Maritime museum closes in on fundraising goal | SierraSun.com

Maritime museum closes in on fundraising goal

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

Ryan Salm/Sierra SunA worker from Devcon Construction Inc. works on the new Tahoe Maritime Museum in Homewood on Wednesday. The museum is scheduled to open in spring of 2008.

It won’t be long before sailors visit Lake Tahoe not just for the lake itself, but for its world-class boat museum.

Construction of the new building to house Lake Tahoe’s renowned historic boat collection is quickly making headway and the Tahoe Maritime Museum has raised more than 80 percent of its $3.9 million goal.

The museum can now gives thanks to the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association for a portion of that funding.

The resort association board of directors unanimously voted Wednesday to finance up to $250,000 of the Tahoe Maritime Museum for the exhibit portion of the new building.

The Placer County board of supervisors must approve the allocation.

“This grant is a critical part of completing the capital campaign by December,” the association’s director of community partnerships and planning, Ron Treabess, said at Wednesday’s board meeting.

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If all the funding comes through, construction of the building’s exterior will be completed by December, the exhibits will be installed over the winter months and the museum will be ready to open its doors to the public by next May.

Currently visitors can see a makeshift museum next to Homewood Mountain Resort.

Until the museum re-opens in its new, larger facility, the bulk of its collection of artifacts will remain in temporary storage in a Truckee warehouse.

“This museum will serve as a destination point … expanding Lake Tahoe’s maritime history,” said Tom Bredt, the museum’s board president and new building steering committee co-chair.

Tahoe has a rich boating history, extending back to the earliest days of logging and commerce on the lake. The Tahoe Maritime Museum was founded in 1987 to preserve and present this maritime history and since its inception the vision has grown to develop a world-class museum.

After being housed in a garage-sized building at Sugar Pine Point State Park and then in an old hotel in Homewood, in June 2006 the museum’s board of directors launched a capital campaign to construct a 5,800 square-foot building on the same property.

The new building will have room to display vintage motors, a handful of the 25 historic wooden boats ” which include the Shanghai, Godfather and Lemme Go First ” and interactive, dynamic exhibits.

“This is a place where kids of all ages … can come and do interactive things,” said Bredt.

“Our tagline for the museum is ‘living history,'” he added.

Following donations from two private foundations and more than 100 citizens, the museum requested support from the resort association in the form of $250,000 to be used for exhibit infrastructure that will include ramps, platforms, railings, support structures for the boats, artifacts, signage and audio-visual equipment.

Bredt said the resort association will be recognized in the exhibit for having donated a quarter-million dollars.

Resort association board President Roger Kahn said he supports the museum’s efforts to celebrate the region’s rich maritime history.

“Lake Tahoe is what it’s all about here … some of the best times I’ve ever had are on that piece of water out there. I just think it’s a huge part of our culture ” who we are and what we are,” he said.