Visit “Ghost Ships” exhibit at Tahoe Maritime Museum

The Tahoe Maritime Museum on Hwy. 89 in Homewood, on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore, is one of our favorite museums. We are members, and we are regulars. The Museum’s exterior reminds you of an old boathouse, well-suited to its surroundings, with a spacious, airy interior design — 5,800 square feet in total — that lets you explore the boats and exhibits from all angles. Our “tweenage” son enjoys the hands-on activities.

The Museum’s 2014-15 exhibit, which we saw on opening weekend, is titled Ghost Ships. It focuses on boats that sank in Lake Tahoe and around the United States, ranging from a salvaged Washoe canoe to the internationally famous race boat Teaser.

Exhibit and Collections Associate Christine Shooke and the staff have done an excellent job. It is the most comprehensive and informative exhibit we’ve seen at the Museum so far. It uses oral histories, underwater footage and additional artifacts to cover a broad spectrum of Lake Tahoe’s history and culture. The main points of the exhibit are:

•The histories surrounding select boats that sank either in Lake Tahoe or in other U.S. waters
•Social and legal issues pertaining to salvaging vessels
•Preservation techniques
•Public interaction with underwater historic sites

Tahoe’s own sunken vessels

“Highlighting nationally important wrecks, such as the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor, alongside Lake Tahoe’s own sunken vessels will help us appeal to a wider audience, and establish connections between issues surrounding national and local underwater history and salvaging debates,” according to the Museum. “In the end, this exhibit will increase awareness and understanding of underwater cultural heritage of the U.S. in general and Lake Tahoe specifically.”

Highlights included:

Teaser – 40’ 1924 Nevins Sweep-Stakes Runabout
Sunken Treasure – 14’ 1949 Baycraft Runabout
Shanghai – 25’ 1890s Steam Launch
16’ Early 1900s Pomin Rowboat
Washoe Canoe

A link to scuba divers exploring the sunken treasurers is here.

In addition, the museum partnered with Placer Arts and Nevada County Arts to host the juried art exhibit, Sunken Treasures. The goal of the exhibit is to showcase works that explore the unseen world at the bottom of Lake Tahoe.

The art exhibit coincides with the Ghost Ships exhibit, which opened on May 24, 2014 and runs until April 19, 2015. The winning entry, shown here, is titled Submerged by Reno artist Susan Watson.

(Ghost Ships artwork by Ben Rodgers)

—Tahoe Maritime Museum and Sierra FoodWineArt magazine

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