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8.5.12 The end of summer's 2nd Sentinels on the Sound Lighthouse Weekend drew ro a close with musician John Mock, whose spellbinding multimedia performance featured photography, story telling and truly lovely music played on the guitar, mandolin, concertina and penny whistle.
John Mock's concert, From the Shoreline, (above) was a fund-raiser for the museum's lighthouse fund and we just about sold out! Jphn also donated two cases of CDs, the sale of which will also benefit the lighthouse.
8.4.12 Lighthouse Weekend began with a series of three different lighthouse boat tours all leaving from the Custom House pier. Although, for the previous week, lightning and showers were predicted, we had a beautiful day. GOod thing, because people were counting on us!
The couple, far left, had their first date just one year ago at our first Sentinels on the Sound lighthhouse weekend. Taking the Ledge Light tour is now a way for them to celebrate the occassion.
The young women on the sofa are actually bride-to-be Hallie with her bevy of bridesmaids. They took the last trip of the day, the 4 o'clock Three Sisters tour of the harbor, visiting Abery Point, Ledge Light, and New London Harbor Light.
Again, we that Pat and John Kennedy, and their friend Carl, for providing the boat for the tours as well as the floating dock system at the lighthouse beach. Once again, it worked without a hitch.
Project Oceanology ran a single tour on Saturday out to the new visitors center at New London Ledge Light. It broughta lively bunch to the CUstom House, as the boat holds 40 (See photo below left.) This is a good way to start the trip as the museum contains the original Fresnel lens and original fog horn from Ledge Light.
We always work to improve our lighthouse exhibition... This past week, Studio 33 framed several prints we have from an 1854 US Lighthouse Service report. The print above shows the glass prism pattern of a first-order Fresnel lens.
Our first tour of the day was to New London Harbor Light - a 15-minute boat ride to New London Harbor Light, a walk up 119 steps to the tower's lantern, a pause to take in the spectacular view, then down the steps and back on the boat. Guess who was on board?
Herel, at left, are the morning's first boat-tour passengers. Yes, that is who you think it is! What an exciting start to Lighthouse Weekend
Near left is NLMS treasurer Alan Lyons, who lead the lighthouse tours all day. In addition to Tammy (Administrator for the Mayor's office) & daughter Emma,Mayor Finizio and the Chief of Staff Glover, we also had two new visitors from Connecticut College.
Below: this was the view down the alley on Lighthouse Weekend.
8.3.12 While we missed a terrific document on ebay last week, we managed to purchase this small 'New London, Connecticut" ceramic paddler, shown below posed upon a print by Mark Shasha.
8.2.12 The Groton shoreline has a lot to commend it, Paul's Pasta leading the list. Here are some details from along Thames Street. However, the lobster pots are from a favorite dining spot that's west of the Thames - Captain Scott's Lobster Dock.
This is the view of New London from the east bank of the Thames.
At bottom is the full-moon view on Saturday night looking out from Groton Long Point.
8.11.12 A long night -- but a lot of fun. We were the venue for a going away party, which ran until near midnight. Wonderful food (East Coast Catering), new people in the museum. What could be better?
8.11.12 The day started badly -- with a news item stating that architectural debris had fallen from the building across the street -- exactly where we have our new pop-up gallery. For the time being, that entrance & half the street, are closed (see below left).
Both of the day's volunteers at the museum called to say they were not feeling well..., so we did an unusual thing: we closed the museum for the day. There already was plenty of work to be done preparing for the night's rental -- a going away party.
The photo far left shows how things went on Bank Street today -- traffic, falling debris, and a policewoman writing a parking ticket--and on a Saturday!
8.9.12 Kathryn Smyth visited the Custom House today because it is an active custom house--in fact, we are the oldest continously-operating custom house in the country! A former US Customs and Border Patrol agent, Kathryn brought us some unusual items:: two women's US Customs uniforms and photos and news clippings of herself working in customs at Bradley Airport. She also had a newspaper article about customs at the airport and customs documents and a uniform catalog. (We will need that catalog to order a woman's hat to complete the uniform.) Ms Smyth's donations will bring an added dimension to our display.
