News Archive

Telegraph: June 2015

Telegraph: September 2015

Telegraph: December 2015

Telegraph: March 2016

2014 News Archive

Education Program Update

Among the many excellent presentations delivered at ShiPosium was one officially announcing the development of SSHSA's educational outreach program. Research Assistant Astrid Drew described the evolution of "From Sail to Steam," our inaugural topic funded by major grants from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and the Dibner Family Charitable Trust.

Utilizing our collections to reach out to educators and the public, "From Sail to Steam" will explore how the STEAM subjects of science, technology, engineering, arts and math affected economics, society, design and scientific growth in the 18th and 19th centuries. A team of SSHSA staffers, educators and website developers are creating the content and devising the best methods to deliver our materials and learning tools via our website.

SSHSA has unique resources which, when combined, offer a comprehensive perspective of this pivotal period of our history. Our collections, the SSHSA Research Library, and the Posner Maritime Art Museum provide different ways to appreciate a single subject. "Juxtaposing our model of the SS Commonwealth with her line drawings and photographs from our collections presents an exceptionally vivid way to understand the vessel," said Vera Harsh, SSHSA Development Director and project manager for the program. "We literally have the 'bells and whistles' artifacts. Hearing the bells then listening to a recording of the Alexander Hamilton whistle can help kids appreciate the effective difference between the two."

Educators working in the initial planning sessions were also excited to see so many articles on the STEAM subjects contained in the more than 70 years of Steamboat Bill and PowerShips magazines. One participant described the need for published materials which provide comprehensive reading opportunities in scientific areas.

Future themes that will be developed will focus on the interior design of ocean liners and cruise ships, lessons regarding water displacement, and the significance of shipping in maritime history. We'll continue to report our progress in this exciting new program.

In Memoriam

Edward Kamuda, SSHSA member and longtime President and one of the founders of the Titanic Historical Society, passed away on April 13th, 2014, after a long illness. Through the Titanic Historical Society's activities, Kamuda succeeded in preserving the Titanic and sharing her history. With over fifty years of publications, a fine collection of survivor memorabiliaand personal documents, he eventually introduced thousands to his passion. Titanic's legacy is worldwide, and people everywhere, like Edward Kamuda, became captivated about Titanic and many will carry on work he began. To read more about Edward Kamuda, please click here.

Edward A. Mueller, a longtime SSHSA member and a former Editor of Steamboat Bill, has passed away after a brief illness. Born in Madison, Wisconsin, he was educated at Wisconsin and Notre Dame for his Bachelor's Degree, and Catholic University for a Masters in Civil Engineering. During his career, he worked for the Highway Research Board in Washington D.C. and the Department of Transportation in Tallahassee. He was also the Secretary of Transportation from 1970-1973 and the Director of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority form 1973-1981. He then worked for Morales and Shumer, an engineering firm, until he retired in 1997. Edward was a retired Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy. He actively served from 1943-1945 and then in the Naval Reserves for about twenty years. Edward's real love was history, particularly steamboats and research. He has written several books and produced many DVDs on the subject.

William E. Ray, an honorary life member of SSHSA, passed away on April 21st, 2014. After graduation from Wentworth Institute in 1952, he was recruited by the Diamond Ordinance Fuse Labs, Dept. of the Army in Washington, DC. Later, he moved to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, where he first worked on atomic time with the bulk of his career in satellite and submarine programs for the US Navy. Mr. Ray was an avid sailor and master modeler. He built his first sailboat in the early 1970s, and eventually lived aboard the sailboat Yogo, sailing from the East Coast and Bahamas with his wife, Paula. His passion for anything maritime was exhibited in the models he built, from award-winning live steam boats to static models, and to the extensive nautical library he collected over the years.

We've Lost a Great Friend
CDR John Francis Hamma
June 17, 1941 - March 9, 2014

CDR John Hamma became a member of SSHSA in 1968. Like many members, he enjoyed receiving Steamboat Bill magazine, until he heard a higher calling to get involved. John joined the SSHSA Board in 2008 and was elected president in 2011. During his tenure as president, CDR Hamma was responsible for stabilizing and growing the organization, as well as bringing all SSHSA holdings together under one roof. Particularly proud achievements were the organization's budget surpluses each year under CDR Hamma's leadership.

