AC72 is here!!

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On January 30th the AC72 finally arrived!  It was met with great excitement by our staff and might now be the most photographed object in the collection since we all had our camera phones out.  The delivery came by way of three trucks, two we unloaded that morning and one that arrived later in the day.

The first piece to be unloaded was the central pod.  It was an incredibly tight fit, but they managed to get it in.  Small doors at a boat museum do not work well.  What followed were the forward and aft crossbeams, one of which was so wide that it had to go through a different door and made it around a corner by a hair.  This thing is huge!  Then came the j-foils and a couple of smaller pieces.

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Removal Day

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Photograph by Brock Switzer

Although I already shared a picture of the Great Hall empty, it took quite a bit of effort to get the last few pieces out.  We hired Hampton Roads Crane and Rigging to help us out and, as usual, they did an excellent job.

The first of the three pieces to come down was the stern carving from the paddle wheel steamer Priscilla, in service from 1893-1938.  Until Commonwealth was built she was considered the finest steamboat around and could reach a speed of 22mph.  Below is a picture of the stern carving on the boat.

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Almost Ready

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This week we finished clearing all of the artifacts out of the Great Hall of Steam.  The room has been cleaned and painted and is now awaiting the arrival of AC72 from Oracle Team USA, which will be here Monday.  Meanwhile, the gallery has become an excellent place to host staff meetings.  We’ve also begun organizing the gallery where the ship models now live, which should be open in two months or (hopefully) less.  More updates to come!

New Year and Major Changes

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This year we have some big changes coming to our galleries.  In early December we closed Abandon Ship:  Stories of Survival, and a week or so later closed the Great Hall.  To make way for an awesome new exhibition about the America’s Cup that will be in the Great Hall, we had to move all of our beautiful ship models into the area where Abandon Ship was.

This area will then become our new Great Hall of Steam.  There will also be a few new models coming out to be displayed, including some of our smaller ones.  Our model makers will also be moving into a new space in this gallery.  All of this change has been interesting to watch as the Great Hall has pretty much looked the same since the 1930’s.

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