Friday, October 1, 2010

Maritime History Conference Report, Day One

The conference today was very interesting for the most part. The stage was set by the first speaker, Dr. Alan Watson. He gave a very interesting overview history of New Bern and Craven County from its founding up to the Civil War. Of course, anyone who knows Dr. Watson will also know that probably 70% of that talk dealt with the colonial and Revolutionary period. But it was excellent nonetheless. He was followed very ably by Josh Howard of the Research Branch of the NC Office of Archives and History who gave an excellent presentation on privateering in North Carolina during the American Revolution (the topic of his MA thesis). The morning concluded with presentations on the history Barbour Boat Works of New Bern by Dr. Paul Fontenoy of the NC Maritime Museum, and an overview of the North Carolina Registry of Historic Vessels by Council member Barbara Snowden.

This afternoon we had tours of Tryon Palace led by Karen Ipock, Curator of Education and the John Wright Stanly House and George Dixon House led by architectural historian Peter Sandbeck. The tours were both excellent, though probably much too brief. Afterwards, most attendees went to the docks to visit a skipjack name the Ada Mae, the only one of its kind left in North Carolina. Due to misty weather and my desire to get coffee and check email, I headed to Port City Java and skipped out on the boat tour.

In less than one hour we will convene our dinner at the Chelsea Restaurant and listen to a keynote presentation by Dr. Craig Symonds, who will be discussing the Civil War at Sea in North Carolina. I am very much looking forward to this presentation and spending more time with friends like Dr. Chris Fonvielle who are in attendance. Day Two and my presentation are tomorrow.

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