HSPMS Maritime Museum Warehouse Tour Follow-Up

On Thursday, March 2nd, members of the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights got an opportunity to tour the facility where all the big stuff belonging to the San Francisco Maritime National Park are stored. The trip was set up and organized by Paul Reck and R. Karnell of the Park Service, who gave the tour.

This was a rare and unique opportunity to see what’s stored away in the enormous San Leandro warehouse. Some of it was there in preparation for use at Hyde Street Pier, like the C.A. Thayer’s and Balclutha’s spars. Other items were there waiting for restoration. Other’s still were just being stored there to protect them from deterioration, in the hopes that they will be displayed or worked on at some time in the future.

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Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights in Japan

During a brief visit at Japanese ship model manufacturer Woody Joe by Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights member Clare Hess, a gift of HSPMS hats was presented to the company president and chief design engineer.

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Mr. Tsuneki, the company president, and Mr. Arata, the chief design engineer, show off their spiffy new Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights hats in front of the main office in Shizuoka, Japan.

The club had several club patches available, and Terry Dorman was able to order the hats for us. Clare Hess had the patches sewn onto the hats before leaving on his trip, which took place in September.

Clare Hess also had an opportunity to present hats to two members of the Tokyo branch of the Japanese ship model society, The Rope, Mr. Uriu and Mr. Sekiguchi, who he met for dinner and drinks, along with Mr. Uriu’s daughter, Hanako. Ω

Maritime Museums of Gdansk, Poland

Overview of the best maritime museums in Poland,

Gdansk has a rich maritime history and three (yes 3!) fine maritime museums.  Although the city was destroyed in WWII, it was rebuilt with original materials and craftsmanship to match the streets found in many 16th century paintings.

The maritime museums cover from the earliest maritime history to the present, including how Vikings sewed the ribs of their ships together.  The ports and fortresses had a partnership thru the centuries that is seen in scaled replicas of the construction styles and vessels of each era.

Here are pictures of the above. Click any photo to view them in a slide viewer.

Clare Hess Discovers HSPMS Parallel in Japan

For those who didn’t know, I’m in Japan doing some research on my own on Japanese watercraft.

Yesterday, I was in Tokyo and visited a museum where there was once a thriving fishing community. It’s all landfill and upscale apartments now, but they have a city museum that is a recreation of the old fishing community. They also keep some of the old boats there.

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So, what do I find when I walk downstairs amongst the old boats? A workshop set up in the middle, with three old guys at benches surrounded by small band saw, drill press, sanders, racks of clamps, sheets and blocks of wood, etc., and they’re making model boats!

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An Urayasu bekabune similar to the one I’m trying to build.

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Big language barrier here, more than is usual at a museum, but they’re all museum volunteers, and in the middle is the kind of gruff guy they pointed out as the “boss”. It was clear to me that this was kind of like the equivalent of the Hyde Street Pier Model Shipwrights.

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Now, these guys aren’t part of the Japanese ship model society called The Rope, that I’ve mentioned before. The boss is a former boat builder, and the others more or less appear to volunteer as his assistants. He actually has a full-sized boat building project going on there.

I wasn’t able to discern why they were building these models. They were actually kind of crude by ship modeller standards, but they were neat. They might be the kind of model you’d mass produce for museum shops, though there was no sign of anything like that. In one case, a larger model was clearly being set up for radio control.

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I finally ran across someone who actually worked there and he spoke some english, so we talked about the specific boats that the region was known for. The guy was kind of like their own Terry Dorman, our hard working volunteer coordinator with the Park Service, and he was dropping off some band saw blades that the builders needed.

I didn’t catch his job title, and I haven’t had a chance to translate the Japanese business card he gave me, but his name is Mr. Shimamura. Since I’m now modeling a bekabune, which is the boat type built and used in Urayasu, he showed me some details about them and gave me their museum pamphlets.

Unexpectedly, as we were heading towards the lobby, he left me for a minute and came back with a paper bag and motioned me to come outside. In front of the museum, he took one of the bekabune models that the volunteers built and handed it to me, saying “gift”. I was really taken aback, but grateful and thanked him very much.

In case you're wondering, it was 80˚+ with 87% humidity in Japan

In case you’re wondering, it was 80˚+ with 87% humidity in Japan

I had no idea how I’d take the 14″ long boat model back home with me, but I was expected I’d figure something out. As it turns out, I think this will be a great prop for my demo on Japanese boat modeling at the Nautical Research Guild conference next month. And, as it turns out, if I’m really careful, I can pack it quite comfortably in my luggage.

I could easily have spent another hour or two at the museum, but it was late in the day, and having received the gift from Mr. Shimamura, it seemed like a perfect end to the visit. I will definitely be coming back here again on another trip

– Clare Hess