The Maritime Craft Center at the South Street Seaport Museum is a place where volunteers and craftspeople carry on the traditions of maritime craft, including wood carving and model ship building.
As part of our new exhibition “Millions: Migrants and Millionaires Aboard the Great Liners, 1900-1914”, the Seaport Museum welcomes Master Woodcarver Deborah Mills to the craft center where she is working on recreating a piece of the Museum’s permanent collection: an ornate wood panel from the First-Class Smoking Room of the R.M.S. Mauretania. Each Wednesday visitors can stop by the craft center and watch Deborah bring the wood carved reproduction closer to the original. Thursday through Sunday the piece will be on view as part of the exhibition at 12 Fulton Street, where visitors are encouraged to touch the piece and observe the intricate details adorning this single panel.
The South Street Seaport Museum’s Maritime Craft Center was originally housed in two fused shipping containers erected on Pier 15 in 1983 and staffed by Master Woodcarver Salvatore “Sal” Polisi, and moved to its current home in 2012 where Sal continued to bring his art to life until his passing in 2015. Throughout his time at the Seaport Museum in his informal roles as docent, greeter, tour-guide, and storyteller, Sal also brought to life the seaport itself.
New York Times remembers Sal Polisi