Volunteer Spotlight, March 2017: Ellsworth Bahrman
Q: How long have you been a Volunteer at the Herreshoff Marine Museum?
A: Several years to best of my recollection.
Q: Why did you decide to volunteer at the Museum?
A: I had visited numerous times during trips to visit family in RI. After my wife and I relocated here she suggested I get involved. I had been sailing for years and had long loved looking at and being around classic boats. They are, for me, a tangible link to a time when grace and elegance, rather than sheer noisy speed, were more dominant on the waters I grew up near.
Q: What is it that you do here?
A: Guiding visitors around the museum. I start them off with background info on the brothers, emphasizing some of the special boats they'll be seeing in the hall and why they're important. I'll often spend extra time with visitors who are especially interested.
Q: Tell us a little about your background.
A: Retired from a lifetime in editorial, marketing and advertising jobs. Grew up on Great South Bay in Bay Shore, NY. Although I loved boats, my family wasn't in a position to indulge my desire to have my own. I spent lots of time hanging around boat yards, which only encouraged my daydreams. Later in life I was happy to be able to buy my first sailboat, a Precision 15, at my wife's prodding. My next was a Cape Dory 25, a terrific boat for Lake Ontario. Traded it for a Rhodes 19 with a trailer before moving to RI. Next came a Cape Dory Typhoon, a 19-footer which I donated to HMM when we moved to Newport--land of few available moorings. I now own a Cape Dory 10, perfect for beaching legally around the corner from us.
Q: What is your favorite part about your time at the Museum?
A: By far it's the people I get to meet, as well as those I work with. I love just being around boats and believe my enthusiasm is evident when chatting up visitors. I still am surprised at how many people come from around the world to visit us. I also enjoy being able to walk down Burnside to visit with Dan Shea, and shooting the breeze with my fellow volunteers. Fact is I consider it a privilege to be a part of HMM and look forward to participating in its growth.