Steamboat Era Museum Launches Public Pilothouse Campaign with a $50,000 Challenge Grant

The Steamboat Era Museum is proud to announce the public phase of the Pilot the Potomac Home campaign with a dollar for dollar $50,000 grant from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation in Richmond. Every dollar donated after mid-May, will be matched up to $50,000! This grant is one more step in the process of restoring and placing the Steamer Potomac’s Pilothouse, the largest remaining portion of a Chesapeake Bay steamboat, in the Museum.

The Pilothouse, which includes the wheelhouse, captain’s cabin and crew quarters is currently being restored by local shipwright, John Morganthaler. In 2015 the Pilothouse was name one of Virginia’s Top Ten Endangered Artifacts.

This project is not just about an important artifact. When placed in the museum, along with new exhibits, it will enhance the understanding of the Chesapeake Bay’s cultural and economic history and will provide stimulating and innovative educational experiences for all visitors. The addition of the Pilothouse will position the Museum as the nation’s leading institution on the Steamboat Era in the Chesapeake Bay.

For the past few months the Board of Directors has been raising funds to restore the Pilothouse. The museum has received a $100,000 grant from the Nettie Lokey Wiley and Charles L. Wiley Foundation and generous donations from members of the community. The goal of the campaign is $350,000, which includes the restoration of the Pilothouse and the redesign of the museum’s interior structure and exhibits. To date $140,000 has been raised not including the challenge grant.

To donate to this project please visit the Donate page on our website, call 438-6888 or visit the museum at 156 King Carter Drive in Irvington on Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm.

Photo: John Morganthaler explains the process of restoring the Pilothouse to Museum Board Directors and interested community members.
Photo Credit: Michael Geissinger