Maine Maritime Museum’s Discovery Boatbuilding Program, which began in 1995, teaches an innovative and hands-on traditional boatbuilding curriculum.
We were an early pioneer in utilizing boatbuilding as a vehicle to teach STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), a concept that is now mirrored in numerous programs across the country.
The Discovery Boatbuilding Program puts students in a working environment that emphasizes and develops each student’s personal growth, teamwork, leadership, responsibility and problem solving. Safe work practices and shop skills are developed early on to ensure student safety. Currently four schools participate in the program: Georgetown School, South Bristol School, West Bath School, and Woolwich Central School. This school year (2021-22) marks the 26th anniversary of the program.
During the first semester, students begin thinking in three dimensions as they develop an understanding of basic woodworking techniques and technology. Each student builds three increasingly difficult projects to take home: a three-legged stool, a tool box, and a carved half model of the skiff they will be constructing.
In the second semester, the students go through the process of building a 12-foot, flat-bottom skiff of a traditional Maine design. Graduation from the program takes place around the last day of school, when the students launch and row their boats with the entire student body in attendance.