F/V Perry moved from museum site for dismantling
Old vessel with rich history will be modified for a future hands-on display
Photo courtesy Valdez Museum/Andrew Goldstein
The F/V Perry, the historic fishing boat that has been on display outside of the Valdez Museum for a number of years, was moved from the property Saturday. Parts of the vessel will be preserved for a future display.
A long-time fixture on Egan Dr. was moved out of public view Saturday.
Well, the portions of it that could withstand the move. The F/V Perry, a 1930s kit boat that has stood tall in front of the Valdez Museum and Historical Archive for a number of years was hauled off the property Saturday in the first leg of a new journey.
The Perry has a long and storied history the museum said in a press release Monday. It was built on a fox farm on Perry Island, passing through several successive owners, and survived the Good Friday disasters of the 1964 Earthquake and saw service during the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill of 1989.
"The boat finally succumbed to one challenge it couldn't overcome: time," Museum curator Andrew Goldstein said in the press release.
Museum officials, with the consent of its actual owner – the City of Valdez – agreed to move the vessel late last month for dismantling, with the understanding that salvageable parts of the vessel with later become part of a permanent – and hopefully hands-on - display.
"I think that is a much more engaging way for the people to experience the Perry," Goldstein said in a telephonic interview Monday.
The old vessel, with its distinctive green body and classic wooden fishing boat shape had become a hazard rather than an asset as it sat exposed to Valdez weather. The rotten portions of the vessel were not the only hazards. The vessel was also contaminated with old lead-based paints and other maladies that are very expensive to remedy.
According to museum documents, the boat was built on Perry Island in 1939 by fox farmer Fred Lambert. In 1958, the vessel was sold to Chick and Red Comstock. It changed hands many times over the years and was owned by what the museum says is a "long list of owners" including Al Weathers, Larry Maize, Jim Poor, Roger Fitzgerald, Greg LoForte, Jeff Thompson, Al and Steve Haynes,
In 1994, then-owner Jim Burgett donated the boat to the Valdez Museum in the name of his son Miles, who was injured in a snowboarding accident.
"The Perry was stored outside the museum since then, but plans to restore and cover the boat never came to pass, due to issues of cost and storage space,' the museum said. "In 2010, the Perry was deaccessioned from the museum collection but retained as an exhibit. The deaccession was a measure taken to free the museum from the obligation to preserve the boat to unattainable museum standards, and to allow the museum to perform emergency repairs if needed. In the fall of 2014, a survey determined that the vessel had deteriorated to the point of becoming a safety hazard for staff and visitors."
Image courtesy Valdez Museum/Andrew Goldstein
This graphic illustration depicts one of a number of possible displays under consideration by the Valdez Museum that will use salvageable parts of the F/V Perry to create a more interactive display.
But that is not the end of the story. Museum officials are including an F/V Perry display in its long-term expansion goals.
"After consulting with the City of Valdez, the museum contracted local Boatwright Rodney Walters to oversee the dismantling and salvage of the Perry. Before disposal, Walters will supervise the removal of the hazardous lead paint covering the boat. The museum has retained the upper portion of the boat that includes the wheelhouse, plus the boom, mast, and additional hardware to be re-used in future interpretive displays," officials said. "The museum also requested that Walters and company salvage previously-unknown historical elements such as inner boards stamped "Latouche, Alaska", details which will enhance public understanding of the Perry's history."
While a firm plan for an exhibit is not yet in place, the museum says the needs for preserving the vessel will be included in the new facility's pre-planning process.