The photos at left show Kathryn at the museum holding a photo from the 1970s. That actual photo is shown mid left, (and Kathryn is the agent second to the right). Near left is Kathryn modeling one of the uniforms--the most-recent. It's patch reflects US Customs having been incorporated into US Homeland Security following 9/11.
8.7.12 Earlier this week, Ryan, a volunteer, & I made the rounds of New London. Here are photos of someof the things we noticed: Just below moving left: our train station display was in need of replenishment -- a good sign!;
8.7.12 cont. Above: strikers at New London AT&T who are worried their jobs are being out-sourced; the 'new' oldest courthouse in the state, its rennovation almost complete; and far left - tourists at the Whale Tail Fountain.
There always is something new to see in downtown New London.
8.11.12 Make History!
Did you know you can rent the Custom House?
(Here,for example, is the scene last Saturday night.)
Our museum is open just four hours per day, six days each week. What happens the rest of the day? There is museum work going on behind the scenes, and we do host special tours, school groups, classes and workshops...
But much of the time, the museum is available as a venue for private functions.
We have hosted private seminars, birthday parties, special meetings and (see left and below) a going away party.
Ckick HERE to learn more about rental opportunities--inside and out--at the Custom House.
Below: a photo of an indoor birthday party held recently at the Custom House.
8. 16. 12 Archibald J.A. Chester, Jr, was our living link to the history of New London; his ancestors included both the first colonial child born in the county and the founder of New London's West Indies trade.
Archie wanted nothing more than to share the area's rich maritime history with others -- especially young people. Here, above, in 2010, he tells a class visiting the museum from Jennings School about his grandfather's building of the Grandma Sue.
Archie likely was the last witness to New London's storied Jibboom Club (he visited there as a teen), and he was the force behind resurrecting that group as a monthly Gam at the Custom House.
A generous supporter of the Custom House Maritime Museum and its library (we dedicated the Archibald J. Chester, Jr Reading Room earlier this summer), he introduced themuseum to his marine-minded friends, who then also generously contributed to our collections.
When asked how he was doing, 'Fair to middling' was Archie's characteristic response. Unfailingly optimistic and always brimming with big ideas for the Custom House, Archie was, in fact, one in a million, and he will sorely be missed.
8.15.12 Thanks, originally, to Archie Chester, who introduced model maker Bob Stewart to the museum, who then introduced his friends at the Connecticut Ship Modelmakers Society to the museum, this week, the model-makers group paid us a visit. They came to 'adopt' several ship models in need of repair. In all, four models, ranging from a small whale boat to a large battleship, will be cleaned and repaired over the next several months.
Wednesday also was the last day for our Waterford high school volunteers, twins Ronnie and Ryan Newberry. Each student donated 53 house of volunteer time at the Custom House this summer and it has helped us tremendously.
8.18.12 Left, the dismantling/auction of the Mallory home on Saturday--site of generations of authentic local sea-faring history in Mystic. If ever a residence with its contents should have been preserved and maintained as a house museum, this was it.
The 19th-c painting far left sold for $43,000 and is thought to be a young Charles Mallory.
8.20.12 The Custom House interior is entirely painted a pale ochre color -- every room has the same cream-toned walls with white ceilings. This scheme is based upon a comment in the original 1833 Robert Mills folio, in which the architect suggests painting the walls with a buttermilk-like mixture containing a tint of ochre. However, in doing some paint analysis, it appears there was more ocher used in the original application--ther walls were a darker shade, and there were, in fact, many more colors used on the walls than that through the long history of the building.
Today, to enliven the entryway and make things fresh, we made a change & painted the walls a rich coral hue. A couple of mmonths ago, Scott added some green waves to the walls beings our deep-sea diving helmets. We love it, and it's only paint!