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-   -   *'Ohio River Museum may close after June 30.'* (http://www.steamboats.org/forum/river-talk-cruises/2888-ohio-river-museum-may-close-after-june-30-a.html)

R. Dale Flick 03-11-2009 06:10 AM

*'Ohio River Museum may close after June 30.'*
 
Steamboating colleagues:
A press article from the MARIETTA TIMES [Ohio] dated March 3rd arrived here announcing the possible closure of the famed Campus Martius and Ohio River Museums [*Str. W.P. SNYDER] after June 30th due to the financial crunch felt by the Ohio Historical Society. This by-lined by Evan Bevins of the TIMES. Andy Verhoff, site manager for the Marietta museums, said the four full-time, one art-time and tso seasonal employees are going on with business as usual amid the uncertainty...scheduled activities and booking tour groups. Mr. Verhoff reported the budget for the Campus Martius is $180,820 and for the Ohio River Museum nearby $54,750. A new 'partnership' between the state and local interests is being explored.

The article continues to report that the Sons of Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen is one 'partnership' extending back to 1939 with strong support for the Ohio River Museum and the Str. W.P. SNYDER. Jeffery Spear, President of S&D of Pioneer Rivermen, was quoted as discussing further partnerships and alliances in support. Even if cloed by July 1st, the OHS will continue to pursue ways to keep it open. The Marietta museum complex is scheduled to open April 4 for the 2009 tourism season.

It appears that tourism, school and professional groups are not the question. It boils down to the financial squeeze faced by the parent Ohio Historical Society and the state in general. With the present economy tanking out, hopes are that more local museums and tourism sites will benefit with families focusing their travel plans closer to home. More on this in time.

Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

Keith Norrington 03-12-2009 11:58 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Dale: Hasn't S&D come to the "rescue" of the Ohio River Museum in recent times with $$$$ to pay the salary of somebody to keep the museum open? It's pretty sad to think that the museum is now open ONLY on weekends and ONLY for several months out of the year! The state historical society is undoubtedly well acquainted with the $$$$ in the J. Mack Gamble Fund and I wonder if their "partnering" is really just a glitzy way of them looking for another "bailout"! And, if it's granted, how long until the NEXT time??? Helping the museum is all well and good, but with boundaries. Has there been any "downsizing" of any kind at the top in Columbus?

During the 42 years that I've been a member of S&D, I recall another time when the state declared an "austerity program" and told then curator Catherine Remley to lock up the museum and admit no one. For S&D weekend Catherine not only opened wide the museum doors, but served coffee and donuts -- and husband Chuck opened the SNYDER too!

I'm sure this topic will be high on the agenda of the upcoming S&D board meeting on March 28th at Marietta. Maybe it's time that S&D -- which owns the majority of the artifacts on display at the Ohio River Museum -- considered buying one of those historic old buildings on Front Street in downtown Marietta and renovated it to become the river museum. Also, the BECKY THATCHER is available! She could be hauled out of the water much like other vintage vessels and would make an excellent venue for a river museum. Not so far fetched!

And what is going on with the project to renovate the W.P. SNYDER, JR? Wasn't she supposed to go to Pittsburgh last December and didn't? With what I've heard from those in the know about the precarious condition of her hull, I hope they don't wait until it's too late!

All of this makes me doubly glad that the Howard Steamboat Museum is NOT affiliated with any state agencies. Yes, we operate on a shoestring budget, but we do manage to keep the museum open year round, six days a week with a very small paid staff and many dedicated volunteers.

Here's hoping that a viable solution can be found to save the Ohio River Museum so that the collection can be enjoyed as was intended by all the great people who have contributed and entrusted relics, paintings, photos and models to it since the exhibits first opened in 1941 in the basement of Campus Martius Museum. Those artifacts were passed along as a "sacred trust" to future generations and need to be available for the public good.

Photo: Original RIVER MUSEUM at Marietta.

R. Dale Flick 03-19-2009 05:10 AM

*Marietta Museums change leadership.*
Steamboating colleagues:
Reporter for the MARIETTA TIMES [Ohio], Evan Bevins, 'Marietta museums getting new leadership' reports present site manager Andy Verhoff has accepted the position coordinating the Ohio Historical Society's Local History Office in Columbus, Ohio. Verhoff came to Marietta in 2003 to head the Campus Martius/Ohio River Museum Complex. His new position will bring him, his wife and nearly 2-year old son closer to family. This move is not part of the Historical Society's restructuring to deal with budget short-falls.

Ms. Le Ann Hendershot, who has worked at the museums nearly 25 years, will take over as interim site manager on April 6th. The Ohio River Museum division in Marietta also includes the veteran Str. W.P. SNYDER. Hendershot served as customer service representative first for the Ohio River Museum, then both facilities, since 1984.

The museum complex in Marietta will open April 4th with employee and seasonal worker schedules scaled back. The complex will open Wednesdays on Memorial Day through October, provided steps can be taken to ensure the museum operates beyond June 30th.

Best wishes to Andy Verhoff and Le Ann Hendershot along with the museum complex and the Str. W.P. SNYDER.

Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

Bill Judd 03-19-2009 06:51 AM

Dales last post needs a little correction and it's not Dales mistake but the Marietta Times reporters.

The Ohio River Museum will only be open from MAY 24 till SEPTEMBER 1 and the very limited hours are Saturdays, 9:30 -5 and Sundays 12 noon till 5. As Dale stated if the June 30 closure happens, forget the above.

Judy Patsch 03-19-2009 07:46 AM

Just as Keith mentioned earlier
 
"Hendershot admits it's a daunting task to take over as site manager while the museums search for local partners to allow them to remain open after June 30."
This was also in today's article. On the 12th, Keith posted about S&D's J. Mack Gamble Fund helping to keep the museum open in the past, and that OHS would probably be looking again to that money source. Bingo.
Keith also suggested it might be time to buy a building in Marietta and move the S&D items into it - or haul the BECKY up and make her into a museum - shades of the old St. Louis days with Ruth Ferris as the curator of the Midship Museum!
The article also mentions an OHS person would be meeting with possible local partners soon - looks like there's at least one item on the BOG meeting agenda for the 28th!
It would seem the JMG fund would be put to good use to preserve a place for the S&D artifacts and river history, but I'd rather see the money poured into something owned by S&D rather than by a state entity - kind of like rent vs. own.....

R. Dale Flick 03-19-2009 08:28 AM

*RE: Ohio River Museum dates.*
Thanks, Bill, for the text corrections on the dates of operation for the Campus Martius/Ohio River Museum complex in Marietta, Ohio per MARIETTA TIMES. As we've said in the past there often can be a 4% to 10% margin in error--or just ignored--on information floating around out there.

Judy/Keith make good observations and points about the museum collection etc. Seems like we're livin' in hard times and it's not getting any better. Who would have thought! All of those huge Wall St./Investment house 'bonus packages' have a lot of us thinking good and hard. And the answer they give is, "Oh, well, they're learning their lessons." OUCH!

Well, what do I know?

Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River.

Keith Norrington 03-19-2009 09:13 AM

Good news to hear that Le Ann will be "running the show" at the museums. Not only does she know what needs to be done, but has always been very friendly and welcoming to S&D members and visitors -- a real gem of a person and a terrific goodwill ambassador for the museums! They are lucky to have Le Ann!

Now, to find a solution to keeping the museums [B]OPEN[/B]!


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