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HomeEvents17th Annual S.S. Meteor Preservation Project 2021

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17th Annual S.S. Meteor Preservation Project 2021

Saturday, April 24, 2021 to Sunday, April 25, 2021
S.S. Meteor Whaleback Museum Ship on Barkers Island
300 Marine Dr
Superior , WI  54880

Event Contact(s):
Megan Meyer
Director Superior Public Museums
715-394-5712 (p)
Phil Kerber
S.S. Meteor Preservation Project Chairman
612-720-2825 (c)
2021 Projects
Registration is recommended
Payment In Full In Advance Only
Please bring respirators, safety glasses, hats, gloves old shoes and warm clothes you can get dirty and throw away after the weekend.
Activities/Items    (Click the down-arrow to the left of the activity/item to view the details)
All Weekend
Saturday Only
Sunday Only



of the

S.S. Meteor!

All Hands on Deck!!

This year's Annual S.S. Meteor Preservation Project Work Weekend will again need to be Limited to the Amount of Volunteers.

Because of the Pandemic Restrictions Still in Place, 
Masks, Respirators and Social Distancing
Will Be Required!

Please Register for the 2021 S.S. Meteor Project
Work Weekends ASAP!


Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society (GLSPS)
Superior Public Museums (SPM)
Lake Superior Marine Museum Association (LSMMA)

Wisconsin Underwater Archaeology Association (WUAA)



We will be Sponsoring the "Seventeenth" Annual S.S. Meteor Preservation Project, Saturday and Sunday, April 24 and 25, 2021. 

This year the S.S. Meteor is also Celebrating 125 years since it was first launched as the Rockefeller.

Happy 125th Birthday!!

This is a very worthy cause and if we don't continue to preserve this one-of-a-kind Whale-back ship, it could be lost forever!

Please join us in
preserving one of the only "Whale-back Ships" remaining in the world!

We are looking for a few good men and women to help stabilize and preserve the


Please Click on Above Pictures to Enlarge



S.S. Meteor Preservation Project 2019



Requirements / Recommendations:


1.You must be 16 years of age or older. (Unless other arrangements are made)

2.Have your own Medical Insurance.

3.This is a project that requires the ability to do both light and heavy physical work.

4.Please bring any of your own safety equipment such as safety glasses, respirators, masks, knee guards, gloves, coveralls, shoes, boots, hats, and warm clothes. Optional: Hardhat.

5.A liability release form from SPM will need to signed and handed into the staff before anyone can start working on their assigned tasks.

6. Please 
Note:  Some tools will be provided.  Such as, paint scrapers, brushes, wiping rags, cleaners, and some respirator masks (Limited Quantity).  Please bring your own if you prefer a certain brand and are in good shape.

To speed up the process, please click on the link button to print, read, agree, sign and bring with you to hand into the SPM Staff.




This project is the 17th Annual.  The last sixteen years we put this Project together, we had a great turn out.  Except for the year of the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020.  We broke a record of 100 volunteers in 2014.  We have an average of 50 plus volunteers for this event every year!   The folks from the Superior's Public Museum's Board of Directors and the City of Superior WI are very appreciative with the efforts of all the organizations that helped make this project successful!  Let’s try making this event another successful year!



Please Note: The below Task List will be much smaller this year because of the number of volunteers we are allowed by the state.  Although the list could be updated right up to the day before the Project!

Please Check Back Later for Any Updates to the Task List as We Draw Closer to the Project.

2021 Priority Tasks


  1. Ramp/Walkway:
    1. Replace only boards that are rotting.
    2. Paint to preserve what we replaced.
    3. Put netting/mesh up the walkway for safety.
    4. Discuss further a metal ramp for the future.


  2. Pigeon / Bird Control:
    1. Fill in areas where pigeons still get in with foam (see Rick Schmidt and Dean Soderbeck.)
  3. Cleaning and Preparation for Season of Tours:
    1. Clean staff office and area.
    2. Clean exhibit areas – sweep, dust, vacuum.
    3. Clean exhibit glass inside and out.
    4. Clean glass on all port holes and other windows.
    5. Vacuum all areas that need it.
    6. Clean up paint drippings as much as possible (always be careful when painting!).
    7. Make all beds and install linens (see Megan about other options with no mattresses available).
    8. Put out props.
    9. Put out Covid cleaning stations with hand sanitizers, masks and wipes.


  4. Welding:
    1. Patch lots of small holes.
    2. Forward cargo hold.
    3. Pilot house roof – need plate(s) welded in where it’s rusted out.Then seal, primer and paint that area around the whole perimeter of the roof.
    4. Weld small plate in rust hole in ceiling of aft turret.
    5. Weld two holes in same area of turret.
    6. Start welding in new plates under aft crew quarters as there is rust starting through the floor.
    7. Extract seized belts (with wing nuts) on dumb waiter square cover. Heat up and try to remove old wing nuts or replace with new bolts?
    8. Complete forward turret roof – weld completely shut.


