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2008 Gala at Santa Barbara

(click for more pictures)

On the weekend of March 14-16 about 30 Wilson friends and family gathered (along with more than 100 other attendees) at the Santa Barbara Museum to honor the Wilson family — for their maritime contributions along the Pacific Coast over the past century — and specifically Ed and Helen Wilson for their “cornerstone” contributions, as they were founding members of the museum.

The museum curator, Jennifer Wisniewski, under the direction of Julie McDonald, did a fantastic job displaying artifacts, showcasing storyboards — all to tell of the Wilson Saw Mill and Maritime businesses/history. We also spent time with Robert “Bob” Schwemmer, part of NOAA, who was forefront in connecting all the branches of Wilson back together, when Bob travelled to Aberdeen some 10 years ago (on a fact finding mission for the museum) and talked with our great uncle Dewey Wilson. From that point he reconnected Dewey with Ed & Helen wilson and then my father and I also began acquainted with the California Wilsons.

With the contributions made to the museum by Ed and Helen Wilson, the museum has been able to put in a surround sound system into the meeting room (replica “hull” of the wilson vessel: Charles R. Wilson) that Ed & Helen funded, add a small boat to shuttle tourists from the aquarium over to the museum, and a periscope which is the center piece of the Ed & Helen military Exhibit. This weekend, the Museum opened the Wilson Maritime exhibit, highlighting the Wilson lumber ships featuring oil paintings of the Wilson vessels painted by the famous artist Hans Skalagard.

Ed and Helen Wilson were also major supporters of my book, From Boats to Board Feet: The Wilson Family of the Pacific Coast

Saturday began with a harbor side lunch on the Stearns Wharf hosted by Chuck and Mary Wilson, then there was the Gala event Saturday evening at the museum. Sunday we all enjoyed a casual brunch at the Montecito home of Chuck and Mary, followed by a personal tour of the museum with Julie McDonald, Jennifer and Bob Schwemmer — A great time was had by all, great food and conversation too!

Weather cleared and was sunny and breezy. This was definitely another “Cousin’s reunion” of sorts, as there people who traveled from Washington State, Nevada, Oregon, California and Arizona.

On a future note — I added — be looking for the Wilson Cousins tour Sweden — a "trip to the Homeland".

Wouldn’t that be a great idea for summer 2009!



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