When Katie McNally, from Ontario, N.Y., donated nine model boats to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum in the autumn of 2011, one was held back. It wasn’t finished. It was the hull of the model of the British Ship HMS Victory, and it was being completed by her husband James G. (Jim) McNally, Jr. when he passed on in 2005.
The model ended up in the hands of the family friend, Doug Anderson, of Marsh Creek, who gave much of his time, driving and arranging the prior model ship donations to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, St. Augustine’s only Smithsonian Affiliate Museum. . . . more
The museum is looking for a volunteer modeler or modelers to take the unfinished hull in Anderson’s possession and complete it during the museum’s public hours. The volunteer or volunteers will be requested to work on the model and, at the same time, talk to the public about model building, why it is important to museums, and how it helps inform those who study ships and Atlantic Navigation. “There is much more to the art and craft of model building” than you can imagine, said museum curator Kathleen McCormick. The modelers can select from a variety of upcoming dates during the Sea Your History Weekends program funded by the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council.
For information or tickets, go to the museum’s website at www.staugustinelighthouse.org.
If you are interested in helping to use your expertise as a modeler for the museum, during a Sea Your History Weekend, and would like to discuss the details please give a call to Loni Wellman, at 829-0745.
The remarkable collection of ship models was donated as a study and exhibition collection by Katie McNally at the urging and with the support of her friend Doug Anderson. The model collection has been very popular with guests and very useful to archaeologists and educators when explaining the size and use of ships in St. Augustine, which is often misunderstood.
Archaeologists use ship models to help them study ship construction and they are useful to the public in understanding the size and shapes of vessels for different uses.
For example, the Chalpua was the work boat of St. Augustine, and was about 25 feet to 38 feet for use in local waters. Larger vessels like caravels, Nau’s or Galleon’s sailed by but usually did not anchor here in these shallow waters. Another example is that you can study the rigging of ships models to understand how differently rigged sails pull ships in different directions, and could for example have changed the landing site of Ponce de Leon when he located Florida. Museum archaeologists use ship models to tell authentic stories, and to explain the complex details of maritime navigation.
Today the Lighthouse and Museum is studying the British and the American Revolutionary period through diving on a wreck off shore, that comes from around 1782, when the British Fleet was helping to evacuate Charleston, S.C. The HMS Victory is a model of a famous British Vessel, probably much larger than the wreck in question, but maybe not. A variety of ships were used and many of them could not make it into the harbor.