the Peabody Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts, the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, and the Historical Society of Rockland County.
A slide show documents the dangers of transporting brick by water. A short film of 1903 gives viewers a speedy trip on the Hudson River from Haverstraw to Newburgh. A unique three-foot model of a barge with cutouts on loan from the Reynolds Shipyard Corp. allows visitors to inspect the structural system used to carry the very heavy brick cargo.
Through Jan. 31 the exhibit is open during the museum’s regular hours, Wed., Sat., and Sun, 1-4 pm. Children are welcome. A gallery guide for children encourages them to find fascinating items in the exhibit and they can also build a “tow” with model boats.
Photo: On Minisceongo Creek, a “bricker,” a brick-carrying schooner, awaits its cargo of bricks from the Shankey brickyard. On board are brickyard workers as well as the brick boat’s crew. The two women, the wives of the captain and first mate, were likely part of the boat’s crew. They lived aboard and cooked, watched tides, pumped bilge water, and performed other tasks that required less strength. Photograph from de Noyelles, Within These Gates.