The Friends of the Phoebe met on July 7, 2017, with City of Kingston staff to review the preservation of the wooden boat with her metal hardware, steam engine, boiler and propulsion system. This is part of a twice a year review called by the Manager of Cultural Heritage and attended by the Civic Collection Technician in Cultural Services. This gives the Friends of the Phoebe an opportunity to submit suggestions and to discuss common interests to promote and preserve the Phoebe. All this leads back to a motion that was unanimously supported by Council in their meeting on July 12, 2016. Click here for the report and motion.
Friends of the Phoebe meet with city staff met at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour on King Street West, the site of Phoebe’s exhibit in the Sail Measuring Room. Staff and volunteers discuss the condition of the boat . From left to right: volunteer Gerrit van der Zwan, Civic Collection Technician Meaghan Eckersley, volunteers Paul Jeffrey and Dave Shurtleff. Henk Wevers took the photo.
With the briefing notes and our preliminary comments collected, we met for the remainder of the meeting in one of the small conference rooms at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour to discuss details, and come to agreements about the preservation methods and enhancements to the exhibit.
From left to right: Dave Shurtleff, Gerrit van der Zwan, Paul Jeffrey discussing a point on the aganda, Meaghan Eckersley, chairing the meeting. Photo by Henk Wevers.
For the full details of the meeting and the subsequent minutes which were approved by the Manager of Cultural Heritage, see below at the end of this post.
The Friends of the Phoebe also received confirmation that the Department of Parks and Recreation are developing plans to re-erect the timber framed exhibit shelter that gave the Phoebe protection at her former exhibit at the Pump House Steam Museum. The structure was donated by, among others, Goodfellow Lumber from Delson, Quebec, and Upper Lake shipping from Toronto, Ontario. Students in the Building Construction Internship Program of the Limestone District School Board made the joinery and put it together under the watchful eye of their teacher in early 2008. For a series of photos depicting the construction click here.
When further information becomes available about the Phoebe exhibit and the timber framed shelter we will add more posts.
The Friends of the Phoebe wish their supporters a great summer, we will be back in the fall of 2017.
Full report on the first twice yearly meeting of the Friends of the Phoebe and staff from the Department of Culture at the City of Kingston.
We had our ltwice a a year meeting on July 7, 2017, with Meaghan Eckersley, Civic Collection Technician, Cultural Services, for the City of Kingston and a Cultural Services Collections Assistant. Friends of the Phoebe present: Paul Jeffrey, Gerrit van der Zwan, Dave Shurtleff and Henk Wevers. We met at the Phoebe Exhibit in the Sail Measuring Room of the POH.
Meaghan explained the monitoring of temperature, humidity and light intensity since March 2017. She would like to have a full year of measurements before releasing the data. The hull planks shrinkage and expansion is measured and there is a relationship with the seasons and the room’s micro-climate.
After a year of monitoring, the environmental data will be used by staff to assess the expansion and contraction of the hull planks and to determine whether or not intervention/repair is indicated.
At the sit-down meeting in the POH conference room agenda items were addressed and below with the suggestions and decisions included.
Stern flag and flagpole: Friends indicated that a new Canadian flag would be appropriate. Some Friends had suggested the British Ensign as more historically correct. However she was built in Kingston and sailed initially on Lake Muskoka, Canada. We also recommended to put a courtesy flag at the bow and it should be the Kingston flag. The flagpole should be cut off at the bottom 15 cm as it is chewed by rodents. Items approved and will be taken care off by staff.
Manager of Cultural Heritage: Provided the quotes are reasonable we can proceed with the addition of these flags on the existing poles. Our team will work to source and install these items.
Gaps in the hull: see above, action aimed at cosmetic repair after one year of data. Friends suggested a flexible caulking that stays flexible over time to accommodate the shrinkage and widening of the cracks. We submitted that the seams between the hull planking does not affect the structure in the land-based exhibit.
Paul Jeffrey: Suggest that hull cracks be left as they are at present without caulking. Any caulking performed now may simply lead to more problems in the future if Phoebe is kept in a more humid environment or if she is ever placed back in water. I suggest that we develop an information board for display at Phoebe which explains board shrinkage and expansion and how this is affected by type of wood, and orientation of board cuts from logs.
