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The 2019 Nautical Research Guild Conference is History.  Both my wife and I had a great time.  The New Bedford Whaling Museum is terrific.  We had speakers and round tables and a chance, once again, to meet with members of our Ship Modeling Community.  We toured the Hereshoff Museum in Bristol, Massachusetts, and the Naval War College Museum in Newport, Rhode Island.  In both places we had excellent guides.  Here are a few photographs of the Conference.

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Tom, Thanks for sharing all the photos. I just looked through them again and all of a sudden I noticed the age range of the group.  Maybe it is that the younger modelers are still working and could not get the time to attend, maybe not.   I have no answer, but I do wonder how we can get more "youngsters" involved so the art does not die with the next couple generations.   In this age of electronics, internet  and fast results desired in the things they do, this may be a difficult thing.   Maybe those here that are more in tune with social media can think of ways to get some interest from the "kids" out there.   We have thousands of potential mentors here, just need more students.  

Allan

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I'm 40 but am involved in mostly "retiree" interests like model building, birdwatching, and playing American/Irish/Scottish folk/bluegrass music. I generally stick out like a sore thumb. There is an element of generational change, but it's also true that most people in my age bracket +/- 15 years are deeply involved in some combination of working, saving for retirement, raising kids, etc. and that leaves relatively little time or funds for outside hobbies. I've never attended an NRG conference even though I'd like to because flying across the country for a several-day event is pretty expensive per unit time, especially when I have limited time off and the first priority for that goes to family visits and regular travel interests that usually don't correspond with conference locations or timing.

 

Realistically, there may well be another generation waiting in the wings to take up model shipbuilding once their kids move out, they finish paying off college loans (theirs and/or their kids), and/or they're financially comfortable enough to retire. Keep in mind that, the younger you get, the less likely any of those things are to happen at an equivalent age to older generations, given the changing nature of the job market and the economy, at least in the US. The average 40-year-old now has more debt, less job security, and less-well-off kids than a 40-year-old 20 or 30 years ago, so it'll be harder to draw them in.

 

I don't disagree that there's a potential need to "reach out" somehow and connect with people who might be interested in this hobby if they were exposed to it. I'm not sure social media is really the way to go, but I also avoid it like the plague so I'm biased. I've been thinking about this and don't know the answer; I'm rather unrepresentative of my generation so don't have a good insight into the right approach. A few years ago I tried offering an Intro to Wooden Model Building class through a local adult-education program that has lots of craft-type classes, but it only got two signups and was cancelled for lack of interest. Don't know what else to try.

 

I don't think it helps that people are increasingly disconnected from older modes of transportation that used to be far "sexier", like ships and trains, which are now increasingly bland and standardized (to an amateur eye) and ever more out of sight, out of mind. Most older modellers now still grew up in the passenger train era and with a one-generation memory of the great naval battles of WWII; my generation has almost no direct connection to such things in ways that encourage the urge to recreate. Now I'm just rambling; told you I was an honorary old person!

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Nautical Research Guild
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About the NRG

If you enjoy building ship models that are historically accurate as well as beautiful, then The Nautical Research Guild (NRG) is just right for you.

The Guild is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to “Advance Ship Modeling Through Research”. We provide support to our members in their efforts to raise the quality of their model ships.

The Nautical Research Guild has published our world-renowned quarterly magazine, The Nautical Research Journal, since 1955. The pages of the Journal are full of articles by accomplished ship modelers who show you how they create those exquisite details on their models, and by maritime historians who show you the correct details to build. The Journal is available in both print and digital editions. Go to the NRG web site (www.thenrg.org) to download a complimentary digital copy of the Journal. The NRG also publishes plan sets, books and compilations of back issues of the Journal and the former Ships in Scale and Model Ship Builder magazines.

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