So What Do You See From the Ship?

What are Living History Cruises?   Living History itself is an educational way to look at history, by having people 'step back in time' through the use of period entertainment, historical reenactment and historical activities.  On our Living History Cruises, passengers will have access to most parts of the ship (while it's in action... remember, this is a 70+ year old ship that was made to last one voyage.  And there are only 2 operational ships out of over 2,700+ ships). Here are some things you will see on the ship itself... Passengers, entertainers, reenactors, crew, veterans.  Talk with the crew, other passengers and the entertainers.  If you see a veteran, ask them their story; the world loses it's veterans each day, and we want to keep their stories alive. 

But all of these things are the types of things you will see while you're on the ship.   You will also see many other things that are not on the ship.   Stay alert while you're having a great time, because there is so much to see and so many opportunities to witness

You will see the Key  Bridge as we go underneath it!

You will see the Key  Bridge as we go underneath it!

 
You  will see the Bay Bridge in the distance (not this close).   We used to go out past the Bay Bridge, but due to air show restrictions, we now stop in a wide open area before the Bridge and this is where we have the airshow. 

You  will see the Bay Bridge in the distance (not this close).   We used to go out past the Bay Bridge, but due to air show restrictions, we now stop in a wide open area before the Bridge and this is where we have the airshow. 

 
 
You see the Baltimore sky line.

You see the Baltimore sky line.

 
You will see Fort McHenry with the Star Spangled Banner flying proudly in the breeze.

You will see Fort McHenry with the Star Spangled Banner flying proudly in the breeze.

 
You see vintage aircraft closer than you will at any air show.

You see vintage aircraft closer than you will at any air show.

 
More planes.  And some taking pictures of you taking pictures of them .

More planes.  And some taking pictures of you taking pictures of them .

You will see cruise guests continuing to have a good time after the event.  Fingers crossed for no rain ;)

You will see cruise guests continuing to have a good time after the event.  Fingers crossed for no rain ;)

 

Tugs.  We usually will have 1-2 tugs that will get us off the pier and will also dock us back on the pier for our return. 

 
Baltimore's Cruise Terminal on McComas Street in the Locust Point part of Baltimore.  This is a VERY safe part of the city and is easy to get to from I 95 (you can actually see the ship from 95 when we are here). 

Baltimore's Cruise Terminal on McComas Street in the Locust Point part of Baltimore.  This is a VERY safe part of the city and is easy to get to from I 95 (you can actually see the ship from 95 when we are here). 

 
Fort Carroll in Baltimore's Harbor.  Its an uninhabited artificial island that is only 3 acres large, and was designed by Robert E Lee while he was with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1848. 

Fort Carroll in Baltimore's Harbor.  Its an uninhabited artificial island that is only 3 acres large, and was designed by Robert E Lee while he was with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1848. 

 
Working Ships.  Many times the ships will give an unofficial 'hey, how are ya' to passing ships.  The first ship will blow their whistle 3 long times, and the answering ship gives 3 long back, then the originating ship will blow one tone and the answering ship will give one back.  Since our ship is a steam ship, our whistle runs on steam (or compressed air), and our girl has some strong lungs, so usually the Bridge will make an announcement to 'cover your ears'. 

Working Ships.  Many times the ships will give an unofficial 'hey, how are ya' to passing ships.  The first ship will blow their whistle 3 long times, and the answering ship gives 3 long back, then the originating ship will blow one tone and the answering ship will give one back.  Since our ship is a steam ship, our whistle runs on steam (or compressed air), and our girl has some strong lungs, so usually the Bridge will make an announcement to 'cover your ears'. 

Other historical ships like the Pride of Baltimore II!   Though we are a steel ship, we do love the wooden tall ships as well. 

Other historical ships like the Pride of Baltimore II!   Though we are a steel ship, we do love the wooden tall ships as well. 

 

2016 was a pretty busy year for the ship.  We had 2 scheduled  Baltimore cruises (though the October cruise was canceled due to weather) and we also had 2 port visits (Norfolk and NYC).  This year we have two cruises scheduled in Baltimore and we changed the October cruise to a September cruise due to bad luck with October cruises and hurricanes.  The cruise dates for May and September are found on the website.  Please join us if you can.  Click on the different links to order your specific cruise dates.  

 

Project Liberty Ship, Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit, all volunteer organization engaged in the preservation and operation of the historic ship JOHN W. BROWN as a living memorial museum. Gifts to Project Liberty Ship are tax deductible

Trigger Happy

The JOHN W. BROWN was built with the express purpose of going to war. She was part of the worldwide logistics effort to support the United States and her allies. As an important part of the need to move men and material around the globe, merchant ships became prime targets for our enemies.

  The US began arming merchant ships with defensive armaments as an outgrowth of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936. This Act had many provisions but one allowed for the government to start designing and building ships which were intended, from the beginning, to have not only self-defense weapons but the structures, such as munitions magazines, increased electrical , fire fighting and mechanical systems needed to support them.  The Liberty Ships were only one of the ship types which resulted from this effort.

