Stewards of canoe heritage win birchbark vessel in museum raffle

Posted Aug. 13, 2010, at 6:29 p.m.

SEARSPORT, Maine — The grand prize authentic birchbark canoe of Penobscot Marine Museum’s 2010 drawing Aug. 5 could not have ended up in better, more appreciative hands.

Steven Vorpagel of Readfield is an avid canoe collector, and he and his wife, Cathy, are active in the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association, an international organization dedicated to preserving and using traditional canoes.

The canoe was built at the museum last summer by master builder Steve Cayard and a team of apprentices from the Wabanaki nations.

The grand prize ticket was drawn at the museum’s gala and auction at Point Lookout Resort in Northport by Ellie Flagg, manager of the Searsport branch of Bangor Savings Bank, the event’s primary sponsor.

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The next day tickets were drawn for first and second prizes, with first going to Jack Williams of Camden National Bank and second going to Todd Labrador of Nebb’s Cross, Nova Scotia.

The Vorpagels say they will use the canoe, not merely display it, and will bring it to canoe gatherings to give others the rare opportunity to paddle an authentic birchbark canoe.

Penobscot Marine Museum is Maine’s oldest maritime museum and home to the state’s largest display of historic boats and outstanding collections of marine art and artifacts, ship models and historic photography. Its campus — including four ship captains’ homes, two boathouses, a town hall, a carriage house and other build-ings — re-creates a bustling coastal village during the age of sail. Activities and exhibits for children and year-round adult programs make it a special place for family visits and history enthusiasts. Admission is free for Searsport residents.

The museum is on U.S. Route 1 in Searsport. For more information, go to www.PenobscotMarineMuseum.org or call 548-2529.

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