Preserving and Enhancing Maine’s History
Maine’s First Ship (MFS) is a historically significant reconstruction project that we have leveraged into practical shipbuilding and ship operation programs for the education of students of all ages. As we build Virginia, our floating classroom, we are engaging students in annual summer shipbuilding courses that teach traditional skills. Programs include lofting and related math, carpentry, as well as ship preservation, operation and maintenance that will help prepare participants to succeed in real life employment. We teach the science of shipbuilding in a condensed historic context.
Virginia, the first ship built in North America by English colonists, was built in 1607-1608 at Popham Colony’s Fort St George. This, the first English settlement north of Jamestown, was located at the mouth of the Kennebec River. As few as 70 of the original 120 colonists built the sturdy pinnace Virginia, beginning Maine’s long tradition of quality shipbuilding with 4000 ships built just on the Kennebec. During her lifetime, Virginia crossed the Atlantic at least twice, including the trip back to serve the Jamestown colony.
The 51 foot reconstruction of the pinnace Virginia will be constructed to meet the Coast Guard Standards for Small Passenger Vessels (T-Boat Inspected). This project has drawn strong collaborative support from the City of Bath, Regional School Unit #1 (RSU#1), and local and state officials.