John grew up in Brooklyn and, as a child, loved to visit the ocean liners and the bustling Port of New York. He also attended the christening and launch of the NS Savannah as a teenager and had fond memories of Mamie Eisenhower breaking the bottle of champagne on the bow of the ship. Although a Michigan Wolverine during his undergraduate college years, he also was an intern "rolling plans" at the Gibbs & Cox firm in lower Manhattan. One anecdote he often shared was how all people working at Gibbs & Cox were to stop their duties every time the SS United States sailed in or out of port to salute her - by orders of Mr. Gibbs-- as she went by.

CDR Hamma spent twenty years in the Navy in a variety of roles as a commissioned officer on engineering duty. These included boiler officer for the USS Newport News, ship superintendent for the Long Beach Naval Shipyard, graduate student at MIT, combatant craft program officer for NAVSEC Norfolk Division, chief engineer aboard the USS Columbus, type desk officer for the Puget Sound Naval shipyard, type desk and budget/fiscal officer for COMNAVSURFPAC, repair officer on the USS Dixie and maintenance policy officer for the Office of the CNO.

After retiring from active duty in 1984, John continued to work for another twenty-eight years in the engineering/ship industry for various firms, often providing services back to the U.S. Navy. Later, CDR Hamma formed his own consulting business and worked on developing proposals for large companies such as General Dynamics NASSCO.

Ships, trains, and automobiles...these mechanical transportation devices were things that CDR Hamma particularly loved. Ever the inquisitive engineer, he collected and maintained a meticulous automobile memorabilia archive, enjoyed purchasing and building somewhat obscure ship models, and spent weeks riding the rails from coast to coast, on one mission or another to benefit one of his passions. He had a sharp memory and a crystal vision which was able to distinguish the year, make and model of any car, ship, or locomotive from what seemed like a mile away. And although well read and knowledgeable in his areas of interest, he was also a humble man. He always had a smile readily available and could find something good and funny to say in just about any situation.

We owe a great deal of gratitude to John Hamma as we essentially forced him into retirement by recruiting him to take on the full-time roll of SSHSA "Ambassador," a position in which he thrived. He will be greatly missed.

CDR Hamma's funeral service was on Thursday, March 20th at the Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, San Diego, CA.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Apreva Hospice

1565 Hotel Circle South, Suite 320, San Diego, CA 92108

SSHSA Receives Important Grants

March 14, 2014

Rhode Island Council for the Humanities

In 2012, the SSHSA Board of Directors unanimously committed to creating a program which would provide a tangible benefit to our society. It took little time to agree that this concept could best be achieved through an online educational outreach initiative utilizing our unique collections, library, and our own publications.

We are very proud to announce that the SSHSA educational program has been honored with a major grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and a matching grant from the Dibner Charitable Trust. These two grants will fund the second phase of a multi-year program to develop our first educational theme, "From Sail to Steam: A History of Transition in Rhode Island."

Combining original images, primary and secondary resources, artifacts, and archived audio recordings, From Sail to Steam will have a dedicated section on the SSHSA website, allowing teachers and students to access digitized materials and to connect to our Virtual Museum and Image Porthole.

SSHSA program staff and board members were recently invited to the presentation announcement at the RI State Capitol with Governor Lincoln Chafee, Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, and other supporters of promoting humanities projects.

Our thanks go to the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Dibner Charitable Trust, and the educators and professionals who have helped frame our first educational theme.

Museum Assessment Program

In addition, SSHSA has been selected to participate in the Museum Assessment Program (MAP). Through guided self-study and on-site consultation with a museum professional, participation in MAP will empower SSHSA to better serve researchers across the country by meeting and exceeding the highest professional standards of the museum field.

The program is funded by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and throughout its 30 years has been administered by the American Association of Museums (AAM). As part of the IMLS National Leadership program, MAP advances best practices and fosters improvement in museums. The assessment positions SSHSA to better fulfill our mission to preserve and share maritime history through research and education.