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Schooner AJ MEERWALD, New Jersey’s Official Tall Ship Restoration at Clark & Eisele

February 17, 2022 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


The 1928 Schooner AJ Meerwald is spending this winter and spring in Belfast undergoing a restoration under Clark & Eisele. During this program, we will “visit” the AJ’s home port of Bivalve, New Jersey with Bayshore Center at Bivalve’s Museum Curator Rachel Dolhanczyk. We’ll learn about the Meerwald and Phillips families, find out why the Delaware Bay’s Maurice River Cove was the “Oyster Capital of the World,” and view the orientation film Changing Tides to see the characters, boats, and oysters that made “more millionaires per square mile” in this small town in Cumberland County, New Jersey. Then, we’ll hear from Tim Clark of Clark & Eisele Traditional Boat Building who will share the AJ Meerwald’s restoration progress with tons of fascinating photos in this behind-the-scenes tour. AJ Meerwald has been under their watchful eyes since 2018. Follow the restoration at

The AJ Meerwald is a restored Delaware Bay new style schooner that was built to dredge oysters under sail, but saw a lifetime of change come full circle. She served the US Coast Guard during World War II, returned to oystering under power for 10 years, was converted to dredge clams and then was left to rot in Maryland before being saved in 1986 by John Gandy and the Bayshore Center at Bivalve (BCB). BCB was founded in 1988 and is New Jersey’s only environmental history museum, and the home port of the Schooner AJ Meerwald, New Jersey’s official tall ship, with a mission to further the understanding of the human impact on the environment. Located on a working waterfront, BCB operates the Delaware Bay Museum in the Oyster Shipping Sheds dating back to 1904. From their wharves, patrons get an unspoiled view of the beauty of the Maurice River, a National Wild and Scenic River, and get to watch oystermen navigate the river as osprey and bald eagles soar overhead.

Clark & Eisele Traditional Boatbuilding, LLC is a company specializing in the building, repair, and maintenance of traditionally constructed wooden vessels of all sizes and types. Prior to the company’s formation, they participated in restoration and repair efforts that encompass a significant number of the most widely recognized and revered sail training, commercial, and museum vessels in America. While many boatbuilders are capable of performing the type of restoration work that the AJ Meerwald requires, few have regular practice at this work. The community of Maine shipwrights and world class yacht yards represents one of the last living traditional boatbuilding industries in the country, and as such it produces skilled individuals who are not only capable of producing high quality work with historical integrity but who additionally do so with professional confidence and efficiency.

Check out BCB’s new book, The AJ Meerwald and New Jersey’s Oyster Industry. Order your copy today at

This event is free; suggested donation of $5.

Register here.

Photo caption: The AJ Meerwald arrived in Camden, Maine in September and met up with her sister the J&E Riggin. Photo courtesy of Capt. Jocelyn Schmidt, J&E Riggin.


February 17, 2022
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Penobscot Marine Museum
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