Native Encampment at Champlain Maritime Museum

There will be a Native American Encampment event on Saturday and Sunday, June 19-20, 2010, 10am-5pm daily at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, 4472 Basin Harbor Rd, Vergennes, VT.

Dressed in clothing of earlier times, members of El-nu and Missisquoi Abenaki portray their ancestors and share traditional life skills, tools, clothing, personal adornments, and weapons used by Native Americans in the Champlain Valley through the centuries. Event includes traditional songs, cooking and camp skills, wampum readings, Native American weapons and armor, film showings and much more. Participating craftspeople combine archaeological evidence with personal expression to create beautiful and utilitarian objects.

Fredrick M. Wiseman, PhD will describe the sophisticated crafts and technologies of the region’s indigenous people and sign his newest publications, Champlain Tech, and Baseline 1609, which provide new insight into the region’s earliest and most enduring craft traditions.

Register in advance for on-water Paddle to Prehistory Sunday June 20. Information: 802 475-2022, [email protected],

Champlain Maritime Launches New Boat, Season

Months of planning and work in the boat shop at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum go public on Thursday May 20th with the launch of newly built 32’ rowing gig Harvest Moon. Seven students and three staff members from the Diversified Occupations Program at The Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury worked full time for five months this winter with museum staff and volunteers to build this magnificent boat. Harvest Moon will join LCMM’s fleet of ten other student-built rowing gigs serving over 500 youth in team rowing activities throughout the year.

The museum opened its doors for the 2010 season on Saturday May 22 with a bang – literally – hosting its second annual “Hammer-In,” an event for regional blacksmiths. Experienced and beginning blacksmiths gathered at LCMM’s new Rinehart Blacksmithing Arts Center to exchange information and expand their knowledge and skill. The museum offers additional blacksmithing courses for adults and teens during the summer.

Museum visitors of all ages are welcome to tour the museum grounds to visit the eighteenth century style forge and discover examples of ironwork on board replica 1776 gunboat Philadelphia II and schooner Lois McClure, beginning the season in port at the museum’s North Harbor.

The Hammer-In was chosen as a State of Craft Showcase event, celebrating Vermont’s craft traditions. The State of Craft is a multi-year collaborative initiative of the Vermont Crafts Council, the Bennington Museum, the Vermont Folklife Center, and the Vermont Division for Tourism and Marketing to document, preserve, and interpret the history of the contemporary crafts movement in Vermont.

From May 22 through May 31, the museum is offering an early season discount, two-for-one general admission. Museum members receive free admission throughout the year. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, located seven scenic miles from historic downtown Vergennes, is open daily from 10 – 5. Find more information on museum events, programs and exhibits at

Photo: Student boatbuilders work on 32’ rowing gig with instructor Lianna Tennal at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s boat shop.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Small Watercraft Fest

&#8220Messing About in Boats&#8221 the annual Small Watercraft Festival at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, August 8-9 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The festival is a celebration of clean, green, sustainable boating.

On Saturday morning at 11 a.m., explorers Samuel de Champlain and Henry Hudson will meet for the first time at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum &#8211 400 years after their first exploration of the region! The life-sized puppet of Hudson is traveling from Albany, NY in the company of Carol Margolis of the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center (, while Champlain will arrive in the company of Rebecca Goldberg of Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library. The great explorers will greet the public and are happy to share stories of their historic travels and recent adventures. Young visitors will also enjoy hands-on activities with smaller puppets of Henry Hudson and friends.

The festival has also been chosen by Black Dome Press as the official gala launch for the new book, &#8220A Kayaker’s Guide to Lake Champlain.&#8221 Authors Cathy Frank and Margy Holden will be at the museum at noon on Saturday, August 8, to describe their adventures paddling the entire perimeter of Lake Champlain. This journey of many summers has been transformed into a book filled with illustrations of &#8220fifty different watery paths of adventure.&#8221 Cathy and Margy will share photographs and memories of some of the best kayaking spots and unique water’s-edge views that the lake has to offer.

