Sail Power Steam Museum opens Rockland boathouse addition, strategizes funding

Tue, 06/21/2022 - 1:45pm

    ROCKLAND — Newly opened to the public Saturday, June 18, 2022, Wing on Wing, a boathouse at Sail Power & Steam Museum in Rockland, has been christened by way of community members taking a first look inside. 

    “We’re very excited about this building,” said Robin McIntosh, Associate Director of the Sail Power and Steam Museum.

    Championed by Jim Sharp, who created the museum years ago when he and his wife acquired a barn full of memorabilia, the new addition was proposed to the public in 2019.

    In October 2021, museum coordinators hosted a party and invited sponsors and supporters into the space when the building was essentially finished, but with few items, according to McIntosh. Now, the space is furnished and ready for use.

    Sharp’s initial proposal for a 4,000 square foot boat display building, located at 75 Mechanic St., drew opposition from some neighbors, who lamented the loss of an ocean view, and questioned the $700,000 estimated price tag.

    Who was going to foot the bill, and for how long?

    “Our Board is going through some strategic planning right now,” said McIntosh, at the open house. “We are looking at our vision and where we are going forward. We are looking at our future, and making sure we are sustainable into the future.”

    Inside the boathouse, various sized vessels round out a space that includes a stage and folding chairs for an opening day concert, small one-seater sailboats used by school kids, restrooms and plenty of open space. Alongside those adornments is a Model T, currently owned by Sharp, with a sale tag on it.

    Proceeds of the sale are intended to help finance the building, according to McIntosh. A few feet away, another sale tag advertises a sailboat, also intended to support the museum. The new Wing on Wing Boathouse will also be available as event rental space upon request.

    Along with the opening day concert, the museum is hosting another concert in July, and more are expected in the future.

    The museum has been hosting performances for years in the main building, as well as weekly jam sessions, but would like to make use of the new structure, as they did with a pre-opening day small party for volunteers. They’d arranged for a harpist, who sat on a party boat deck next to a wood-fired steam machine and a model of a mariner, who peered over the harpist’s shoulder. 

    That model has been in Sharp’s family for generations, according to McIntosh. He’s fully articulated, all wooden joints, no nails or screws.

    Museum coordinators are looking at arranging for more exhibits, moving more items in besides the boats. Examples include a history of Penobscot Bay, a dive collection, the limestone industry, granite industry.

    The remainder of the museum property includes a vessel workshop, a classroom, working sailing vessels for education programs, and one-room office spaces rented various entrepreneurs.


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