The Onrust: Floating Museum and Regional Attraction

Greta Wagle, who earned her master’s degree in Dutch and English linguistics and literature in Belgium, taught at the high school level in Belgium and in the U.S. for several years before becoming an independent researcher. One of the projects Greta Wagle worked on, the Onrust Project, involved building a replica of a 17th-century Dutch boat of the same name that played a major role in the exploration, trade, and map-making of the early 1600s.

In addition to providing an insightful glimpse into the shipbuilding techniques of the Dutch, who were the world leaders in the craft at the time, the modern Onrust serves as a floating museum, teaching the role of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys in the development of the colonies and the U.S., as well as the part played by New York’s capital district in the shipbuilding industry of the 17th century.

The Onrust has proved to be a popular local and regional attraction. After its maiden voyage in 2009 on the Mohawk River, it participated in numerous functions and festivals. The boat participates every year in the Waterford Tugboat Festival, providing the crowds with one of their favorite moments — the hourly firing of the Onrust’s cannon. The boat also appears annually at the Waterford Cultural Festival on the Erie Canal, where visitors are given a demonstration of the methods used to build the original Onrust and the modern yacht.

In 2012, the Onrust supported the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York by hosting winners of its fundraising auction on a special voyage on the upper Hudson, visiting the towns of Waterford, New Baltimore, Catskill, and Athens. Later that summer, it partnered with the Waterford Farmers’ Market to promote the annual Talk Like a Pirate Day. More information about the Onrust Project is available online at http://www.theonrust.com.

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