Docents at the Stone Harbor Museum said it was important to remember all the history of the island because the history is what defines the town.

"If we forget our heritage as citizens of a town or country or whatever, we're giving up so much of who we are," said Karen Wren, a docent at the Stone Harbor Museum.

The need to preserve history is the reason the museum has expanded and now includes a maritime annex full of the history of sailing in Stone Harbor. The annex - which opened July 24 - even has several full-size sailboats outside for visitors to inspect and see.

Visitors who stop by the museum can learn about the history of sailing and how it pertains to Stone Harbor.

The annex first became an idea in 2002 when the yacht club acquired a Comet sailboat.

"That's really how it got started," said Jim Wren, a club member, museum docent and member of the museum's board.

The museum is dedicated to Edme and Babe Deschamps. The Deschamps used to operate a boat yard in Stone Harbor, and Edme Deschamps built boats in town until his death.

Although there are currently four boats for display, Jim Wren said he hoped to have either scale models or full size versions of all one-design sailboats. Those include the Comet, Penguins, Moth, Sailfish, GP14, Yankee Flyer, Cheetah Cat, Sunfish, Pram, Opti, Laser and Flying Scott.

Jim Wren said it would be difficult for the annex to feature full-size sailboats for each kind because of the current 93rd Avenue site's limited space.

However, he was hopeful all boats would be represented at the museum eventually.

"We just kind of scratched the surface here," he said, adding that the mission of the museum is to trace the history of those designs from the 1930s to the current day models.

Although Stone Harbor has a history of sailing, Jim Wren said the museum should attract a variety of visitors, especially when the boats' sails are up and the sun is shining.

"We appeal to people who just like sailboats," he said. "And those who race."

He said for some people, sailing might just be a hobby, but - no matter how they are connected to the sport - it will remain a part of their lives forever.

"It's a big part of people who remain in it," he said. "It's a big part of their life."

Avid sailors and non-sailors alike could easily be charmed by the museum's combination of history and excitement of regattas and sailing challenges presented between countries.

Jane McGuckin, a local artist who helped decorate and organize the garage-size annex, said it was a fun project to complete with museum members, who created the annex in about a month's time.

Having only been open for about two weeks, Jim Wren said there is still a lot to do at the museum before it is complete. He said the next step is to continue acquiring boats and restoring them for display.

Contact Caitlin Dineen:


If you go

The Stone Harbor Museum and the Maritime Annex are open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. While the museum is free, donations are requested. Both the museum and annex are located at 235 93rd Ave.