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Discussion Starter #1
I'm sure you are wondering why I would be writing about a "Museum"....well first of all I think it is extremely interesting of what it offers....and also the amount of 'ship data' that accompanies and encircles these sailing vessels. Hopefully it will be informative as well as interesting to you, so don't sell it short until you give this short article a glance.

The Seaport Museum founded 1967 by Peter and Norma Sanford, originally opened as a museum with the intent to conserve the historic ships and buildings reflecting the seaport's heyday from 1820 to 1880. Today, the museum section includes a twelve-square-block historic district with a cobblestone street and the Schermerhom Row of historic buildings. The South Street Seaport Museum is home to a large collection of historic vessels dating back to 1885. The smaller vessels at the port are: Pioneer, a 1885 schooner; the Ambrose Light ship, 1908; the Helen McAllister, a 1900 tugboat; the W.O. Decker, a 1930 tugboat, and the 1932 Chandler Lighter Marion M. All of these boats have been designated National Historic Landmarks by the National Park Service.

If you care to give this a go...just click HERE

5,144 Posts
Hi Bud, can You give Me any information on the Sailing Ship "Peking". It was rumoured that She maybe on Her way to Hamburg which in actual fact is Her home where She was built but I believe that has all fallen through. I have an idea that the South St Sea Port museum are struggling with the finances for Her upkeep. I just hope that She doesn't end up on the scrap heap?.

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Tony.........I tried to find some recent news on the "Peking" as well as a couple others in the article, but so far I have come abreast of "any" up-to-date, which is usually the case ....but if I come across anything I'll be sure and post it. Many times when I'm researching other nautical subject matter I run across something that I've been 'hunting' for...several months back. So one never knows.

5,144 Posts
Thanks for that Bud. I had the pleasure visiting the Museum back in 1991. Spent the afternoon aboard the "Peking". I was a Boy Trainee in Her back in 56/58 when She was the TS Arethusa.

1,384 Posts
I received this email about the aftermath of Sandy had on the South Street Seaport in the beginning of this year.

"Celebrating Surviving Sandy – South Street Seaport Reopens with Two New Exhibits
Posted: 16 Jan 2013 02:02 PM PST
When I first visited New York’s South Street Seaport in the early 70s, it
was a fairly lonely place. There was no shopping mall on Pier 17 and the
high-end chain-stores like Guess, Abercrombie and Fitch and Brookstone had
not yet been attracted to the historic buildings along Fulton, Water and
Front Streets. Many of the old warehouses and boarding houses were still
Last night at the Seaport, I had a strong sense of déjà vu. After
Superstorm Sandy, most of the stores are still boarded up and dark. The one
bright light, both figuratively and literally, was the South Street Seaport
Museum which held an Opening Party, celebrating the post-Sandy reopening of
the Museum at 12 Fulton Street and the Bowne Printers at 209 Water Street,
next to the reopened Bowne and Company. The Museum also opened two new
exhibits, “A Fisherman’s Dream, Folk Art by Mario Sanchez” and “Street
When Superstorm Sandy hit downtown New York in late October, the historic
ships of the South Street Seaport Museum, including the windjammers Peking
and Wavertree rode out the 14 foot storm surge without damage, due, in large
part, to the efforts of the Museum’s Waterfront Director, Captain Jonathan
Boulware and his crew of volunteers who rigged storm moorings for the ships.
While the ships floated on the surge, the museum ashore did not do as well.
The Museum was inundated with six feet of oily water, which as well as
creating a huge mess, also destroyed the heating system, air conditioning,
elevators, escalators and the electrical systems. A small army of
volunteers and contractors have worked tireless to clear the buildings up
and to restore essential services. The electricity is on, though
the elevators are still not working. Of course, as Museum President, Susan
Henshaw Jones, noted, the buildings were built in the 1800s before
the advent of elevators and the stairs still work as well as they ever did.
Ms. Jones also commented that she had “discovered her new favorite
four-letter word beginning in F – FEMA.”
New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand to help celebrate the
museum opening. He said he noted a similarity between Captain John Paul
Jones and Susan Henshaw Jones. When Captain Jones was asked during the
Battle of Flamborough Head whether he was giving up, he is said to have
responded, “I have not yet begun to fight.” The mayor said that he felt the
spirit of Captain Jones in Susan Henshaw Jones, and that the Museum also had
only begun to fight and would lead the recovery of the entire district.

