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The Center for Wooden Boats Complete Newsletter Archive is Now Online for Free

December 21, 2013

For 37 years The Center for Wooden Boats has published a newsletter for members and fans of wooden boats called “Shavings.”  Thanks to a grant from 4Culture, the cultural services agency for King County, the entire archive of “Shavings” is now being made available again for free to CWB Members and to anyone that wants to know more about how Seattle came together to build a new kind of community based hands-on museum.

The links to the CWB “Shavings” archive can be found in the “About Us” tab right at the top of  The Center for Wooden Boats Website,   When you click that tab you’ll find a section called “Building a Community Museum” where the Shavings archive information can be found.

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Access to the complete back catalogue of Shavings is incredibly valuable to anyone thinking about creating a similar boat museum in their city.  CWB is asked for that kind of advice all the time.  Founding Director Dick Wagner has consulted with communities close by; in Oregon, Montana, and California. And he’s helped cities far away; in Virginia, Newfoundland, and even St. Petersburg in Russia.  It’s not uncommon to meet visitors from around the world walking the docks at CWB looking at the collection of historic boats, watching as children laugh and learn to sail and watch as adults take historic row boats and sailboats out onto Lake Union by themselves.  They see the fun, the bustling activity,  and eventually they climb the stairs in the boathouse to find Dick and ask, “ “How did you do it? And more importantly, how can we do it too.”

“Dick and Colleen Wagner have been a model and inspiration to all lovers of wooden boats around the nation who are  trying to impart to today’s youth that love.  The Center for Wooden Boats is THE model for program across the nation, especially fledgling programs like ours in Norfolk/Virginia Beach.”

-Tom Brandl, Virginia Beach, VA

Answering that question is what prompted 4Culture to approve a grant so that CWB could collect materials from it’s founding, growth, organizational structure and more and make that information freely available to all who are interested.  The “Building a Community Museum” project is an effort to explain what CWB has learned about how people can come together to build a museum from the water up, with thousands of volunteers helping along the way.  Those techniques and experiences can be just as useful to someone interested in creating a community museum focused on another subject.

“I just had this background of what happens when you give people a chance to go to a museum where you can play with the exhibits,” said Wagner. “And I want to share that information.”

When I started the Wind and Oar Boat School I looked for models that made sense and CWB was top of my list. The Wagner Education Center is the perfect completion of a vision I share with CWB and feel it is important addition to an already stellar facility and program. “

-Peter Crim, Director Wind and Oar Boat School, Portland, OR.

The Shavings archive is an important foundation for the “Building a Community Museum” project because it gives a quarterly window into the operations of CWB.  In addition to covering interesting boat renovations, community festivals and events, Shavings has articles about how CWB handled growth, its collection, and how it built programs that serve the community.  Dick wrote many of the articles in Shavings, and in some he spells out details of how CWB grew and has been funded even though it does not charge admission.

The Shavings archive is not the only piece of the CWB puzzle that will be available.  The museum is also in the process of adding video and audio interviews with CWB founders to the “Building a Community Museum” website so they can share in their own words what was going on in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood before all the restaurants, hotels, The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the Museum of History & Industry decided to join us here.  In the early 1980’s Dick Wagner did a “Wooden Boat Show” on KRAB-FM, the local community radio station run by the Jack Straw Foundation.   CWB is in the process of sorting and posting digital copies of those radio shows to the Community Museum site as another source of information and inspiration for people who want to build their own CWB.

More about CWB’s “Building a Community Museum” project can be found at


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