Liz Buxton Appointed Executive Director
The Reedville Fisherman’s Museum Board of Directors has named Liz Buxton as its new Executive Director. Liz, a native of Gloucester County, brings more than 20 years of experience directing non-profit conservation organizations. Her experience includes serving as Executive Director of Maryland Environmental Trust, Valleys Planning Council and South River Federation in Maryland. Most recently, Liz worked for the National Park Service as Grants Management Specialist with the American Battlefield Protection Program. Liz has a degree in Fine Arts from the College of Charleston and is passionate about the history and culture of the Chesapeake Bay. Liz lives in Urbanna with her two Labrador Retrievers and enjoys sailing, hiking and eating oysters in her spare time!
The Reedville Fishermen’s Museum proudly announces that almost two years after being taken out of service due to COVID restrictions and to undergo a required U.S. Coast Guard inspection of its hull and 62-foot-tall wooden mast and associated rigging, skipjack Claud W.Somers, the Museum’s roving goodwill ambassador, returned to full passenger sailing capability on June 11, 2022. The all-volunteer captain and crew are delighted to be back on the water and to welcome one and all to sign up to enjoy a sail on this historic vessel, which was built in 1911, is listed on the National as well as the Virginia Register of Historic Places and is one of the few skipjacks remaining in operational condition on Chesapeake Bay.
The saga of the Somers’ past two years began with moving from the Museum dock to Cockrell’s Marine Railway on the Little Wicomico River in late fall of 2020. There the crew of the Somers assisted Goodman’s Tree and Crane Service to completely remove the mast and rigging from the vessel to facilitate the initial Coast Guard inspection of the mast as well as the wooden mast step (the place where the bottom of the mast is attached to the hull). The results of this inspection required the crew to spend many hours refurbishing the mast while Cockrell’s completely rebuilt the mast step.
While the mast and mast step work were progressing over many months, the crew crafted a new 42-foot-long wooden boom to replace the old one that had been damaged and was no longer serviceable. Over the nearly two years that Somers was out of service, the crew spent more than 2100 hours on the above-described work as well as completing many other projects required for safe operations and compliance with Coast Guard regulations. The Somers returned to the Museum dock on November 2, 2021, and the crew began reinstalling all the rigging and preparing for the vessel’s return to passenger operations this spring. On Friday, June 3, 2022, with everything back in place, the Coast Guard returned to do a full vessel inspection and conduct final sea trials.
Upon arrival back at the dock after passing inspection and successfully completing sea trials that morning, the Coast Guard inspectors immediately reissued the vessel’s Certificate of Inspection, permitting the Claud W. Somers to return to full passenger-carrying operations. The captain and crew were extremely gratified to learn that all of their hard work had achieved the hoped-for reward. On June 11, the vessel joyfully departed the Museum dock with paying passengers for the first time in two years.
This excellent result could not have been achieved without the extraordinary efforts of the all-volunteer captain and crew. The Museum is extremely proud of this dedicated group of men and women. Additionally, the Museum is pleased to express its gratitude to Cockrell’s Marine Railway and Goodman’s Tree and Crane Service for their assistance and support in this long and ultimately successful endeavor.
The Reedville Fishermen’s Museum is pleased to announce that the Office Manager position will be filled by Danielle Harris-Burnett. Harris-Burnett recently moved to Reedville from southern Maryland and is currently completing her Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies at the Johns Hopkins University Advanced Academic Programs. Prior to joining the RFM Harris-Burnett worked at Historic St. Mary’s City and St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She is passionate about history and looks forward to the opportunity to contribute to the mission of the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum!