MOUNT DESERT — More than a year in the making, the Mount Desert Island Historical Society’s demonstration vessel, George B. Dory, was launched into Somes Sound in Somesville on Monday.
Whimsically named for George B. Dorr, one of the founders of Acadia National Park, the 18.5-foot dory was built primarily by historical society president Bill Horner and volunteer Jim Mroch with help from MDI High School industrial arts teacher George Deans.
They built the dory to be part of this summer’s exhibit at the society’s museum in Somesville. The exhibit, “A Portrait of an Island,” was inspired by a 2010 book about Art and Nan Kellam and their reclusive life on Placentia Island. For 36 years, starting in 1949, the couple rowed a dory to and from Bass Harbor for supplies.
Dories similar to theirs and to George B. Dory were used extensively by New England fishermen starting in the late 18th century.
“Just as the early dories extended the reach of larger vessels, this one will extend the reach of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society,” the society’s executive director, Tim Garrity, said in a brief ceremony prior to the launch.
“Working with community partners, we will add this floating campus to teach maritime history … to young people. It will be an additional campus to the ones we have in the [villages of] Sound and Somesville.”