Baltimore Maritime Museum

Behind the Scenes

September 27, 1998|By Karin Remesch

Mission: To preserve the World War II submarine USS Torsk, the Coast Guard cutter Roger Brooke Taney, the Lightship Chesapeake and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, and to educate the public about the rich maritime history of the lighthouse and each vessel - all National Historic Landmarks.

With 11,884 career dives to its credit, the USS Torsk is the last warship to sink an enemy vessel in WWII. The Torsk also served with NATO in the Lebanon crisis of 1960 and enforced the blockade in the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The Taney is the only warship still afloat that saw action during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. The 327-foot cutter served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Commissioned in 1930, the 133-foot Lightship Chesapeake served as a communications center, weather station and search and rescue platform in the Atlantic before being transferred to the Chesapeake Bay in 1933, where it guided mariners as a floating lighthouse for 29 years.

The Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, built in 1856, is the oldest surviving screw pile lighthouse built to aid navigation on Chesapeake Bay. For 133 years, the lighthouse marked the shoal known as Seven Foot Knoll.

Latest accomplishments: Management of the Baltimore Maritime Museum was taken over by the Living Classroom Foundation in 1996. Since then, the three vessels and the lighthouse have been restored and repainted. Educational programs were developed for students to familiarize them with the story of American naval power and enterprise from 1930 to 1986.

On the horizon: Connecting all maritime attractions within Baltimore's harbor and packaging them into the National Historic Seaport to make them more easily accessible for tourists. For one admission price, visitors would have access to water transportation and entrance to all historic maritime sites, including the USS Constellation, the Maritime Museum, Fells Point, Canton, Fort McHenry and the Museum of Industry. Opening for the seaport is planned for next spring.

About the museum: Attendance: 165,000 annually. Operating budget: $700,000.

Where and when: Pier 3, Pratt Street. Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ticket booth closes 30 minutes before ships close. Call 410-396-3453.

William R. Smith, chairman of the Advisory Committee: "Since management of the Maritime Museum has fallen under the auspices of the Living Classroom Foundation, the ships have become 'alive' again not only for tourists, but also for thousands of school students. ... And once the National Historic Seaport opens, we hope it will rival the Freedom Trail in Boston."

Advisory Committee members:

Eamonn McGeady

John Magnus

Alan Walden

Pub Date: 9/27/98

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