A new executive director sought for Kate and Marine Museum

By Shelagh Talbot

    GREENVILLE — A grand old lady in Greenville will be celebrating her 100th birthday next year. As the Steamship Katahdin sails into her next century, recent changes have prepared her well. The latest development in her preservation and growth is initiating a search for a new executive director. As her popularity increases, and concurrently her importance to the economy of the town of Greenville, so does the need for proper stewardship in the upcoming years.


Contributed photo

    ALL ABOARD! — The Kate waits as people board for a three-hour summer cruise.

    Luke Muzzy, new president of the board, was quick to point out that the search for a new director does not mean that Maynard Russell is leaving. Russell has served the organization in many capacities over the years, including executive director and the Kate’s captain. “It’s more of a role change,” said Muzzy. “Maynard has given tirelessly of his time and energy for years and would now like to focus on serving as the Captain of the Kate.”

    “I’ve been wanting to slow down a bit for some time,” Russell concurred. “I plan to continue as Captain, doing something I really love.”

    Anyone familiar with the Kate has seen her through needed keel repairs and hull painting starting with the ship being dry-docked on barges during the second week in October 2012. Prock Marine Company, based in Rockland, completed the daunting project on budget and on schedule. In addition to re-plating the keel with specially fabricated 1-inch-thick steel, the folks from Prock Marine repainted it, balanced and reinstalled the propeller and thoroughly checked the hull for any additional needed maintenance. The Kate was back in the water on Nov. 28 and now rests in her usual spot beside a newly overhauled wharf, also constructed by Prock using vertical steel pilings. The pilings have an expected life of about 80 years. All that’s left to finish the undertaking is a little landscaping, which will happen in the spring.

    The project itself has been over two years in the making and it is the first time the Kate has been out of the water in nearly 20 years. Her original riveted hull had worn thin and was re-plated with steel in 1995, according to Russell. A fundraising campaign, named “McKeil’s Keel,” to honor the late Duke McKeil, whose passion to save and operate the Katahdin inspired the community, and resulted in the ability to complete the project in November.

    The Moosehead Marine Museum was created in 1976 as a non-profit organization with the Katahdin as the star exhibit. Their mission is “to preserve and operate (the) Katahdin as a ‘living museum’ for the benefit of our community, region, and future generations.” Funding came from community and private donations as well as a USDA Community Development Block Grant written by Ken Woodbury, who was executive director of the Piscataquis County Economic Council at the time.

    With a maximum capacity for 225 people, the Kate is the perfect venue for leisurely cruises on Maine’s largest lake. She is busy doing just that from June through October. There are five cruises a week plus a few very popular evening rock-n-roll cruises featuring a terrific live group, Rockin’ Ron and the New Society Band. A full moon of times sails in on cue over Scammon Ridge as folks dance. She is also popular for wedding parties, anniversaries, charters and other special summer outings.

    The search for an executive director has begun. This is, in the words of the job description “an exciting opportunity for an energetic, dynamic non-profit leader with a strong interest or background in Moosehead Lake history and lore.

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