MBL Candle House has its Whale Boat Back, Fully Restored

MBL Candle House has its Whale Boat Back, Fully Restored
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The iconic whaling ship model that, since the mid-1960s, has jutted out toward Water Street from the façade of the Marine Biological Laboratory’s (MBL) Candle House is back in place, after a complete overhaul.

Myron Hartford of North Falmouth restored and repainted the model ship, which is a replica of the Charles W. Morgan, a whaling vessel built in New Bedford in the 1840s.

“I basically rebuilt the whole thing,” said Hartford, a semi-retired architect and volunteer for the Woods Hole Historical Museum boat shop. Since the model was rotted from weather damage, he had to rebuild the keel, much of the planking and all of the rigging.

The model was originally built in about 1965 by Bob Hampton, a Falmouth builder who worked as a MBL carpenter, according to Debbie Scanlon, executive director of the Woods Hole Historical Museum.

From left, Bill Brosseau (MBL Facilities), Myron Hartford, Debbie Scanlon, and Jim Baker of Bourne (Woods Hole Historical Museum, boat shop volunteer) with the restored Charles W. Morgan model before its remounting on MBL Candle House. Credit: Megan Costello

Scanlon and Hartford were among a small group that watched the model’s remounting on Candle House by staff from MBL Facilities.

“I’ve always enjoyed working on boats and models,” said Hartford, who volunteered his time for the restoration. The MBL donated $500 to the Woods Hole Historical Museum in appreciation of Hartford’s work.

The Charles W. Morgan model commemorates Woods Hole’s history as a whaling port in the 1800s. Candle House, built in 1836, was originally used for storing whale oil and manufacturing spermaceti candles. It now houses the MBL’s executive offices and classrooms.

The “real” Charles W. Morgan is now on display in Mystic, Conn., and occasionally sails for commemorative events.