  5. Dumb Waiter Shaft Square Cover on Aft Deck & Smoke Stack
    1. Remove and reseal after seized bolts are removed (a trip to Menards may be required).
    2. Finish netting around the bottom of the smoke stack.



  6. Pressure Washing:
    1. All aft vents painted red to remove peeling paint (that haven’t been painted previously).
    2. Entire hull – bird poop and other debris.
    3. Pilot house/chart room roof.
    4. Aft deck if we are painting it.


  7. Air Vents Aft (Red Inside):
    1. Pressure wash
    2. Scrape
    3. Clean
    4. Reseal
    5. Primer and paint


  8. Paint All Stanchions/Pipes on Starboard Aft Deck (butterscotch yellow)
    1. Scrape
    2. Clean
    3. Prime
    4. Paint


  9. Re-do Snow Fence Covering Over Lifeboats:
    1. Port side lifeboat fencing was cut open!!
    2. Replacement of orange snow fence may need to be done only on port side lifeboat.
    3. Starboard side lifeboat needs resealing to keep birds out!


  10. 4 Pipes Under Water Tanks - On aft deck that are allowing water to get in the ship.
    1. Clean
    2. Caulked
    3. Prime
    4. Paint.


  11. Pilot House/Chart Room:
    1. Repaint portside “Meteor” Sign on top of pilot house. (Dale Koziol brought home to his wood shop complete it).
    2. Discuss and assess pilot house/chart room water leakage.
    3. Weld roof – see above.
    4. Re-seal with special roofing sealer.
    5. Paint radar mast – before roof is sealed and painted.
    6. Repair rotten floor below chart room outside door.
    7. Scrape, prime and paint both chart room and pilot house (green historical color).
    8. Polish all brass.
    9. Paint entire aft deck – This is a task for later Sunday or another weekend during the summer. Further discussion is needed as to when this can be performed.


    10. SS Meteor Documentary
    11. Whaleback historical videos and presentations
    12. Underwater videos of sunken whaleback ships
    13. Narrated presentation on the 20 years when the SS Meteor Preservation Project started in 2001 by WUAA and continued in 2005 in collaboration with the Superior Public Museums, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society and the many volunteers, which is now celebrating its 16th plus years.
  12. Captain Quarters:
    1. Remove old mattresses that are stored in the room(s). Keep 1 for archival purposes (Megan will approve) that will be stored at Fairlawn Mansion. 1 can be places in dumpster. The rest will be delivered to A-1 Roll Off Saturday morning before 12pm.
    2. Clean quarters thoroughly.
    3. A plywood frame may need to be installed to simulate mattresses.
    4. Measure brown cushions in quarters for protective covers.


  13. Crews Quarters
    1. 3rd Mates Room - finish with port hole metal surrounding bondo, sand, primer and paint.
    2. 1st and 2nd Mate Room – both need old concrete removed and new concrete poured into the floor of these two rooms. (See Dean Soderbeck, he needs help with this task)!
    3. Concrete chipped out and removed from aft turret stairway. Moisture is collecting under it and saturating it and then expanding causing water damage and rust.
    4. Galley stove vent hood – scrape, clean, prime and paint entire hood. Also, make sure to scrape paint off the window glass used for lighting.
    5. Mess Hall – clean up rust spots on wall with terry cloth first. If it doesn’t work, then sand, prime and add a coat of white paint.
    6. Re-hang bulletin board on mess hall wall,
    7. Guest room aft crews quarters “Guest Room” (Dean S. Room) – finish, clean, prime and paint.
    8. 12 to 4 room – remove nasty sheet of plywood behind bed, scrape, clean, prime and paint area around the bed.
    9. 8-12 Room – scrape, sand, clean, prime and paint entire room.
    10. Scrape, clean, prime and paint grocery hatch in crews quarters hallway.
    11. Clean, scrape and paint mess hall floor tile red. Possibly officers mess as well.Make signs and gather rope to seal off the area after painting – Please Note: this will need to be performed later on Sunday!


  14. Engine Room and Area
    1. Make sure all oil is soaked up with oil absorbent pads.
    2. Make sure water is drained from bilge with supplied bilge/sump pumps.
    3. Re-seal cover on vent pipe/post on starboard side mid deck by rear bollards.It may be causing water to leak in food storage shelving area (red shelves).
    4. Check both starboard vent (by bench in main engine deck) and port vents for water leakage. The water coming down them may just be condensation?
    5. A thorough cleaning and vacuuming of the main deck of engine room.
    6. Please Note: ceiling of upper engine room is forming some surface rust again.A painting project for 2022?
    7. Paint top of metal bench on starboard side (gray).
    8. Paint telegraph post – (use same green color as engine).
    9. Paint Bench Grinder post – (use same green color as engine).
    10. Install original barrier behind large main fuse panel to keep small kids/people out from going behind it.
    11. Remove or cover old oil barrel in lower engine room.
    12. Remove as much debris in lower engine room and crankshaft areas. Seems to be a lot of debris from previous work weekends.
    13. Polish all brass in engine room.


