Last summer, bark canoe maestro Steve Cayard and a team of Native American craftsmen built an authentic Wabanaki-style bark canoe on the grounds of the Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, Maine. The building team consisted of a half-dozen Passamaquoddy, MicMac, and Penobscot Indians, and the project had two main objectives: to teach this culturally critical skill to the descendents of the people who developed it, and to demonstrate the process to the public at large. I blogged about the project a number of times (click the index link for "bark canoes"), and documented it in a series of more than 100 photos. The finished boat was launched in a brief ceremony at the 2009 Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors show in Rockland, and that was the only time the canoe has been in the water. It is still a brand new canoe.
Now, the Penobscot Marine Museum is auctioning the canoe, to raise funds to repeat the project in 2010. The objectives, again, are to teach canoe building to Native Americans so that they can perpetuate the knowledge within their own cultures, and to demonstrate this fascinating and unique construction method in an area where boatbuilding skills are in no short supply, but where the bark canoe is, as everywhere else, a real rarity.
Go here for more details on the auction and to purchase tickets. The drawing will be July 1, and of course you do not have to be present to win. The winner will, however, have to pick up the boat; it won't be shipped. This will give the winner a great opportunity to visit Maine and, if the winner is one of my readers, to get a tour of a great marine museum by none other than your dedicated blogger. Heck, I'll even buy coffee.