During the spectacular craning of the 57 foot, nearly 100,000 pound wooden replica of the 17th century ship, The Maryland Dove at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum last week, the phrase from a fabulous Ted Talk came back to me, “…it’s not what you do it’s why you do it.”
Simon Sinek’s powerful talk about how leaders motivate teaches an important lesson. And, in the case of the Maryland Dove, it is important to celebrate not only the what – a beautifully crafted wooden ship by the CBMM shipwrights built over the past 3 years – but, the why as well.
The what gave us beautiful images of a massive wooden ship being placed into the water in St. Michaels, Maryland where the shipwrights will complete the construction of the vessel being delivered to the Historic City of St. Mary’s where it will be exhibited and seen by hundreds of thousands of people, some of whom will be fortunate enough to actually sail on the ship.
The why behind this project goes to the heart of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s mission. As stated by CBMM, it is “dedicated to preserving and exploring the history, environment, and culture of the entire Chesapeake Bay region, and making this resource available to all.
Almost 20 million people live in close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, a unique and extraordinary body of water that holds a rich history for the entire nation. Sharing the importance of that history and the Bay’s significance to our future happens at CBMM every day through multiple exhibits and the restoration of vessels along with other displays of artifacts.
Rarely, however, does a project come along as large and as visible as the construction of The Dove. In fact, last week’s launch of the Dove represented the launch of the largest vessel constructed in St. Michaels since 1904. Throughout the construction, people came to view the work of some of the finest shipwrights in the nation. Along the way, apprentices were taught skills that some feared had been lost. Students visited the site throughout the project and saw opportunities that may never have otherwise occurred to them.
I confess, as I stood on my boat watching the craning of the Maryland Dove into the water, I knew I was witnessing a moment that would be long remembered. Along with that moment, I hope people will also remember why this project and others to come in the future are so important. The why behind the incredible what represented through the work of those dedicated CBMM shipwrights is a remarkable treasure for us all.
Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore. Mr. Fuller was elected Chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum last month.