On Friday, March 31st the Ship was moved to Fells Point. The temporary move was so that the ship could participate in the Privateer Festival and so that we could be open to the public. To remind our readers, Pier One, our temporary home is in the process of having the shed (the building on top of the Pier) removed.
The owners of the pier (Rukert) were able to give us another berth, but unfortunately, it is a secured access pier, which means that only crew members are permitted on the pier and most crew members must also have TWIC cards or else they need to be escorted from their car to the pier. What this means is that walk-on visitors are not permitted on the pier, per their security plan. Therefore, the chance to go to Fells Point so that we could be open to the public to educate as many people as possible about Liberty Ships, Merchant Marines and Naval Armed Guard and shipyards, was something we jumped at.
Friday, March 31st was wet and cold. We were supposed to shift the ship around 9am but the docking pilot had some concerns about the wind and weather. The decision was made to postpone the move and re-evaluate; and at 1pm the decision was then made by the docking pilot that the move could happen.
The shift went well and because of the rain there was little work to do on the ship, though the rain did help us clean the decks a bit! Some crew members went out to dinner in Fells Point, though most crew ate dinner on the ship. Saturday morning came quickly along with lots of work in order to be open to the public at 10am. Tables needed to be put up, tents raised on the pier and on the ship, the after gangway needed to be lowered and berths and all areas open to the public needed to be swept and mopped.
And at 10am, we opened to visitors.
We had a salute cannon that visitors could pay a small donation and fire, and the afternoon was spent firing at the Urban Pirates. For something that is less than 2 feet long, this little cannon packs a loud punch. The BROWN is completely volunteer run and all money collected goes to maintaining the ship and covering operational costs. Here are some pictures and a very short video.
We also participated in City Lights Baltimore and had the ship lit with red, white and blue LED's and spotlights on important parts of the ship. Here are some pictures to see what she looked like.
Our weekend in Fells Point brought over 1,200 visitors aboard the ship. We had many local families but also visitors from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia. We saw many Privateers and Pirates as well as many photographers and those that wanted to get pictures taken with Jack.
A wonderful experience was when many crew members got to meet Mr. Addington. He is 91 years old and was Naval Armed Guard in WWII and spent plenty of time on Liberty Ships. He came on board with his family and climbed the gangway and up to the gun tubs on the stern to show his family the things he did during the war. He even fired the salute cannon.
We are currently planning on returning to Fells Point in July for the holiday. Plans are coming together and we will have more info to come. Some possible idea are that we will open and close a bit later then we did this time, with family friendly activities. This time we had an activity throughout the ship for kids to find the correct vocabulary words for specific things, like the kitchen, bathroom, floor (galley, head and deck) and when they left the ship, if they found the words, they got a prize. We had a great time and raised some money through donations and purchases in the store. Stay tuned for more info and follow us on FB, Instagram and Twitter.
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.