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Ships ahoy Inner Harbor: A lightship takes the Constellation's place as an Inner Harbor symbol.


THERE IS NO SHORTAGE of Baltimore groups wanting to preserve relics of the past. Just look at a partial list of the city's lesser-known cultural offerings. There is a museum dedicated to the development of dentistry, of pharmacy, of incandescent lighting, of legal history and of lacrosse. Waiting in the wings is a group hoping to open a national museum of live entertainment and another that wants to impress visitors with the mighty sounds of restored pipe organs.

In the end many of these interest groups either thrive or disappear, based on their ability to raise adequate funds. As the padlocked Lillie Mae Jackson Museum, dedicated to a Baltimore pioneer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has demonstrated, a collection may be worthy but is not viable unless it has necessary financial support.

That's why we thank Friends of the Baltimore Maritime Museum for their years of tireless effort on behalf of the USS Torsk submarine and two other historic ships, and welcome Living Classrooms Foundation as their new guardian. This change in operators, which happened some months ago, will assure that those vessels remain at the Inner Harbor for all Baltimoreans and visitors to see and treasure.

Living Classrooms came to the rescue after a shortage of private funds -- and the city's unwillingness to continue its subsidy -- threatened the future of the submarine, the lightship Chesapeake and the cutter Taney. The group, which specializes in varied programs of alternative education, pledged it could take care of the Torsk and the other two vessels.

Now that the Constellation has been removed for repairs, the lightship Chesapeake, decorated with holiday lights, has moved to its berth near Pratt Street. This ought to make the Chesapeake and its two companions even more popular among Inner Harbor visitors.

Pub Date: 12/08/96

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