Volunteer Corner: Captain Kirby
August 26, 2008
Name: Captain Kirby
Organization: Tahoe Maritime Museum
Residence: Lake Tahoe
How long have you lived in Lake Tahoe?
I’ve been living here since 1980, when I was a full time ski bum.
What is your volunteer position at the Tahoe Maritime Museum?
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I am a docent, and have been a member since its inception and first season in the 80s.
What does a docent do?
We are volunteer assistants to the museum staff in certain capacities. Some are greeters, others work with the children’s programs, some give tours of the museum.
What is your favorite aspect of the museum?
The museum. Because it is a world-class facility and allows people to come to Lake Tahoe and understand the importance of boating as a role in the lake’s history.
What are some boating history highlights?
In the 1800s, boats were used in commercial logging, to transport log jams to the sawmill. Barges took supplies around the lake. In the late 1800s boats were used for transporting visitors. After the turn of the century people would ride the transcontinental railroad, from as far away as St. Louis or San Francisco to Truckee ” then a train to Tahoe. Old steamer boats took them around the lake. In the 1920s, Jake Obexer started dealing GarWoods to the wealthy elite.
How long have you been involved in boating at Tahoe?
Thirty-five years, professionally since 1989. I am a licensed master mariner, coast guard captain, and yacht broker. It’s a wonderful profession. The significance of being on the lake in a boat changes your whole perspective of Lake Tahoe. There is not a vortex on the planet more powerful than the center of Lake Tahoe. It’s electrifying. We call it visiting the doctor. It’s the Big Blue Pill.
What should readers know about the museum?
There are family memberships available ” it puts you in the loop. There are all kinds of activities, and wonderful children’s programs. Higher levels of memberships include a summer boat ride. Being a member makes it your museum.
For information about the museum, call (530) 525-9253 or visit http://www.tahoemaritime.org.