Becoming an artifact means in a way, dying as a real-life object and entering a strange eternal twilight. This 1917 launch-day portrait of the schooner Luther Little shows the beginning of the artifact track typical of many of our ship parts. She would never be so new or complete again.
The twilight of the twin hulks Hesper and Luther Little that became known as "The Wiscasset schooners" was particularly lengthy, their "real life" ending in 1932, auctioned off to a Wiscasset entrepreneur to wait while his plans came to nothing. By 1948, the abandoned schooners were well settled into the mud by the Rt. 1 bridge, to the delight of every passing tourist,
where they would become photo opps, menu icons, and postcard features for generations. After years of trading on the romance of the ruins, the town elders finally decided that asset had turned to eyesore after the hulls had collapsed into the mud beyond recognition. The Kodak moment was over and they were carted to the town dump.
Though the Museum was invited to select certain key parts of the dismantled schooners as desirable for the collection, such as the above section of the rigging, we could never quite get to the end of the track before a new election. To be at the mercy of a Town bureaucracy - ever changing, ever distracted, and understandably pre-occupied with more pressing issues than a moldering pile of maritime rubble - proved to be our most protracted and frustrating artifact negotiation.
In late fall of 2004, these portions (above) of one of the Luther Little's top-mast doublings finally
arrived, along with this mast butt and related mast step and are now on display in the Kennith D. Kramer Blacksmith Exhibit.