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Editorial: Only one captain

It's most likely that outside of the circle that once held the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum and the Chesapeake Wooden Boat Builders School, folks will never know what really happened to the decade-long partnership that was severed last month.

Nor does it matter. What does matter is that what looked like, at least from a distance, had been a vibrant part of the museum is no longer. The official reason given was "the Boat school was not providing necessary support to the mission of the Museum." According to the museum board, which voted June 20 to end the partnership, "the Boat school was not responsive to requests for construction and restoration of vessels in the style of bygone watercraft used in the area."

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Whatever the reason, it's unfortunate the two groups could no longer co-exist under the roof of the building at the foot of Lafayette Street. But those are the kind of breaks that often happen to mostly volunteer organizations, which by definition, are staffed by passionate people. Without the passion, there wouldn't be many volunteer groups. With the passion, some of those groups can't survive. From the outside, that's what looks like happened to the museum-boat school partnership.

The bigger issue is: What comes next?

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For both parties, we hope they move on and continue to serve our community in the way they think is best.

We hope the boat school finds a satisfactory location to build the kinds of wooden boats preferred by its members, without interference from museum officials seeking something else. And we hope museum officials can create the kind of boat-building operation on the museum grounds that its board of directors believes is a better fit.

It's unfortunate the two sides couldn't have found some common ground for continuing their partnership. But that's human nature and why each ship has only one captain.


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