LCMM Rowers at World Championships

Eleven rowers and two coxswains representing the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) recently competed in the world championship regatta for St. Ayle’s skiffs (“Skiffie Worlds”)  at Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland. The LCMM team competed with 41 other clubs totaling over 800 participants from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Great Britain, Netherlands, Canada, and Australia.

The regatta, sanctioned by the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association, unfolded over six days July 25-30 and featured age-grouped and open-age heats and finals over a 2000 meter course marked 15 lanes wide in a tidal estuary between the Quoille River and Strangford Lough (pronounced “lock”) near the scenic villages of Killyleagh and Strangford and the small city of Downpatrick, final resting place of St. Patrick.

In order to field a full roster, LCMM drew from two other coastal rowing groups from lining-upMassachusetts: four oarswomen from the Gloucester Gig Rowers and five rowers from the Hull Lifesaving Museum. For one race two oarswomen were “borrowed” from clubs in Scotland and Great Britain.

Being the only participants from the U.S., the LCMM team received special attention from the locals, other clubs and the press. Several LCMM rowers were interviewed by TV crews and photos of them appeared in local newspapers.  LCMM rowers were quickly “adopted” by two more experienced Scottish clubs:  taking shelter in the large tent of the Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club, and utilizing a skiff loaned to them by the Cockenzie & Port Seton Rowing Club.

last-raceThrough the week of the regatta, LCMM raced in a total of ten races. Their best single race result was a 7th place in the Finals of the 60+ Women’s division. In the points-based club competition, LCMM finished 25th of 42 clubs.

The St. Ayle’s Skiff is a traditionally-styled wooden open-water rowing boat, powered by four oars and steered by a coxswain. Most of the boats are hand-built by community rowing clubs in the United Kingdom who use them both for “social” rowing and weekend racing against their neighboring villages or clubs. Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (Ferrisburgh) boasts two of these craft, which are rowed weekly by a variety of rowers, young and old, in the museum’s “Community Rowing” programs.

Historic Abenaki Clothing and Accessories on View at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Through October 13, 2016


The special exhibit “Wearing Our Heritage” offers rare opportunity to see clothing worn by Abenaki men and women of earlier generations. Abenaki scholar and activist Frederick M. Wiseman has gathered original garments and accessories to assemble representative outfits like those worn by Abenaki men and women before 1850 as well as outfits for a man and a woman during in the 1900s through 1920s. The exhibit also includes examples of accessories such as moccasin tops, collars, head bands, needle cases and pouches.

The items in this exhibition were brought together through a decades-long process of research and discovery, and reveal a fascinating combination of local and international origins. For example, a necklace from a Central Vermont estate has a beaver pendant with the hallmark of Montreal silversmith Robert Cruickshank, suspended from a necklace of early nineteenth century trade beads that probably came from Africa.

Very few examples of work clothes are found in collections because they were worn out in heavy use, then handed down, and even the rags were re-used. Little remained even to be discarded, much less preserved. The man’s outfit from 1780-1850 includes a long, tunic-like linen shirt from Central New Hampshire with brass buttons dating from the War of 1812 era; eighteenth century moose hide leggings converted into trousers ca. 1810 at a farm in Lamoille County, Vermont; a wool trade blanket from Stowe; and an Assumption sash of finger-woven linen in an “arrow sash” pattern popular in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The woman’s outfit of this early era includes a hand stitched linen chemise; an “arrow sash” of finger-woven wool from Machias, ME; an early/mid 19th century mirror case of deer hide with porcupine quill and bead decoration; and an 18th/early 19th century “Montreal Cross” pendant necklace.

The second pair of outfits date from the late nineteenth century up to 1920. On garments of this era, fringes of cut cloth recall earlier clothing styles. A beautiful woman’s dress of cotton cloth from White River Junction, Vermont includes banded panels and yoke with geometric designs that echo mid-19th century Wabanaki applique work. The early 20th century man’s cut-cloth-fringe coat, headdress and leggings was used by Abenaki basket makers who lived in Essex Junction, Vermont and sold their wares on the Lake Champlain Islands.

The exhibit also includes examples of accessories from the late eighteenth century to mid-twentieth century. Early accessories include a brass bracelet probably fashioned from the rim of a cooking kettle in the eighteenth century; and a deer hide pouch, ca. 1780, decorated with porcupine quill embroidery, tin cones, beads, and dyed hair which served as a “pocket” for the wearer. A silver nose-ring and a trade brass hair ornament date to the early nineteenth century.  Later pieces in the exhibit reflect the growing market for American Indian beadwork among tourists. Beadwork styles from the Midwest and Niagara area spread into the Northeast, appealing to some people as souvenirs and to others as markers of Native identity. A mid-nineteenth century velvet reticule and an early twentieth century “Princess Crown” with Niagara style beadwork represent this era.

Orwell Glass at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Each July something very exciting happens at LCMM – the glassblowers arrive! From the beginning of July to the end of August, the fine folks at Orwell Glass set up shop on our campus in order to teach glassblowing to our visitors. For a small fee, anyone can learn to make ornaments & suncatchers that they can keep themselves! More advanced learners can try their hand at a glass tumbler.

Camille, one of the glassblowers with Orwell Glass, was kind enough to let our Video Production Camp film part of the process.

Eileen, one of our AmeriCorps members, also got to try their hand at glassblowing with Camille, and with a bit of help was able to make the ornament and suncatcher pictured below.

Orwell Glass will only be here for another week, so don’t miss out – book a session with them today! Visit to book a class. 

ROV Tech Lake Adventure Camp in Burlington

Earlier this summer we had young students build and fly their own remote operated vehicles (ROVs). Did you know that LCMM offers advanced ROV camps as well?

Students Gavin, Eli, River, and Colden test the equipment they have assembled, on board the Escape. Photo courtesy Eileen Leary.
Students Gavin, Eli, River, and Colden test the equipment they have assembled, on board the Escape. Photo courtesy Eileen Leary.

This August we had five students between the ages of 13 – 16 join us at the Waterfront Diving Center in Burlington to learn more about ROVs. During the week we visited world-famous ROV makers Greensea Systems, assembled a SeaBotix ROV, and flew it over the wreck of the Champlain II! Of course, we also took some time for fun, and spent lots of time in the lake snorkeling and swimming to cool off.

Students use the small screen to help them fly their ROV and view the shipwreck of the Champlain II. Photo courtesy Eileen Leary.
Students use the small screen to help them fly their ROV and view the shipwreck of the Champlain II. Photo courtesy Eileen Leary.

Is your young learner interested in STEAM, shipwrecks, and robotics? Consider enrolling them in one of our ROV camps next year!

Vergennes Middle School FUSION: History Under Your Feet

This past spring, LCMM educators and AmeriCorps service member Eileen led Vergennes Middle School students in a search for the history lying under their school grounds.

Starting with historic maps and current satellite imaging, students located a slaughter house on the edge of the school property.

Over the next few weeks, they dug a one meter by one meter test excavation, following standard archaeological practices. What they found was consistent with a late 19th/early 20th century building, and included glass, brick, burned material, nails, pottery, and even a decorated pipe bowl!

The students wrote a report on their findings, reprinted below.

“Report on archaeology at Vergennes Union High School during fusion after school program. May Two Thousand Sixteen. During the first day of archaeology we were looking at some maps. They were modern and old. We looked for a spot with no modern activity. We looked for a slaughter house that used to be next to the high school. To narrow down our target location we surveyed the ground around the school and dug two shovel test pits. One test pit showed modern landscaping. Test pit two showed 19 Century artifacts. After we found our site we decided to dig a 1 by 1 meter square pit. We found over 20 items that we cataloged including a pipe bowl, square nails, and burnt wood. Everything we found appears to be 19 century or early 20 century. We did not find anything directly linked to the slaughter house but we have found nails that could have been from a building from that time period. After completing our dig we examined the artifacts, sketch them, described, measured, and cataloged them. It is our professional opinion that this site should be studied further.” ~ Kenny, Ava, & Zack

Interested in archaeology at LCMM? We’ll be doing more archaeology programs soon, so watch this space!