Dave Shurtleff suggests: Regarding the gaps in the hull, I suggested that the hire a consultant who is qualified in the preservation of wooden boats and who is familiar with the latest calking materials and their properties be engaged before action taken.
Gerrit van der Zwan suggests: To use a soft compressible seam filling foam that is available at building suppl companies. It can be pressed into the seams and he can apply a soft latex caulking over it. Then paint the hull. If needed the foam filling and the caulking can be removed simply by pulling the foam filling out of the seams. Good for cosmetic improvement and reversible for without affecting the planks of the historic boat.
Gerrit and the Friends volunteer offer to do this.
Manger of Cultural Heritage: We will continue to monitor the gaps in the hull. The suggestions and concerns made by the friends are noted and will be considered should our assessments indicate a need for conservation-based intervention.
LED lighting for the cabin will be implemented. We suggest that it can be switched by hand so it can be switched on by custodian of the sail room when an event takes place and the public can observe the Phoebe. Motion switch? Would be an alternative.
Manager of Cultural Heritage: As discussed, the best option from a collections care and logistical standpoint is a battery operated LED attached to a timer which will be installed in the cabin.
Trailer: Spot-painting of the aluminum parts of the transverse bunk supports will be painted in the colour of the trailer to hide the shiny metal. Friend of the Phoebe commented that the Phoebe is well supported over the full length of the keel and keelson and with the two bunks, installed by MetalCraft Marine specialists, and the several bilge supports that were part of the trailer design.
Paul Jeffrey adds: It will be wise to periodically check and adjust pressure points on hull as needed.
Manager of Cultural Heritage: This painting will be undertaken by City staff. The trailers support and load displacement will continue to be monitored.
Engine decommissioning: The engine needs to be turned over a few times a year and engine cylinders need storage oil fogging. The oil comes in spray cans that can be purchased for a few dollars at Canadian Tire or equivalent outlet. Test engine state of preservation by turning the propeller by hand. Reasonable torque indicates normal friction ibetween cylinders and pistons and related parts.
Paul Jeffrey adds: Engine requires minimal maintenance such as oiling of the cylinders. There is no reason to remove the electric motor drive.
Boiler preservation: spray with storage engine fogging oil or Rust Check or any other preservation oily substance.
Manager of Cultural Heritage: These recommendations are noted.
Flagging tape: remove and install barrier instead by bolting posts to concrete floor or glue the base of the posts to the concrete. This would make the flagging tape superfluous and its removal improves the cosmetics of the exhibit.
Manager of Cultural Heritage: The flagging tape will remain in place in the immediate future and the retractable stanchions will be reset. Staff will look into more aesthetically pleasing flagging.
Plating railings: Only nickel plate the repaired sections of railing which is galvanised steel piping and the few bases that are made of brass. The existing nickel plating is original and should be preserved.
Manager of Cultural Heritage: Repaired railings will not be nickel plated at this time. The original nickel plating will continue to be monitored.
Make a plaque or poster that tells the public about why the Phoebe is in the POH, what her role might be in the new development plan of the POH and the PEN. Also explain the opening of the seams and why this is not a structural problem or something we don’t care about.
Staff will discuss the installation of an additional interpretive sign. One that explains her present location as well interprets her as a complex composite artifact of the Civic Collection – addressing the seams, the repaired railings, the rodent gnawing, etc. This sign will not speculate about her future home or the development plans for POH or the KP sites.
Install curtains according to the June 1914 photo of the Phoebe in Gravenhurst. She was only 4-6 weeks old there and it forms the basis of what was historically correct.
Staff will source out a cost effective curtaining option.
One mirror in the engine room to show the engine to the public. The mirror can be on a stand so it can be removed easily when needed. Alternative hang it in a frame from the ceiling. Alternative, install a camera in the engine room and in the washroom to show the interesting parts for the propulsion and the folding wash basin on a Monitor placed at floor level or overhead. Or provide a “tour” of the boat’s internal compartments by showing a virtual tour on a monitor. Start on command by observer.
Paul Jefrey suggests: All comments are good. With mirror(s) will need to experiment on placement so that the images are clear to the visitors. We are asking for a lot which may be more than the City will supply..
Manager of Cultural Heritage; These interpretive suggestions are noted and will be considered moving forward.
A dinghy was never part of the original Phoebe.
Minutes written by Henk Wevers, proofread by the Friends of the Phoebe and comments provided by Manager of Cultural Heritage.