Throughout the weekend, the historic 1901 tugboat Urger, the flagship of the New York State Barge Canal fleet, will be in port at the Basin Harbor Club, next door to the Museum and a dozen boat makers will exhibit both classic and innovative small watercraft on the Museum grounds and offer try-outs at the museum’s waterfront. Middle Path Boats of Edinburg, PA, will bring for display and trial a 16’ fiberglass Skua rowing cruiser, which has the distinction of being the first sub-100 lbs., fixed-seat boat to win a major open-water rowing race in modern times. Edey and Duff of Mattapoisett, MA will privied an 11’ catboat for tryouts. The Little Boat Shop from Lincolnville Center, Maine, will be introducing an unique little electric boat and boat building program- Tim McShane of Vermont Electric Boat Works, Allburgh VT, is also bringing an electric boat for demonstrations. Concept II, Inc, will bring a four-person sectional, rowing tour boat. Little Creek Strip Canoes and Kayaks from Greensboro Bend, VT builders of canoes, kayaks, and wooden boats, and Skywoods Canoe, Scott Barkdoll of Shoreham, VT builders of wood and canvas canoes will also be exhibiting. Al Stiles will exhibit an ultralight canoe- and Classic Boatworks of Lake Placid will exhibit Adirondack Guideboats. Hillary Russell and his wife Jenny, of the Berkshire Boat Building School, will be putting together a skin-on-frame, double paddle canoe. Bob Dollar will demonstrate rope work.

Umiak/Canoe Imports will offer on-water demonstrations, and on Saturday they offer classes in elementary and intermediate kayaking skills. You can learn to make a paddle or a set of oars in the great workshops taking place throughout the weekend. A workshop in forging sculpture with Lynn Newcomb is offered in the Blacksmithing Arts Center. Sign up early to reserve your spot. Stop by to watch participants in the Family Boatbuilding Workshop craft a Bevan’s Skiff in three days – completed boats will be launched on Sunday afternoon.

On Saturday, kids and their families can design, build and launch a cardboard boat big enough to ride in, during the popular annual &#8220Duct Tape Regatta.&#8221 Start construction at 1:00 and be ready to launch at 3.

See a shipwreck without getting wet – archaeologists on board the tour boat Escape will take you to a shipwreck site and “dive” with a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) on Saturday at 1:00. Tour costs $22 for adults and $18 for children- seating is limited so advance registration is recommended. Call 802 475-2022 for information and to reserve your place.

Also on Saturday, a water taxi making morning and afternoon runs will link LCMM with the Westport Heritage Festival in New York.

Sunday includes the Lake Champlain Challenge Race &#8211 participants bring their own non-motorized boat, kayak, or canoe to compete in this three-mile race from the museum’s North Harbor. Registration begins at 10, the race begins at 11, and awards ceremony is held in mid-afternoon.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, located on the shore of Lake Champlain seven miles west of Vergennes, VT, is open daily from 10-5 through October 18, 2009. For more information, log on to or call (802) 475-2022.

VPR Looks At Historic Lake Champlain Sinkings

All last week Vermont Public Radio (VPR) has been running a series of reported entitled &#8220History Under the Waves&#8221 looking at five historic wrecks that lie at the bottom of Lake Champlain. Over 300 shipwrecks lie at the bottom of Champlain, and VPR looked at what sent five of them to their fates, including a Revolutionary War gunboat, a lake schooner, two steamboats, and a sailing canal boat. The reports also feature a photo gallery.

Much of what is known about the extend of underwater remains of Champlain shipwrecks comes from surveys conducted by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM). The LCMM has been instrumental in conducting archeological surveys and persuading New York and Vermont to establish the Lake Champlain Historic Preserve System in order to provide access for divers to some of the Lake’s historic shipwrecks. You can find a list of manning of the Champlain Shipwrecks at the LCMM Shipwrecks site.