In 2011 the South Street Seaport and the condition of the Peking was in rough condition according to this article: "High Anxiety Over Fate of Seaport Museum and Its Ships

By Jessica Terrell

Michael Abegg stands on the short stretch of shore between Piers 15 and 16, gazing up at the tall ship Peking, its four yellow masts stretching toward the sky until they seem to disappear into a thick mid-morning fog.

“She’s the museum’s most iconic ship and she will be—should be—celebrating her centennial this year,” the former Seaport Museum New York captain said wistfully. Then he points to the yellow bowsprit stretching above the dock. “There’s a couple of places in this bowsprit you can put your hand in. It’s just rusted through.”

From a distance, the Seaport Museum’s tall ships near South Street—rising as if out of the city’s 19th-century past against the Lower Manhattan skyline—are a vivid reminder of the island’s long-lost maritime history. Up close, the vessels’ cracked portholes and rusting hulls are a stark warning of the 44-year-old museum’s fragile future.

Indeed, with its finances in near ruin, the museum, to many, appears poised to go under. Its leaders, retreating behind a wall of silence as they negotiate with the city, only add to the sense of despair.

“If we lose those ships, we lose the Seaport,” said John Fratta, chair of Community Board 1’s Seaport Committee, at a tense meeting in June attended by more than 100 people who had come hoping for news of the institution.

The museum, created in the 1960s to salvage the area’s historic buildings and create an open-air cultural maritime center, is no stranger to financial distress. But it has never been in such dire straits. Half its staff is laid off, its galleries and print shop are closed, and its working ships remain tied to their docks.

Volunteers say inept leadership is at fault, while museum leaders put the blame on the recession and impact of Sept. 11.

“The Seaport Museum is not the only cultural institution that is financially challenged in New York,” said Harold Reed, a CB1 member who also serves on the museum’s board. “I believe the museum is going to come back and be just fine. I just think it’s going to take time and some patience. The city is going to help.”

While museum leaders are looking to the financially strapped city for salvation, dozens of volunteers, calling themselves Save Our Seaport, are rallying support for the museum by speaking out at meetings, gathering petitions, asking city officials to intervene, and holding on to the belief that with enough people behind them, the last traces of the city’s sailing past can be saved.

“The terrible irony of New York is that at the moment it’s unveiling and implementing one of the most far-reaching waterfront plans in its history, it’s having its crown jewel getting tarnished and is in danger of losing it,” said Roland Lewis of the Waterfront Alliance, referring to a recently announced 10-year plan for some 520 miles of shoreline.


Peter Stanford, who founded the museum in 1967, has witnessed the institution’s many past financial struggles, but none, he said, were like this.

“One of the values we learn about seafaring is you run a tight ship,” Stanford said. “Things are in order. You walk aboard and you can smell a ship that is properly operated. If she’s dirty or messy, or things are not in good order—that’s a hell of a message.”

Several of the museum’s eight ships—including the Peking, the Marion M. and the Ambrose—are rotting or rusting. Grass and moss grow in corners of the Peking’s deck where spots of rotting wood have turned into topsoil. A much diminished staff does the maintenance work.

Volunteers say they have seen a surveyor’s report that states that the Peking’s bowsprit, which extends above the bustling pier, is in danger of collapsing—and could bring the ship’s massive web of rigging down with it. That report is not independently confirmed. The museum’s spokesman declined to comment on the bowsprit’s condition.

The most withering criticism of the museum is often leveled at President and CEO Mary Pelzer, who volunteers say lacks the experience to meet the financial challenges of the job.

