Farewell to the F/V Perry

Farewell to the F/V Perry

Farewell to the F/V Perry – For Now

Valdez, Alaska, May 11, 2015 — She faced the elements since 1939, but the journey of the Valdez fishing vessel F/V Perry has finally come to an end – at least for now. Although the historic boat that stood in front of the Valdez Museum was dismantled last Saturday, portions of it are being retained for use in a future exhibition. The Perry has had a long and storied history: built on a fox farm on Perry Island, passing through several successive owners, and surviving the Good Friday disasters of the 1964 Earthquake and the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, the boat finally succumbed to one challenge it couldn’t overcome: time.

In 1994, then-owner Jim Burgett donated the boat to the Valdez Museum in the name of his son Miles, who was injured in a snowboarding accident. The Perry was stored outside the museum since then, but plans to restore and cover the boat never came to pass, due to issues of cost and storage space. In 2010, the Perry was deaccessioned from the museum collection but retained as an exhibit. The deaccession was a measure taken to free the museum from the obligation to preserve the boat to unattainable museum standards, and to allow the museum to perform emergency repairs if needed. In the fall of 2014, a survey determined that the vessel had deteriorated to the point of becoming a safety hazard for staff and visitors.

After consulting with the City of Valdez, the museum contracted local Boatwright Rodney Walters to oversee the dismantling and salvage of the Perry. Before disposal, Walters will supervise the removal of the hazardous lead paint covering the boat. The museum has retained the upper portion of the boat that includes the wheelhouse, plus the boom, mast, and additional hardware to be re-used in future interpretive displays. The museum also requested that Walters and company salvage previously-unknown historical elements such as inner boards stamped “Latouche, Alaska”, details which will enhance public understanding of the Perry’s history.

Although the museum has no immediate plans for a Perry display, a facility pre-planning process has begun to determine the needs for a new or upgraded facility. Plans for a facility upgrade, which could include a new, refurbished, or expanded building, will address the need for an exhibit displaying the salvaged portions as a means of introducing visitors to Valdez’s marine history. Andrew Goldstein, the museum’s Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, states, “This may actually be a better way for visitors to experience the Perry. Now you will be able to walk right up to and inside the boat, interacting with it in a much more personal way.”

About the Valdez Museum:

The Valdez Museum & Historical Archive is an active place. We bring the stories of our community’s history alive through our programs and activities. Please come visit us at our two locations: The Valdez Museum in the heart of downtown at 217 Egan Drive and the Remembering Old Valdez Exhibit on the waterfront at 436 S. Hazelet.

Contact: Patricia Relay – Tel: 907 835 2764 Email: director@valdezmuseum.org