Museum launches public phase of pilothouse restoration campaign

Shipwright John Morganthaler explains the process of restoring the pilothouse to museum directors and community members.

IRVINGTON—The Steamboat Era Museum recently announced the public phase of the Pilot the Potomac Home campaign with a dollar-for-dollar $50,000 grant from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation in Richmond.

Every dollar raised after mid-May will be matched up to $50,000, reported SEM director Barbara Brecher. This grant is one more step in the process of restoring and placing the Steamboat Potomac’s pilothouse, the largest remaining portion of a Chesapeake Bay steamboat, in the museum.

The pilothouse, which includes the wheelhouse, captain’s cabin and crew quarters is being restored by local shipwright John Morganthaler. In 2015, the pilothouse was named one of Virginia’s Top Ten Endangered Artifacts.

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