Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sellersville Kiwanis Dogsled Meet Saturday, February 16th


No snow? No problem!                  
                         On February 16th,a group of youngsters from Urban Promise School and Sacred Heart School journeyed to Sellersville Pa. to participate in a major dog sled meet. Sponsored by the local Kiwanis Club, the meet featured many dog sled teams.. . A delegation of South Jersey dog sledders was  in attendance, and as you can see fun was had by all. The dogs always make the day, participating in events such as dogsled drag races, and gave the kids  a ride on the Henson sled.
In fact the event was so fun, the Director even took the dogs out for a ride.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Meet the S.S. Mongolia

Builder: New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, hull number 5
Laid down June 7, 1902; launched July 25, 1903; delivered February 5, 1904; maiden voyage May 7, 1904; scrapped in Hong Kong, 1947/8
Hull: length 615' 5"; beam 65' 4"; 13,639 tons; schooner-rigged; 4 decks and shelter deck sheathed in wood; 9 cemented bulkheads; cellular double bottom, aft 160',
under engine and boilers 113', forward 229', 2,270 tons; deep tank aft 25', 584 tons and 25', 588 tons; forward 35', 978 tons; forward peak tank 123 tons; aft peak tank 89 tons; holds 31' deep
Power: twin screws; quadruple expansion engines by her builders with cylinders of 30", 43", 63" and 89" diameter, stroke 60"; 1,923 n.h.p.
4 double-ended and 4 single-ended boilers; 36 corrugated furnaces; grate surface 636 sq. ft.; heating surface 28,276 square feet; 215 p.s.i.; originally coal fired but converted to oil in 1919
Code letters KSTH

Pictured above is the S.S.Mongolia, a steamer, was laid down 7 June 1902 by New York Ship Co., Camden, N.J.; launched 25 July 1903; delivered to the Pacific Mail Service 5 February 1904; and transferred to the Atlantic Transport Co. 19 October 1915.
Before the United States entered World War I, President Wilson saw the necessity of arming merchant ships. Therefore, Mongolia took on an armed guard in March 1917. On 19 April, she was attacked by a German submarine, Mongolia engaged the submarine, damaging her periscope and conning tower, then gave pursuit, forcing the submarine to submerge. This is the first encounter of an American ship with a U‑boat. The Mongolia was assigned two additional 6‑inch guns  on 20 May.
On 27 April 1918, Mongolia was requisitioned by the Navy. She was commissioned on 8 May 1918, with Commander E. McDowell in command, to serve as a transport during the war. She made 13 voyages from the United States to France, before she was decommissioned on 11 September 1919.She was then returned to her owner, and returned to merchant service.

After the war, the Mongolia was used on the New York‑Hamburg steamship line, before joining the Panama Pacific Lines in 1925. She was transferred to the Dollar Steam Ship Lines and renamed President Fillmore on 7 December 1929.  She was sold to Wallam & Co.On 2 February 1940;  she was renamed Panamanian and thereafter sailed under the Panamanian registry. The ship was scrapped at Shanghai 20 May 1946.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Henson family tree!!!! Courtesy of Dr. Counter,Havard Foundation

Here is the family tree of Matthew Henson's living relatives as complied by Dr. Counter of Harvard University.

Friday, February 1, 2013

In search of a few items....

Hello again,

 The museum is looking for  some donations, in particular  a gas stove, a standard size refridgerator, and a laptop  to backup our files. So if anyone has any of these items and is willing to donate, please contact the museum.

Thank you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Event Update

On Saturday FEBRUARY 16th, come out to Sellersville, PA with the CSMM to have a good time and to meet some dogsled dogs! Time and place will be updated soon. 

At present we have word from a reliable source that  there will be 40 to 50 dogs present at the event, the Henson Sled, And weather permitting, there will be dog-sledding for the kids.

Check back for updates!

Friday, December 7, 2012

From Camden to Pearl Harbor and Beyond

December 7, 1941 was the date Franklin Delano Roosevelt deemed would "live in infamy." Seventy-one years later we live in a much changed world, yet we certainly do not forget the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that fateful day. Today the museum joins with people throughout the nation in commemorating the tragic event that so shockingly took the lives of thousands and led the United States directly into World War II. Of course, many of those lost were crew members of two battleships built here in Camden: the Utah and the Oklahoma. Both ships and their crew members who perished are memorialized at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument's site in Hawaii. More information about the national monument can be found by clicking here.
The Utah as she left Camden in December of 1909. Photo from
The Phoenix at Pearl Harbor. Photo from 

Another Camden-built ship moored at Pearl Harbor fared much better than the ill-fated Utah and Oklahoma. That ship was the light cruiser named the Phoenix

You can see the fortunate Phoenix steaming past the battleships unharmed in a YouTube video by clicking here.

While she escaped harm in Pearl Harbor, she seemed somehow destined for destruction in battle. After being sold to Argentina and renamed the General Belgrano, she was sunk by a British submarine's torpedo in 1982 during the Falkland's War. To learn more about the Phoenix, visit the Naval Historical Center's webpage here.

We honor all of those affected by the attack on Pearl Harbor seventy-one years ago today. Although it was certainly a tragic day, it is also a reminder of Camden's proud shipbuilding heritage and its place of importance in our nation's history.

Monday, November 19, 2012

CSMM + RCN = Interesting Connections

As those famously humorous Pythons from across the pond have said, "And now for something completely different!" What was it that we thought our blog readers would "wheely" like to read about? Why it's one of our favorite artifacts: a ship's wheel that is more than a century old!

Just like the comedic troupe, the wheel can trace its origins back to Britain, where the ship called the Niobe was built and then commissioned in 1898. From there, she sailed westward in 1910 to her new home in Canada where she became one of the first two warships of the Royal Canadian Navy. There she was re-commissioned as the HMCS Niobe. 

The ship was only in service for ten years, largely due to the fact that she and her crew had the misfortune of being docked in Halifax when the famous Halifax Harbor Explosion occurred in 1917. Almost two thousand people in the area were killed, including many of the Niobe's crew. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic (part of the Nova Scotia Museum) has more information about the explosion on their website, as well as a link to digitized images of the "Remembrance Book" of those killed in the explosion. Below is an example of one of the pages that lists Niobe crew fatalities. Also check out the MMA's "Halifax Explosion" webpage for more interesting insight into the tragic event.

The Canadian War Museum's website also has some great information about Canadian Naval history. Check out their "Objects and Photographs" page for photos of the Niobe, her crew and more. That museum displays the ship's wheel from the Rainbow. She's the ship that shares the Niobe's distinction as being one of the first two ships of the Royal Canadian Navy.

How then did the Niobe wheel end up in the Camden Shipyard and Maritime Museum? After her somewhat short career in the Royal Canadian Navy, the Niobe was towed to Philadelphia in 1920 and broken up for scrap in 1922. The Merchantville Country Club acquired the wheel and kept it in their clubhouse until 2010, when it was then loaned to our museum for permanent display. One of our own very dedicated board members, Frank Foord took on the task of building a stand for the Niobe wheel and will be working on completing the esthetic details soon. Michael Lang, Larry Coslow, Kevin Castagnola, and the folks at Urban BoatWorks and Americorps were also instrumental in what Mr. Foord calls the "trucking and manhandling logistics." We appreciate all of their efforts!

Mr. Foord has a special connection to the Niobe wheel as well as maritime history, as he too served in the Royal Canadian Navy! We truly appreciate the time and effort Mr. Foord has spent on the acquisition of the wheel and the construction of its stand. We look forward to the day when the museum's own construction is complete and the Niobe wheel has a permanent place of honor for all to come and see!