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Moosehead Marine Museum receives two $10,000 grants for sunken steamboats documentary

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GREENVILLE – The Moosehead Marine Museum (MMM) received two separate $10,000 grants from the Libra Foundation and the Fisher Charitable Foundation to support production of a historical documentary film featuring steamboat wrecks in Moosehead Lake.

The centerpiece of MMM’s collection is the 1914 steamboat Katahdin, according to Liz McKeil, museum executive director. It is the only remaining steamboat of a fleet of some 50 or more that once plied the waters of the state’s largest lake.

“There is little documented about the fate of the other steamboats,” said McKeil. “We know the Katahdin I caught fire while underway and was run intentionally aground near Sandbar Island as a life saving measure, whereas the Twilight sank during overwintering at Steamboat Point. Anecdotal reports indicate that many of the steamboats, such as the Kineo, were burned to the waterline and sunk once they reached the end of their useful lives.”

MMM is partnering with Ryan Robbins, the film’s director and founder of Moosehead Lake Divers to identify and capture video of the sunken remains of at least three known wrecks in Moosehead Lake. The documentary “Sunken Steamboats of Moosehead Lake” will tell the story of steamboat history on Moosehead Lake by combining underwater footage of steamboat remains with historic still images and video oral history interviews. An earlier grant from Weyerhaeuser funded production of the oral history phase. The goal of the project is to research, document, and disseminate information about Moosehead Lake’s steamboating past.

Oral history interview production is currently underway and will continue over the summer. “It’s exciting to see the amount of interest from the community,” said Robbins. “The steamboats were the backbone of transportation for over 100 years on Moosehead Lake … and with every interview we learn just a little more about the story.”

The Moosehead Marine Museum’s mission is to preserve and operate the Katahdin as a “living museum” for the benefit of our community, region, and future generations. For more information please visit www.katahdincruises.com.

The Libra Foundation, based in Portland, was created by Elizabeth Noyce in 1989 and has made significant contributions to worthy causes throughout Maine. Embracing the sense of proportion and fairness defined by its name, Libra, the Foundation maintains a balance and diversity of giving throughout Maine and across all populations. For more information please visit www.librafoundation.org.

The Fisher Charitable Foundation is a private operating foundation established by Dean L. Fisher, late of Rockport,, which became active in 1997. The mission statement states that the Fisher Charitable Foundation provides grants to tax-exempt charitable, organizations — primarily in Maine.

For additional information about the film go to mooseheadsteamboats.com.

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