  The JOHN W. BROWN, was armed with increasing amounts of weaponry as the 2nd World War progressed. She originally had a 5 in. 51 caliber main gun on the gun deck aft as her principal defense against enemy vessels. The 5 in. 51 caliber gun was developed sometime between the Spanish-American War and World War I and was intended for action against surface vessels. She also had anti-aircraft weapons which increased in number when she was designated for the Mediterranean theater, following the conversion to a partial troop transport.

  When the JOHN W. BROWN came to Baltimore in 1988 it was decided to find a weapon to place on the after gun deck to further the appearance of the ship as a WWII memorial. The major problem was that 5 in. 51 caliber guns had become incredibly rare. As a result a more modern weapon, a 5 in. 38 caliber, dual purpose gun, was found in the Reading Penn. Naval Reserve Center and it was in search of a new home!

  This gun mount was trucked to Baltimore and lifted onboard in the early 1990’s. This type of gun was shipped on many wartime merchant vessels and was appropriate as a substitution for the JOHN W. BROWN’s unobtainable vintage gun.

  An interesting part of naval weapons systems is that they are never given away but loaned to an organization for display. Thus they always belong to the Navy and U.S. Government. We are required, by the loan agreement, to maintain and display the artifact in a dignified and useful manner. As part of this commitment we have spent some of our recently awarded matching grant funds on renewing wasted steel on the gun mount deck. Every effort was made to preserve original parts where possible and reproduce material and instillation processes when necessary.

  Not only has the crew and our young weapons “Czar” Cameron M. been removing, restoring and repairing parts of the gun in conjunction with the steel work but they have started a major effort to repaint the gun and return it to pristine condition.

We welcomed some help from an interesting quarter. Young sailors, fresh out of “Boot Camp” and continuing their naval education as Public Information Officers, while at school at Fort Meade, volunteered to spend a day helping with anything we need assistance with. It seemed fitting that they should, in the spirit of the Naval Armed Guard, help with the weapons restoration and other associated displays. Bob Jackson and Cameron welcomed the group, gave them a tour of the ship and put them to work returning the 3 in. 50 caliber rounds to the ready service boxes on the upper gun deck, cleaning the M1 Garands,  as well as lending a hand with the work on the 5 in. 38 caliber main gun. In the spirit of our motto “if you feed them, they will come” Bob provided lunch for this group of newly minted sailors as his way of thanking them not only for giving us a hand but for their service to the nation.

  Soon the JOHN W. BROWN’s major defensive artifact will once again be ready for the public. There is even talk of making a canvas cover in order to protect the gun from the weather during the winter. But Cameron, Bob and the rest of the weapons gang won’t be idle long, there are three 3 in 50 caliber guns waiting for their time to shine.

 

Project Liberty Ship, Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit, all volunteer organization engaged in the preservation and operation of the historic ship JOHN W. BROWN as a living memorial museum. Gifts to Project Liberty Ship are tax deductible.

Training Never Stops on the SS John W Brown

Prior to becoming a historic ship in Baltimore, the Liberty ship JOHN W. BROWN was moored in New York and served the city’s Board of Education as a vocational high school.  Students came to the ship and learned the skills needed for a maritime career.  The ship filled that role for 35 years, from 1946 to 1982.  Now as an operating historic ship in Baltimore, JOHN W. BROWN continues to be an educational resource for a variety of local organizations.

 

Several different groups conduct training on the BROWN.  Local first responders (police, SWAT, EMTs, K-9 teams) train aboard the ship to gain experience working in a realistic shipboard environment which they may encounter in the Baltimore and Annapolis areas.  Local maritime schools, operated by two of the major maritime unions, bring students to the ship when the class room training can be enhanced by doing a portion of the course aboard an operational ship.  JOHN W. BROWN offers STEM internships to local high school students enrolled in that curriculum.  Those students get a close look at some of the science, technology, and engineering found in the engine room of an operating steam ship.  Classes from local schools, including the Naval Academy, tour the ship to learn about World War-II merchant marine operations and shipbuilding.

 

However, one of the most important training programs on the BROWN addresses the needs of our own volunteers.  The Liberty ship steam plant is an old design, no longer found operating elsewhere.  The only place to train our volunteers to operate the engineering plant is right here on the ship.  A formal training course was prepared and approved by the Coast Guard so that we can instruct volunteers to be JOHN W. BROWN firemen/watertenders.  These are the watchstanders that operate the ship’s boilers to produce the steam used by the main engine and the auxiliary machinery.

 

Three volunteers are presently taking the fireman/watertender course.  The course includes classroom training, demonstrations of practical knowledge of associated machinery and procedures, homework assignments, and a final exam.  Completion of the course, along with having the requisite amount of sea service, enables the volunteer to gain a Coast Guard endorsement in their merchant marine credential as fireman/watertender without having to take a Coast Guard examination.  The course was first approved by the Coast Guard in October 2012 and to date 10 volunteers have completed the course.

 

In addition to being an operational historic ship, JOHN W. BROWN continues her role as a training facility.  In this case, by training the firemen/watertenders who will operate the ship’s boilers in the future.

 

[FWT Course instructor: M. J. Schneider]

[Present students: Jay Jacobs, John Stratman, and Kris Lindberg]


 

Project Liberty Ship, Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit, all volunteer organization engaged in the preservation and operation of the historic ship JOHN W. BROWN as a living memorial museum. Gifts to Project Liberty Ship are tax deductible.

Back to Top ↑