The Kennebec Historical Society plans this month to hold a presentation on the book “Two Centuries of Maine Shipbuilding: A Visual History,” by Nathan R. Lipfert.

The talk will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, at the Augusta City Center, 16 Cony St. in Augusta.

Submitted photo

Lipfert will discuss the history of Maine shipyards and shipbuilders and the vessels they built, concentrating on the 202 years since statehood. His presentation will be based on research for his recent book.

As long as wooden shipbuilding was the state of the art, Maine shipyards built more ships, and more tons of ships, than any other state. Every coastal community participated in this industry, according to a news release from Scott Wood, society executive director.

Maine continues as an important shipbuilding region into the present, providing well-paid skilled employment to thousands of people and building vessels of wood, metal, and composite materials that have an impact felt around the world.

Lipfert worked at the Maine Maritime Museum from 1971 to 2017 in various curatorial capacities: assistant curator, curator, library director, curator and library director, and senior curator. His present title is curator emeritus.


He was educated at Hofstra University and Vermont College of Norwich University, and at the National Archives Institute of the National Archives, among other places.

Lipfert has curated dozens of exhibits, large and small, for the Maine Maritime Museum; has written many articles, papers, lectures, finding aids, book reviews, and successful grant applications; and has been involved in many book projects.

He is an archivist, has served as an Elderhostel faculty member and ran an annual maritime history symposium for the museum from 1993 to 2017. He has wide experience in rowing and sailing small craft and has sailed a number of large sailing vessels.

He is the recipient of MMM’s 2011 Mariner of the Year Award, and the Maine Historical Society’s Neal W. Allen Jr. History Award in 2017. He co-authored “Lobstering and the Maine Coast” and co-authored and edited “Maine & The Sea: 50 Years of Collecting” at Maine Maritime Museum. He has just completed a small book on the history of the Bath Custom House and is working on a future book on shipbuilding tools.

This presentation is free with donations accepted. For more information about the program, call Wood at 207-622-7718.



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