Museum announces $100,000 grant for the Potomac Pilothouse Project

John Morgenthaler unwraps the Potomac Pilothouse. After some structural work it will be moved into the workshop in the background where the restoration work will take place. Photo by Michael A. Geissinger

IRVINGTON—At a gathering February 3, hosted by Margaret and Eric Nost, community leaders and Steamboat Era Museum donors learned about a grant and a challenge donation to the Potomac Pilothouse project.

Eric Nost, chairman of the Pilothouse fundraising committee, announced a grant from the The Nettie Lokey Wiley and Charles L. Wiley Foundation for $100,000 toward the restoration and installation of the Pilothouse in the museum.

Marshall Orr, a longtime supporter of the museum, issued a $25,000 challenge grant. He spoke about the importance of this project and asked attendees to join him and issue their own challenge grants.

The work has begun on this project, reported executive director Barbara Brecher.

Shipwright John Morgenthaler is leading the restoration project. Shrink-wrap, which has covered the Pilothouse since 2010, has been removed. Before moving the structure into Morgenthaler’s barn, where the work will take place, he will shorten the structure by approximately 16 feet by removing two aft cabins. The material from the aft section will be reused in construction.

Installation in the museum is scheduled for the 2018 season, said Brecher. In order to fit in the museum, a complete exhibit redesign will take place. To achieve this the museum must raise $350,000. A public fundraising campaign will be launched in the spring.

The restoration of the Pilothouse has always been a goal of the founders of the museum. Acquired in 2001,the Pilothouse stood in front of the museum until it was shrink wrapped in 2010 and stored in a field in White Stone. In 2015, it was moved to Morgenthaler’s property where it is being restored.

Those interested in the challenge grant, exploring naming opportunities or learning about giving opportunities, may contact Brecher at 438-6888, or