L. Francis Herreshoff Lecture and Book Signing with speaker: Captain Roger Taylor

Tickets Here!
Order a copy of the book here.

L. Francis Herreshoff: Yacht Designer by Roger C. Taylor chronicles the life and work of the most remarkable yacht designer of his time. Meet the author at an illustrated lecture and book signing on Tuesday Oct. 18, 5-7:30pm. Proceeds benefit Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Education Programs.

About L. Francis Herreshoff: L. Francis Herreshoff was a remarkable yacht designer, known for his unconventional designs and his innovative engineering of hull and rig. He began his career in the shadow of his famous father, Nathanael G. Herreshoff. This publication, heavily illustrated with 166 plans and 124 illustrations including 9 foldout pages, tells a comprehensive story of his life. Volume one ends with his design of the unorthodox J-boat Whirlwind, a contender for the defense of the America’s Cup in 1930, a definite turning point in Herreshoff’s life and work. The forthcoming volume 2 will feature the famous cruising designs of his later career.
About the Author: Roger Taylor is familiar to many Champlain Valley residents as the captain of LCMM’s schooner Lois McClure and 1776 gunboat Philadelphia II. Taylor is a professional mariner with unusually wide experience, including a working familiarity with boats built to many of Herreshoff’s designs. He is the author of seven books on yacht design and seamanship. In his youth, Taylor was acquainted with Herreshoff, and as the founder of International Marine Publishing Company, he published Herreshoff’s Sensible Cruising Designs and An L. Francis Herreshoff Reader.
Mystic Seaport commissioned Taylor to write Herreshoff’s biography gave him access to the L. Francis Herreshoff Collection at the Museum. Taylor studied the entire collection of plans and letters, and consulted yachting books and magazines. He conducted dozens of in-depth interviews with Herreshoff’s relatives and friends and with owners of Herreshoff boats. The result is a highly readable book that provides insight into Herreshoff’s personality, the evolution of his designs, his sailing background, his reliance on intuition and proportion instead of mathematical or engineering calculations, and his stature among contemporary designers of that era.

Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center, 60 Main Street
Burlington, Vermont

Doors open at 5pm
5-6pm, Reception with light refreshments and cash bar.
Program begins 6pm

$15 LCMM Members
$25 Non-Members
$50 Patron, (listing in the program)

Tickets Here!

SeaPerch ROV Lake Adventure Camps, 2016

Lake-Adventure-Camps-500-200-1Two weeks of SeaPerch camps are done! Thank you campers! We had a great time, and wanted to share the videos taken by camper’s ROVs. Enjoy!

SeaPerch kits can carry a GoPro video camera and they bring back some fun footage from under the waves of Lake Champlain.  Check out even MORE photos over on our Facebook Page.

Week One Dive Footage


Week Two Dive Photos: During the Week Two dive we set the GoPro to photo burst mode to capture anything the ROV saw.



ROV “Dave” got stuck on the bottom of the lake and Operation Save Dave was formed to recover him.

SeaPerch Building with Mt Abe Middle/High School

During the Spring of 2016 a group of Middle and High School students at Mt. Abraham in Bristol, VT, build and flew SeaPerch ROV Kits. They learned how to fly Eva, LCMM’s LBV150 ROV, explored a shipwreck on the bottom of Lake Champlain, built and pool tested their own ROV’s,and finally tested them in the Lake!

