Personally, I find that one of the great treats of having the WoodenBoat Show at Mystic is being able to go and have a good wander around in the Rossi Mill Building. For those who aren't familiar, the Rossi Mill is where Mystic Seaport stores all of those artifacts that they don't have room for in their exhibits. It's basically like your grandparent's attic - a bit dirty and dark - but packed. Those historical tidbids that are locked away in that attic are precious and beautiful in their own way. Typically, admission to the Rossi Mill archives are by appointment only so this is a real treat. In my opinion, this is an under-attended part of the show. I apologize if the pictures are a bit difficult to see - it's hard to get good pictures in there.
This gives you a good idea of the environment:
Boats are stacked up three and four high on racks and every which-way that they can manage to get them in. There are also rowing shells, engines of various varieties, and other nautical artifacts.
This little gem is Butternut, a lapstrake double-paddle sailing canoe designed and built by Pete Culler. Remember the list?
All of the boats are kept in the condition that they were originally donated to the collection for good or for bad. Tags identify the year that the boat was acquired and a number which identifies the order in which they came in that year. Chipped paint, rot, torn canvas, and deteriorating finish is all part of the charm. Here's a bit of alligatored varnish I came across:
Compare the picture below to yesterday's post - just some new canvas and a bit of varnish...
I enjoy finding little treasures like the deck below - they are good examples for my students to look at when they're thinking about how to finish their own canoes.
This is Kestrel, a sailing canoe designed by W.P. Stevens. One of the very early canoes raced in ACA racing.
Below is a Rushton Nomad sailing canoe with flush lap construction. These canoes were built without canvas and depended on the varnish and the skill of the builder to keep the laps watertight !
So many treasures, so little time.