Wednesday, December 06, 2006

 

Hopes high for new ‘Mohawk' museum

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Keynoter.com
By Christine Braden
December 06, 2006


If the future Truman Waterfront park in Key West is anything like project organizers envision, the soon-to-open Mohawk Memorial Museum will fit right in.

The floating museum is already docked in a slip at the waterfront beyond Truman Annex, but its official debut will take place on Dec. 16.

While it could be considered just one more attraction in a city that seems to be fully saturated with things to do, museum directors are quick to point out the unique aspects of the new memorial.

“It's always nice to have a new attraction in town,” said Frans Boetes, founder and president of the U.S.S. Mohawk Coast Guard Cutter Memorial Museum. “Especially something like a ship for those with a historical interest.”

Boetes - who was also influential in helping found a maritime exhibit at the Marshall Museum in the Netherlands - resolved that the memorial museum will help boost the local economy by adding its own unique appeal to the plethora of Keys attractions.

“Ships are intriguing and people are attracted to them,” he said. “This type of museum will attract more than your typical museum crowd.”

The cutter will join the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary's environmental center at the waterfront.

“This is going to be a really nice addition to the vision for the whole [Truman Waterfront park] area,” Boetes said.

There are only around 55 floating maritime museums in the U.S., according to Boetes.

Key West City Commissioner Bill Verge, a retired U.S. Coast Guard officer, has been influential in bringing the memorial to Key West. He maintains that floating museums are increasingly sought-after.

The 165-foot USS Mohawk is unique in that it served in both Coast Guard and naval fleets.

Launched in October 1934, the Mohawk was commissioned to patrol the Hudson and Delaware rivers on icebreaking duty in January 1935. During World War II, the Mohawk, one of the first Navy vessels to be fitted with sonar, was used by the Navy as an escort in the North Atlantic, where it was involved in 14 attacks against Nazi U-boats.

Lifesaving rescue missions are also among the Mohawk's distinctions.

She was used to save 293 sailors when the US Chatham sank and later 24 men from a sinking a.

The memorial museum's opening ceremony will take place on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. Following presentations by military personnel, Key West city officials, representatives of the Conch Republic and a flyover by planes from World War II, tours of the ship will be given.

Regular hours of operation will be Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the cost is $5 per person, with the exception of veterans, who pay $1 with identification.


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