The Woods Hole Historical Museum’s biennial Model Boat Show will be held on Patriot’s Day Weekend, April 18 & 19. This will be the 10th biennial Model Boat Show, a festive and impressive way of marking the end of winter. The Show was started by sailors who love boats, but find April too early to work on a boat in the yard or to go sailing. But the model boats are just right to satisfy a craving for things nautical in the very early spring. These people come to the Show in droves to celebrate the art and craft of boats built on a small scale, and some are lucky enough to be offered a chance to sail one of the radio-controlled boats in Eel Pond.
This celebration of small ships is an opportunity to view exquisite workmanship. Some of the vessels are so small they can fit inside a light bulb, most are much larger, ranging from 12 in. to 12 ft. Most have fine detail. Some are stationary, exhibited inside; others go into the water. Some are powered only by the wind, yet steered by radio control.
The boats will be exhibited in seven buildings ashore, stretched from the Museum’s own building and down the length of Water Street, and in two locations on the water. One of these watery sites is a shallow pool created especially for this weekend, where children are invited to sail models they have built themselves. The other water site is in Eel Pond, where radio-controlled boats will be sailed and raced in easy view from the drawbridge. These events take place almost constantly through the two days of the Show.
Another very appealing feature of the Show is that many of the craftsmen stay onsite and are happy to talk with the public about their models. Some work on their projects during the Show and will explain their techniques. This year — for the first time — there will also be a Dockyard Sale. The sale will be an opportunity for modelers to sell gear they no longer need and to buy gear from other modelers.
Within the Show are a series of illustrated talks. This year they will include a professional modeler who specializes in restoring antique ship models, and a father and son modeling team whose company designs state-of-the-art sails for full sized sail boats, most famously the America’s Cup challenger from New Zealand. In their spare time, they delight in building scale replicas about 6 ft. long that they race in competitions in Connecticut. Also, an engineer from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who designs and builds small remotely operated submersibles will talk about his work, marking parallels to model boats.
This is the tenth time the Museum has held this festive event, and it is rumored to be the last of a good run, so if you have been meaning to attend but have never gotten around to it, be sure to come this year. Tickets, which are good for both days, are $ 12 for adults, $ 5 for kids, or $25 maximum for nuclear families.
Anyone who builds model boats and who would like to exhibit at this festive event should either call the Museum at 508-548-7270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyone who has ever been tempted to attend should come this year to be sure to be part of this celebration of boats built on a small scale.
For more information, call the Museum at 508-548-7270.
The Museum will open for the 2015 season Monday April 13th.
April 13th – May 31st hours will be 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Monday through Saturday and Sunday 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
There are so many fun things to do in summertime on Cape Cod, but one of my favorites is a visit to the Woods Hole Historical Museum in Woods Hole, MA. This small gem of a collection is housed in an adorable 18th century farmhouse draped with rambling roses and accompanied by an equally charming barn filled with old sailboats, models and memorabilia.
This season, there are two exhibits at the Woods Hole Museum — one on the history of businesses in the village and the other a series of life-like drawings of fish and sea creatures by James Prosek, a noted artist, author and naturalist. His paintings are incredible, and made me think of a modernist Audubon. See more on his work here.
I took a special interest in the “Businesses of Old Woods Hole” exhibit, as I recently gave a talk on being an entrepreneur in the village of Woods Hole so I am aware of some of the incredible leaders that have made this little village what it is today. Lining the walls are biographical material and photos of small-town luminaries such as Elijah Swift, Walter Luscombe, Prince Crowell and others who built whaling ships, created the guano factory that once operated here, started the first banks and more. It’s really interesting (and inspiring!) to think about the challenges they faced, especially as so much has changed since then.
There are a few exhibits that never change at the Woods Hole Historical Museum — the small boat museum is essentially an old barn lined with the hulls, models and detritus of small wooden sailboats. There is a retired mirror dinghy (this class of boat developed in the 1930’s is still sailed on Saturday mornings at the Woods Hole Yacht Club), a Hereshoff or two and more. Best of all is a moment in the cool shade of this quaint barn, looking out at the sunny Cape Cod weather just thinking about all the happy hours sailors spent on these vessels before they were retired to this perfect spot.
There is also a model of the village of Woods Hole, a brilliant creation of miniature houses, docks, ships capturing Woods Hole in the 1890’s. It was made one winter by a crew of enterprising villagers, and it offers a birds eye perspective on the village that is well worth seeing.
When you come to Cape Cod in summer, don’t miss a visit to the Woods Hole Historical Museum located at 579 Woods Hole Road. Check their website for access and hours which are significantly greater in the summertime.