Learn How 26 pieces of lead changed the American Revolution

Learn How 26 pieces of lead changed the American Revolution

(Hint: they weren’t musket balls)

 DSC_2640Learn how 26 pieces of lead printing type changed the course of the American Revolution during an informative and entertaining discussion of colonial printers, their secrets, and their penchant for stirring up trouble for the Crown. At Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Rabble in Arms Weekend August 6-7, master letterpress printer Ronald Kermani will show how colonial printers set type, printed pamphlets by hand one at a time, and distributed these

thought-provoking anti-British missives throughout the colonies. “During the Revolution, the printing press was as powerful as the largest army in defeating the British,” Kermani asserts.

 During the program, Kermani will handset lead printing type and print Revolutionary War-style items on the museum’s vintage hand press.  Attend his session and you may receive a personalized printed souvenir of the Rabble in Arms weekend! Along the way, you can learn about the history of printing, the invention of moveable metal type and printing presses in Europe, and the introduction of the printing craft to the Colonies. Kermani became immersed in typography and printing while studying at Syracuse University. Along the way, he has taught graphic arts and letterpress printing, founded the award-winning Kermani Press, and amassed a sizeable collection of antique wood and metal foundry types which he donated to the Albany Institute of History and Art.

 KLJ_1117While the centerpiece of this event is LCMM’s replica 1776 gunboat Philadelphia, the Rabble in Arms weekend also provides a chance to see other eighteenth century skills in action, including encampment food preparation and open fire cooking presented by reenactors with years of experience in colonial cookery. Kids will have the chance to join the Colonial Army and learn musket drills (with wooden muskets of course), and much more! On-water battle demonstration at 1 pm each day brings to life the confrontation between rebelling colonists and British forces on Lake Champlain. Camp is open 10-5 Saturday and 10-4 Sunday.

 KLJ_1067Want to learn more about Nautical Archaeology? A selection of maps, documents, and photographs from the collection of Lake Champlain historian Peter Barranco provides glimpses into the Battle of Valcour Island, the War of 1812, Lake Champlain’s steamboats, and the ten-year sonar survey of Lake Champlain’s 300+ shipwrecks.

 KLJ_1057Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is open daily through October 9. Check online for Special admission package of Museum/Lunch/Cruise, and for more information about Courses and Workshops and “60 Minute Experiences” in glass blowing, blacksmithing, and metal work. Find out more about LCMM at, on Facebook, or call (802) 475-2022.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum at Lake Champlain Maritime Festival







Friday July 28, Saturday July 29 and Sunday July 30

Schooner Lois McClure, at Perkins Pier. Boarding hours 10am-4pm.

Step aboard Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s replica 1862 canal schooner, based on two historic shipwrecks in Burlington Bay. Explore the deck, cabin, and cargo hold, and view exhibit on the history of Burlington.


Saturday July 30

Champlain Longboats Rowing Opportunities, at Perkins Pier 10am-3pm

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s colorful 32’ rowing boats are built by students in the Museum Boat Shop, and used for After School Youth Rowing, Adult Community Rowing, and regional competitions. Learn the basics and go for a row! (Weather permitting)


Sunday Morning July 31

Log Rolling, at Burlington Boathouse 10am – 12:30 and 1-3pm

Danielle Rougeau, coach of the Middlebury College Log Rolling Club, demonstrates the traditional skill of maneuvering floating 12’ wooden and synthetic logs. Bring your bathing suit and try it for yourself! (Weather permitting)

Champlain Longboats Rowing Opportunities, at Perkins Pier 10am-2pm

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s colorful 32’ rowing boats are built by students in the Museum Boat Shop, and used for After School Youth Rowing, Adult Community Rowing, and regional competitions. Learn the basics and go for a row! (Weather permitting)

Lake Champlain Sailing Center’s Water Works Fair

Waterfront Park, adjacent to ECHO, 10am-2pm

Visit Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s shoreside activity at the Water Works Fair. Complete five activities to earn a voucher for a ride in the Champlain Longboats at Perkins Pier. (Weather permitting)