Live from the office of the Howard Steamboat Museum: On this beautifully sunny and cool early fall Friday, Yvonne has headed for Marietta and the annual meeting of the Sons and Daughters of Pioneer Rivermen. I'm running "the BIG house" and busily working on final preparations for the Steamboat Bicentennial Celebration which begins ONE WEEK FROM TONIGHT! We launch the festive weekend with the ribbon cutting and dedication of the new Collections Management Facility. Reservations are rolling in and there's still room available for the chartered dinner cruise aboard the Str. BELLE of LOUISVILLE and, of course, for the Saturday programs here at the museum!

Speaking of the Saturday programs, we promised a few "surprises" and here are some extra features to add to the fun!

- A special display of selected river related photographs from the special collections of the University of Louisville. Our own "photo magician" Jimmy Reising, has arranged for this display, in collaboration with Bill Carner, U of L photo archives curator. I had a "sneak peek" yesterday and it's awesome!

- Representatives from THE GREAT AMERICAN STEAMBOAT COMPANY will be "on deck" to share exciting news about the long awaited return of the steamer AMERICAN QUEEN. I just had a delightful phone conversation with Kitty Ruxton, who many will remember from her lengthy tenure with the Delta Queen Steamboat Company. Kitty has "returned to the river", hopes to have "hot off the press" brochures for distribution and looks forward to seeing many old steamboatin' friends. This presentation will take place on Saturday at 3:00 PM, following Travis' program on the race between the ROBT. E. LEE and NATCHEZ!

Work continues daily on our new pilothouse replica, but it will not be finished in time for the celebration. The windows (authentic steamboat pilothouse windows that saw many years of service aboard the BELLE of LOUISVILLE!) are being prepared offsite and the 8' pilotwheel is being rejuvenated. The ceiling of the replica has been given several coats of what Capt. Mike Fitzgerald calls the traditional "green apple green" and fancy gingerbread trim, patterned after that on the Str. J.M. WHITE, is being cut from material that is to last for a century or more!

For further information, visit our website by clicking on Howard Steamboat Museum - Home Page.

Hope to see y'all when we "gather by the river" to celebrate 200 years of steamboating history -- with the promise of many more to come!!!

"Curator Keith"