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Woods Hole Historical Museum: Model Boat Show

April 18, 2015 - April 19, 2015


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 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.


April 18, 2015
April 19, 2015
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Woods Hole Historical Museum
(508) 548-7270


Woods Hole Historical Museum
579 Woods Hole Road
Woods Hole, MA 02543 United States
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