H. Lee White Maritime Museum Curator Designs State Fair Exhibit

This 1913 Matthews high-speed runabout is the oldest boat in the exhibit, and has its original lights, instruments, copper gas tank and Scripps 4-cyl. engine. Photo: NYSG

SYRACUSE, NY – H. Lee White Maritime Museum curator Michael Pittavino of Oswego served as lead designer of the Great New York State Fair Maritime Exhibit for 2019.

The exhibit features more than 14 recreational boats spanning the decades from 1913 to current-model boats representing modern hull and propulsion design in a dry-land mock marina setting.

This 1913 Matthews high-speed runabout is the oldest boat in the exhibit, and has its original lights, instruments, copper gas tank and Scripps 4-cyl. engine. Photo: NYSG

Building displays feature vintage boat engines, historic lighthouses, shipwrecks, NY’s “Waters of War,” and a “History of Sturgeon in NY.”

The new exhibit is sponsored by the Great New York State Fair, New York Sea Grant, the Boating Industries Association of Upstate New York, and the H. Lee White Maritime Museum, with several contributing partners.

Visitors tour the exhibit on an elevated dock through a multi-slip, land-based mini-marina in the NY Experience area of the NYS Fairgrounds.

“This ‘Cruising through the Ages” exhibit explores the rise of recreational boating in 20th-century America with a special emphasis on New York State’s contributions to the boating industry and features boats with strong ties to New York’s maritime heritage,” said Pittavino.

The 2019 Great New York State Fair Maritime Heritage Exhibit highlights 100 years of recreational boating. Photo: NYSG

“This year’s Maritime Heritage exhibit at the Great New York State Fair will inspire visitors to take advantage of all the great water resources we have in New York State and to become informed stewards of those waters,” said New York State Fair Director Troy Waffner.

“New York Sea Grant is excited to be working with maritime history, recreational boating, and boating safety partners from across New York State to represent more than 100 years of boating development and provide fair visitors the opportunity to ask experts about boating, water safety, water quality, and aquatic science technology,” said David G. White II, a coastal recreation and tourism and boating safety specialist with New York Sea Grant, Oswego.

In one of the Maritime Exhibit buildings, children can measure themselves against a photo of a nearly 5-foot-long sturgeon. Photo: NYSG

In addition to the H. Lee White Maritime Museum, The Antique Boat Museum, Clayton, NY; and Finger Lakes Boating Museum, Hammondsport, NY, provided vintage engines and watercraft, including a 1955 cruiser once owned by country music star Alan Jackson.

Special demonstration days at the exhibit include:

. Tuesday, August 27: Ask the Expert Water Technology Day: Great Lakes Research Consortium and New York Sea Grant demonstrations include remotely-operated aquatic research vessels and aerial drones. A GLRC remote data-sensing buoy will be in the State Fair pond transmitting data to the mini-marina exhibit.

. Wednesday, August 28: Ask the Expert Water Quality Day: Ask Great Lakes Research Consortium and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry faculty your questions about water quality issues and concerns.

The Great New York State Fair and The Antique Boat Museum are offering Fair visitors the opportunity to row a St. Lawrence skiff on the State Fair Pond on August 23, 26, 29 and 30. Photo: Antique Boat Museum

. Thursday, August 29: Ask the Expert Boating Days: Life jacket and emergency flare demonstrations and Q and A with U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel.

The Great New York State Fair and The Antique Boat Museum will offer free “On the State Fair Pond Skill Rowing” opportunities; life jackets will be provide on August 23, 26, 29 and 30. Stop by the pond area for more details.

For more information on the Great New York State Fair which runs through September 2, visit www.nysfair.ny.gov.

1 Comment

  1. I am glad there is finally a maritime display at the New York State Fair. I have lived in Fulton for nearly 60 years. My husband and I and our family have enjoyed camping and boating on Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence river for many years. Also I grew up near Southwicks Beach and my friends and I rode our bikes on the beach there as youngsters. we love being near the water. I am wondering what ever happened to the sailing ship “ONTARIO” which was being built by volunteers in the Oswego harbor under the direction of Richard (Dick) Pfund. congrats on the wonderful display of boats at the Fair.

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