In September 2013, Howard Byrne's vision for a dedicated space where model boat builders could work on projects became a reality. Visitors to the Maritime Heritage Alliance's Peter Henry Boat Shop (Building 2) will come upon a boat shop within a boat shop and, most likely, Howard Byrne working on a model or helping a woodworker with a project.
Above the main window of the insulated, heated space that looks out into the larger, unheated boat shop sits a 9-1/2-ft. frame up of the Armed Sloop Welcome that Howard Byrne constructed out of white pine. He conceived of the model, which took about 150 hours to complete, as a way to give people an idea of how boats are put together.
Working from the plans of the Welcome, he shaped—to a scale of two inches to the foot—the model of a vessel that has a storied past on the Great Lakes.
Members and prospective members of Maritime Heritage Alliance are invited to come to MHA's Modeler's Shop to work on models and share their boatbuilding skills with others who have an interest in learning.
The Modeler's Shop serves several functions, from recreation to rehabilitation. One person who had suffered a brain injury when he was struck by an automobile and was unable to work entered the program and began making models (no kits allowed). He was required to and successfully computed measurements and scale from pictures. He has improved to the point of being able to return to work. Others have donated model boats that have been damanaged and volunteered to repair them in our shop and then display them.