Period dressed crews on ships
- We here in the greater Baltimore area experienced a situation quite like the "Niagra."
In 1976, the City of Baltimore decided to celebrate its heritage by commissioning the building of an 18th Century Clipper-Schooner named "Pride of Baltimore."
The original idea for crews was to have two: one period dressed crew to man the ship in Baltimore Harbor and the local Chesapeake Bay region. The other crew was to be a modern crew to man the ship in open water as it sailed to foreing countries, etc. as "Friendship Ambassadors." The city went as far as to recruit a knowledgeable nautical historian to assist the period crew.
Well, city politics being what it is, the period crew never materialized. Instead, a modern crew took over the complete operation of the ship. This crew was comprised of those who knew somebody in high places.
Sadly, the ship sank in open water a few years later and took most of the crew with it. Since then, "Pride of Baltimore II" was commissioned and built. There still isn't a period crew, and the ship spends alot of time in foreign waters.
My reason for describing this is to as the question: What good is a period replica if it isn't used in a historical content and surrounding. This is the same as if we were to show up at reenactments with period weapons but modern clothes for the sake of convenience.
I don't begrudge those who have the opportunity to learn large ship sailing on these ships. I would love the opportunity. However, there should be some use of them for public historical education in their proper historical content with period crews.