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Something for everyone ‘on the hard’ at Museum

by Bill Powell

Bill Cawthorne, the new park director at the Deltaville Maritime Museum, readies the waterfront for its upcoming activities.

To the Bay watermen, when they are not on the water, they are “on the hard,” and during Deltaville Maritime Museum’s “Working Watermen’s Weekend” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, “the hard” will be alive with activities for virtually every interest and taste.

The “Working Watermen” theme will continue with a display of antique and running diesel engines by Deltaville Diesel mechanic Henry Lackey. There also will be an exhibit of oyster aquaculture by Ken Spurlock, and a display of Virginia and world record fish by the Coastal Conservation Association.

Hank Norton, the only guy in Deltaville who has a state highway named after him, will appear in his role as a shallow-water fishing guide with a display of saltwater fly-fishing gear and methods.

Jimmy Meredith of Hammer Time Marine will display marine erosion control grasses, plants and bulkhead options.

Larry Chowning will be on hand with his wonderful selection of books defining the Bay waterman.

The museum is proud to add Urbanna businessman Bill Hight to its on-land exhibitors. Hight has not only been instrumental in spearheading the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association and starting the annual Buyboat Rendezvous at ports throughout the Bay, but is also one of the area’s most knowledgeable scholars of Bay working watercraft, builders and their techniques. 

Hight will bring his private collection of handcrafted workboat models and a display about the Buyboat Association. Hight will be in the “Teahouse” with Cindy Lou Wheatley from Tangier Island who will display photographs from the island and, hopefully, bring a couple of displays from the Tangier Island Museum.

In the Boatshop will be both an exhibit of colonial navigation methods by re-enactors from the Colonial Seaport Foundation and ongoing demonstrations of such unfamiliar tools as the drawknife, spokeshave and foot adze by David Weller of Holly Hill.

Weather permitting the Rappahannock Railroaders will bring their ever popular mobile exhibit of model trains.

At 1 p.m., Captain Bill Powell, special events chairman for the museum, will welcome and introduce keynote speaker Ken Smith of Heathsville, the president of the Virginia Watermen’s Association. Smith will speak on the current state of the Bay fisheries and their effect on Bay watermen.

After an introduction by museum boatshop director Kaptain “he’ll say anything” Krunch, author and newspaperman Larry Chowning will amuse the audience with one of his wonderful anecdotes relating the life and times of past Bay watermen.

All the Park’s nature walks will be open and hopefully in bloom. The museum tent will be in full operation with gift shop items, raffle, and a Nautical Flea Market. Billz Bistro will be serving its char-grilled hot dogs, hamburgers and Carolina barbecue.

The museum itself will have a fresh new look. Exhibits have expanded, the model room now has a beautiful replica of the Swedish Wasa, and there is a new coat of paint throughout.

“Deltaville Dealer Days,” the annual display of over 16 new boat lines by participating Deltaville dealers, will be Saturday and Sunday this same weekend. Brochures and directions will be available at the museum.

Any who wishes to display their fisheries related exhibits or techniques, leave a message at the museum (776-7200).

Deltaville Maritime Museum and Holly Point Nature Park are located at 287 Jackson Creek Road and by water on Mill Creek. Visit for directions and details.

posted 03.25.2009

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