  15. Exhibit Area:
    1. Prepare, prime and paint all red railings inside ship that are used on tour. Railing paint was damaged by using required sanitation cleaning methods on them.
    2. Large public head/restroom by engine room – base board removal and install some other means of a baseboard. Vinyl?
    3. Remove rope ladder from exhibit area – kids are climbing on it and it is becoming a possible hazard where someone (kids) can be hurt climbing on it.
    4. Paint exhibit area ceiling on starboard side that hasn’t had primer on it.
    5. Paint final white coat on ceiling on port side in exhibit area.


  16. Misc. Tasks:
    1. Bar area cleanup for 125th anniversary of the Meteor event in August.
    2. Media Room Proposed –
      1. Start cleanup discussion on what will need to be done to create a media room
      2. What artifacts will remain and what needs to be removed.
      3. A discussion will need to be started as to what is needed for videos.
      4. Proposed videos
  1. SS Meteor Documentary
  2. Whaleback historical videos and presentations
  3. Underwater videos of sunken whaleback ships
  4. Narrated presentation on the 20 years when the SS Meteor Preservation Project started in 2001 by WUAA and continued in 2005 in collaboration with the Superior Public Museums, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society and the many volunteers, which is now celebrating its 16th plus years.

Please Note:
  Any cargo holds and other areas that need cleanup, will not take place without SPM Personnel Present!! 

*If you are a leader of a task during the project work weekend and, you were assigned to bring supplies and equipment, please let Phil K or Megan Meyer know who you are and where to find the list where you were assigned. 

The large list of tasks continues to grow as the project draws near.

More will be added, please check back later.

Masks will be Required along with social distancing - Although most of the the time you will be wearing a safety respirator during the work in the meteor anyway.

Date: Saturday and Sunday, April 24 and 25, 2021
(Ship will be open at 8:00 AM for early riser's and set up)

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturday and 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM Sunday or until …….

(Saturday: 9:15 AM Project Briefing)!! Please be present for the briefing!! (The briefing will be Outside).

S.S. Meteor Whale-Back Museum in Superior Wisconsin on Barkers Island.


Lunch: Box Lunches will be provided . (Breakfast you will be on your own).

We will be meeting at Barker's Island Inn Restaurant (Barkers Island near Meteor) both mornings for Breakfast at 7:00 AM.

Dinner:  Will most likely an outside BBQ and Bon Fire at the Fairlawn Mansion (BYOB and a chair).  (Weather permitting).

Lodging:  Free lodging is available but limited.  We can provide space for some people in various campers, boats, and houses around the area free of charge, based on a first come first served bases.  Please let us know if you need free lodging ASAP!  Barkers Island Inn / Hotel is offering a $60.00 per night room special only for the S.S. Meteor project participants.  (Rooms available after Feb 25, 2020).  Please reserve your room ASAP for they only blocked out a certain amount of rooms.  Please mention "The Whale-back Clean up" to receive your special room discount.  Their phone number is, 715-392-7152

Please Note: If you are staying in any of the campers or boats, please bring your sleeping bag, pillow, and other sleeping accommodations. If you are staying at a marina, the showers are most likely open for use.  Please bring your own towel.

If you prefer to stay in another Hotel, there are a few smaller and inexpensive Hotels in the local area. Please Google “Hotels Superior Wisconsin” Mention you are there for the Whale-back Project. Some hotels will give you a discount.

This year’s Saturday night Get-Together will only be an Outside BBQ.  (weather permitting).  This will be held at the Fairlawn Mansion (Not far from the Meteor).  Please bring your own beverages and a chair to sit on.


You can also ask the SPM staff of the Museum for a custom tour of the Whale-back Ship you normally don't see on a regular summer tour!

If you are interested in volunteering, please register for the project by clicking on the "Register Now" button in the upper right-hand corner of this page.  Follow the step by step directions.  Or, by contacting the Chairman of the event, Phil Kerber or, the Director of SPM Megan Meyer.   Contact information for both Phil and Megan are below.
Please don't delay in registering ASAP, this will help us determine the headcount for the food and provide email communications for any additional information about the project.

Please confirm your attendance ASAP!

Thank you very much for your time.

Hope to see you there.

Phil Kerber

President - Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society
S.S. Meteor Project Chairman

Megan Meyer
Superior Public Museums