A Year in the Life of the JOHN W BROWN

2015...  Where did it go?   We figured we would end the year being reflective and reminding us all of the things that were done throughout the year.  As any organization, museum, or non-profit can tell, there are not enough hours in the day, people willing to give their time or the needed funds for everything that needs to be done, but what they DO have is the desire to make a difference.   Let's take a look at the things that were done or accomplished in the year 2015... 


2015 was a year of repair work, finding problems, fixing them... {repeat over and over).  It's like owning an old house or a boat...any boat; there are always things that are needing to be done and needing to be fixed.  Here you can see some of the things that were being repaired (or talked about repairing, or playing with the numbers and the $ {robbing Peter to pay Paul}) this year.


During the colder months, a lot of work on the ship gets done.  Just because we all wear multiple layers and even hats, gloves and long johns while aboard the ship, we are still very productive.   In February we were cleaning out the shed on the pier, organizing museum spaces, doing more welding and fixing things that needed attention and of course we had our monthly general meetings for the organization.  


March was another cold month for Baltimore with some snow and frigid temps (yep...it was pretty cold on board the ship!) but we still got a lot of work done.  Some had to do with shoveling off the snow so the crew and visitors  wouldn't break any bones when walking on the deck, but there were more repairs, more meetings, and more tours of the ship.


Spring finally came to Baltimore, bringing more visitors (saying good bye to one of our long time crew members, Lou,  with a memorial service on the ship), more crew making it out to the ship (not everyone is local, and snowy/icy weather can keep our volunteer numbers low), more work on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and a Sea Trial (we had been to Colonna's shipyard in November 2014 and the engineers wanted a sea trial before cruising season began.  We also had our Adopt a Rivet campaign to raise funds for the ship, and had those that bought rivets, come out to the ship for tours and activities to thank them for their donations.  Here are some shots from April! 


May is usually a good month for the ship with our first Living History Cruise of the year, our friends from New York's Harbor School, and some more of the never-ending painting. 


Once the warm weather comes to Baltimore, there is a lot of preparations for the summer cruise season.  In addition to the Living History Cruise, we also hosted an American Red Cross event for Gold Star Mothers and family's of those killed in combat, as well as a reception for Phil's exhibit 'World War II through the eyes of Walter Olencz'. 


July can be as miserable on the steel ship as January is, just opposite on the temperature spectrum.  This July we had lots of work going on.  Our stem students can be aboard the ship on Wednesdays since they are off school for the summer.  July is also a great time to have inspections done by the coast guard and get lots of outside (and inside) projects completed. 


August was a slow month (picture wise), but a lot of work was done on the BROWN.   We found some steel issues in the gun tubs on the bridge, so those were addressed.  We also got to see some members that had been having health issues and had not been on the ship for some time.   Of course Jack is always trying to find a way to get in front of the camera while on the ship; we almost think that dog would be blogging about the ship if he could... 


September was a bit quiet at times but then we had a LOT of work in preparation for moving the BROWN over to be with the NS SAVANNAH to celebrate the end of WWII in Maryland.  This was a really cool event that lasted a long weekend where we made lots of new friends, and opened to the public for a fabulous weekend.  We had Russians aboard, as well as Rosies (and Rosebuds {daughters of Rosies}) from the Baltimore area, the Eisenhower Foundation and Del Tech.  We also had Sea Cadets from Virginia spend a weekend on the ship working and learning about how Liberty ships were used, with lots of great hands-on work.  


October is the month that shall be remembered as the month with the 'Cruise that never happened' thanks to the remnants of Tropical Storm Joaquin.  Instead we used the extra crew that were in town to do work on the ship in preparation for winter.  Also, this was the month where the painters hired for the Paint the Ship fundraiser, began work.  Over $100,000 was raised for this very large first part of the project.   We also had many visitors this month, including a photography class from Johns Hopkins University.  Finally, this was where months (and even years) of work became reality when our online store went LIVE.   


November was a pretty busy month.   With painting on the ship, we needed 2 crew members aboard each day, M-F from 7am-4pm, so the list was always going around, and we were always looking for more help.  Not only did we have our Christmas party (by mid December the ship is uncomfortably cold and jackets and gloves are needed, so we always have our party in the fall), but we had lots of visitors and photography shoots aboard the ship with Christopher Shafer Clothier, as well as another one by A.J. Smith.   We had a scout troop spend the night to work on badges, and we also had a visit for a few days from the TV KINGS POINTER. Did we mention that lots of painting and engine work was going on this month???   Phew... crew members need a vacation from the month of November! 


This is always a crazy month, and though there are more pictures of the finished painting work on the ship, this blog writer doesn't currently have them.  We can tell you that it's been a busy, and yet very productive year.   We go into 2016 trying to think of ways to stay current, while preserving the history of the ship.  We have had almost 40 orders through the online store (mostly for our Plimsoll glasses, Go figure!  One of our first 10 orders posted a picture of his received classes on a Facebook page and we got over 20 orders from merchant mariners around the world!!)   We hope you all had a good holiday with friends and family, and we wish you all well for the New Year.   

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.

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