The Elizabeth and Bolling Haxall Building serves as the Museum’s main building housing exhibit space, the Museum Store, Admissions, Robert O. Cox Theatre, Homer Dodge Education Center, Lou Smith Library and Marion Clayton Link Archives, Tony & Jim Lewis Boardroom, and the administrative offices.
The Haxall Building features four exhibits: The Lure of the Thousand Islands in the David L. Coffin Jr. Gallery, Beneath the Surface: The Maritime Artwork of Roland Stevens in the concourse gallery, The Old Reliable: The Historically Inspired Designs of Slipstream Watercraft in the Homer L. Dodge Gallery, and our lobby boat(s) and introductory exhibit to the Museum and the 1000 Islands in the Virginia & Fred Gordon Gallery. The lobby boat(s) changes every season.
The Lure of the Thousand Islands
What do you think of when you hear the word recreation? Maybe some sort of outdoor activity or sport? The origins of the word show that it also once meant to recover from illness, through rest, activity, or even by eating. It was for these reasons people, beginning in the late 1800s boarded trains in polluted, overcrowded, and dirty cities of the North Eastern United States to awake the next morning to the fresh crisp air, blue skies, and cool clean waters of the St. Lawrence River and the famed Thousand Islands.
Beginning in early May the grand hotels and cottages of the Thousand Islands and River towns began to fill with summer residents and vacationers. But people did not come to just relax idle, they came to get out on the water in boats to fish, race, swim, and socialize with others. The Lure of the Thousand Islands offers visitors a glimpse into what summer social life was like on the St. Lawrence River by exploring various recreational activities. These range from well-known pastimes such as guide fishing- to the unexpected, such as the wash tub races at Thousand Islands Park, shown above.
Beneath the Surface: The Maritime Artwork of Roland Stevens
Beneath the Surface features a wonderful collection of Mr. Stevens’ work recently donated tot the Antique Boat Museum including many original watercolors with historical ties to the shipwrecks of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.
Roland “Chip” Stevens is a retired architect and artist whose artwork is well known in the region and has shown in numerous national exhibitions. A sailor for many years, Stevens has a love of the sea, as reflected in his seascape watercolor paintings.
Chip has been a member of and team artist with the Old Shipwreck Hunters for years. The group also includes Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville and plays an integral part in documenting the history of shipwrecks in Lake Ontario. Using side sonar scanning data and remote underwater vehicle footage, Chip is able to create artistic images of the wrecks resting below the water as well as how they would have looked before sinking.
The exhibit also features video footage and historical information relating to the shipwrecks and a peek inside Mr. Stevens’ artistic process.
The Old Reliable: The Historically Inspired Designs of Slipstream Watercraft
Slipstream Watercraft is a canoe and kayak manufacturer with an extraordinary appreciation for classically elegant paddling designs manufactured from modern materials. A nearly life-long love of Adirondack waterways created an insatiable interest in paddling for Slipstream’s founders. Now, as Slipstream’s founders approach their mid-seventies, boat weight has become even more consequential. They aren’t alone — everyone from Baby Boomers to teenage fishermen appreciate ultra-lightweight boats.
Slipstream Watercraft started as a “retirement” project that was purposed to generate a little extra income intended to offset the high cost of diesel fuel for the founders’ recreational vehicle. Their decision to build the famous John Henry Rushton designed Wee Lassie was the impeccable choice — small enough to be produced in a garage and extremely popular in the world of canoeing. What started as “just one boat every couple of weeks to offset diesel costs” grew into a brand well-known throughout North America. Everyone at Slipstream considers it a privilege to be boatbuilders of J.H. Rushton designs and it shows. Paddlers regularly travel hundreds and frequently thousands of miles to get a Rushton design produced by Slipstream.
Slipstream has adopted a philosophy that values exceptional customer service while employing high tech ultralight modern composite materials integrated with traditional open molding and Vacuum Infusion Process laminating. The willingness to provide Wee Lassies that are customized to paddler requirements has given rise to demand for additional Rushton designs. Abundant time and energy are devoted to every purchase interview to match customer needs with the perfect design choice for them. The Slipstream team takes great pleasure in doing something extra, unique, or and noteworthy for paddlers. Sometimes it’s a laser engraving on the canoe deck with a favored Thoreau quote: “Everyone must believe in something. I believe I’ll go canoeing.” The team has also fabricated canoes in custom colors and made a carbon Wee Lassie, weighing only 8.5 pounds, for an elderly cardiac patient who was instructed not to lift more than ten pounds.
The exhibit features several small craft from Slipstream small craft alongside the historic vessels that inspired them from the collection of the Antique Boat Museum. In addition, information on the Slipstream building process and other materials give the visitor an inside look at the Slipstream Watercraft story.