Clearwater sees the next Mystic Seaport

Sept. 10, 2012 at 3:23 PM
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KINGSTON, N.Y., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- A green group founded by folk singer Pete Seeger has teamed with a museum and city to turn part of a Hudson River harbor into a learning center, the group said.

The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater is partnering with the Hudson River Maritime Museum of Kingston, N.Y., along with the city and state, to develop the Home Port and Education Center, envisioned as focusing on the region's maritime history and shipbuilding trades, including tall ships, while teaching "a new urban generation about the principles of sustainability," Clearwater Executive Director Jeffrey Rumpf told Mid-Hudson News Network.

"The Hudson River economy needs a Kingston Home Port, just as Long Island Sound has the Mystic Seaport, a major tourist attraction in Connecticut that drives a massive economic engine and is built on the maritime history and culture of the Northeast," he said.

The center is part of a larger program to revitalize Kingston's formerly active harbor into a post-industrial "eco-city" waterfront development, including renovated mercantile buildings, sailing ships, food, shopping and nightlife.

Clearwater plans to have Home Port include a musical environmental-advocacy component to carry on the legacy of Seeger, 93, an iconic U.S. folk music figure since the 1940s who became a prominent 1960s advocate of international disarmament, civil rights and environmental causes through his music. He co-founded Clearwater to spotlight the need to clean the Hudson River in 1966.

Seeger's songs include "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" "If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)" and "Turn! Turn! Turn!" He was also one of the folksingers most responsible for popularizing the spiritual "We Shall Overcome."

The "cause music" taught at Home Port is intended "to inspire people through song to take action for the environment and their communities," Rumpf told Mid-Hudson News.

Clearwater has scheduled "an old-fashioned barn-raising" near the waterfront maritime museum Saturday where a $1 million barn-like structure is to be built to berth and repair the 106-foot-long Clearwater sloop this winter.

The museum plans to use the facility for hands-on activities, maritime history lessons, seasonal exhibits and tours in warmer months, Clearwater said in a statement.

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