Earthquake Boat Exhibit Almost Complete

The Thelma C. (Photo courtesy of Kodiak Maritime Museum Thelma C Collection)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Construction of the new Kodiak Maritime Museum outdoor exhibit is almost complete at the Spit downtown.

Museum executive director Toby Sullivan says workers will soon set up a steel frame to hold the vessel Thelma C, which the museum rebuilt and restored in 2012.

He says the boat will feature interpretive signs about the 1964 earthquake and tsunami.

“If you’re just walking around downtown, unless you go up to the [Best Western Kodiak Inn] or to the Baranov and look at the pictures, you’d never know that the largest earthquake in North American history happened and that this huge tsunami event rubbed out this small town. You’d never know that. So, this exhibit will tell people about that.”

He says the Thelma C itself is a product of the natural disaster.

“The original owner’s boat was destroyed in a tsunami in Valdez although he was from Kodiak, so he had the Thelma C built, so it was one of what they call the earthquake boats. There was a whole fleet of boats that was built right after the earthquake, so this is one of the last of the earthquake boats.”

It’s been a pricey endeavor, and Sullivan says the cost is ever-changing. He says a museum building is still sometime in the future and dependent on funding.

He says the construction of this outdoor exhibit began late July and they hope to hold a dedication ceremony next month.

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