Pelzer, now in her early 30s, served as general counsel for the museum soon after graduating from law school. Around the same time she served as president of the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Chapter for the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association.

Reed disagrees with her critics. He said that Pelzer has done a commendable job, but the layoffs have created frustration.

“I think there are a lot of bitter people who are causing a fuss,” Reed said. “I don’t think it’s doing any good.”

Pelzer and the museum’s chairman Frank Sciame, a major developer in the area, have refused to comment, and have declined requests to appear before CB1 to discuss the museum’s problems.

“The Museum's leadership has been working diligently to tackle the Museum’s ongoing financial problems,” a museum spokesman said in a short statement sent to the Trib—the sole response to a request for information as basic as the number of employees at the museum. “We have had to take some difficult steps in the process, but we are confident that we are acting in the best interests of the Museum. The preservation and protection of the Museum’s collections continues to be of paramount importance.”

Pelzer’s and Sciame’s refusal to comment beyond brief statements has only inflamed community anger.

“This [museum] administration will not tolerate criticism,” Stanford said. “It will not welcome the help if it involves their having to learn from what people have to tell them.”

But the museum’s problems predate the current administration by decades.

“There are a few ways you can support these things,” said Peter Neill, who was president of the museum from 1985 to 2005. “One is endowment—we never had one. The second way is subsidy from the city—we never got one. Philanthropy we were working very hard to get, and there we were sometimes more successful and sometimes less.”

Running a cultural institution without subsidies or an endowment, he added, “is like having a four legged stool that’s missing two legs.”

When Pelzer came aboard as president in 2007, the institution was already struggling with funding cuts and a lagging number of visitors since Sept. 11.

“When Mary and Frank took over, the museum was in great trouble,” CB1’s Reed said. “No one was coming, the exhibits weren’t interesting. There was a new branding and business plan, there were lots of things that were happening.”

Pelzer organized new exhibits, hired a consulting firm to create a plan for the museum, and changed its name from the South Street Seaport Museum to the Seaport Museum New York. But revenue continued to decline, and by 2008, the museum was in deeper trouble.

“I think it’s part of the economic downturn,” Reed said. “People aren’t contributing as much.”

Stanford, who was forced out of his leadership role following a board coup in 1977, said he has lost faith in the museum’s leadership. “The structure that’s there has to be replaced with something better,” Stanford said.

Kirsten Johnsrad was working a 9-to-5 job on Wall Street in the mid-1990s, when she walked past one of the tall ships in South Street on a lunch break and asked about volunteering.

The experience of being welcomed aboard and setting sail for the first time was transformational: Johnsrad switched careers and is now a captain by trade, a salty mariner determined to do whatever it takes to save the museum’s working ships and give the sailing experience to city kids, especially disadvantaged ones.

“It’s eye-opening and life-changing to get these kids on the water,” said Johnsrad as she gazed at the Lettie G. Howard and lamented the absence of a sailing schedule for the schooner this year.

Stanford believes that the key to rescuing the museum lies with people like Johnsrad: if enough volunteers can be mobilized, and better programming can reengage the public, he said, maybe the museum can reinvent itself. Like Reed, he believes the city will come through with funding. But he questions whether it can reorganize itself and finally get on a sustainable path.

Stanford and others imagine a day when people will flock to the Seaport to set sail, learn knot-tying, sing maritime ballads, and be part of a living museum.

“We used to have a motto that ‘Other museums are for people, this museum is people,’” Stanford said. “I believe this museum can survive because I believe in New Yorkers.”

Captain Irving Johnson narrated a movie from the pictures and movie of the 1929 voyage around the Horn. This movie use to be on Youtube but was been removed due copyright problems. It is still available for purchase on Amazon.


5,144 Posts
I have a copy of this DVD.

10,666 Posts
hi old strawberry,sm,20th, sailing ship peking,you will find information,videos an pictures,on google.hope it helps.ben27
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