|Keith Spiro photo|
Maine’s First Ship and the Bath Freight Shed Alliance have joined forces to create one organization. After several months of planning and a number of meetings, the legal and financial documents have just been filed, allowing Maine’s First Ship to carry forward the mission of the Freight Shed as a vital community resource for Bath and the surrounding area. The Freight Shed will also provide a permanent home for Virginia, a reconstruction of the 1607 ship built by English colonists at the mouth of the Kennebec. The Bath Freight Shed also serves as the winter home for the Farmers Market, and MFS Visitor Center exhibit.
Supporters and Board Members of both organizations recently celebrated the event with a potluck supper at the Freight Shed. Freight Shed President Wiebke Theodore recalled the history of the renovations to the building as one of collaboration between the two organizations. “Now,” she said, “we have the shared energy of volunteers from both groups to further the building’s use by members of the community.” Indeed, volunteer shipbuilders have also worked on the Freight Shed’s renovations, installing doors and sheathing.
Maine’s First Ship President Orman Hines was also pleased by the Freight Shed Alliance’s decision to be absorbed by Maine’s First Ship, explaining that it allows more coordination for what he sees as shared goals. As stated in the merger document, Maine’s First Ship’s vision is to offer a “wide range of programs on Virginia and in the Freight Shed to enhance Bath and local communities through historical exhibits, the Winter Farmers Market, tours, events, and education.” It also provides more stability for the organization.
The reconfigured MFS Board of Directors includes two people who were also board members of the former Freight Shed Alliance board, and has added three new members from the former board.
In the meantime, visitors will see few changes in the outward activity at the site, located at 27 Commercial Street in Bath. People from the public and events continue all summer in the Freight Shed and shipbuilding is proceeding in the Freight Shed and outside in the plastic boat shed. Shipbuilders work on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the Visitor Center in the Freight Shed is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 to 3, and Sunday from 11-3. Everything is free and open to the public.