Maritime Speaker Series Resumes with Local Shipwright

The wooden small boat exhibit at the Door County Maritime Museum. Submitted photo.

The Door County Maritime Museum’s Maritime Speaker Series continues Jan. 2 with a presentation by local shipwright Keith Kollberg. Well known on the Door Peninsula for his stunning boat restoration efforts, Kollberg will reflect on his business, Star Board Wooden Boatworks, as well as the restoration of an historic 16-foot rowing skiff currently on exhibit at the Sturgeon Bay museum.

Kollberg restored the 16-foot wooden rowing skiff in 2006. The boat is on permanent display in the Museum’s John Roen Asher Gallery alongside other historic wooden small boats. It has significant local interest since it dates back to 1918 and was constructed in Sturgeon Bay. It is one of the earliest creations of Sturgeon Bay Boatworks, which was founded in 1918 by Hans Johnson and Herman Gmack. The business would ultimately become internationally renowned yacht-builder Palmer Johnson Yachts, Inc. Interestingly, many decades after Sturgeon Bay Boatworks was founded, Kollberg’s talents have been employed by Palmer Johnson on a number of high-profile projects.

Kollberg emphasizes that his approach to restoration is to return vessels to their original quality by recreating its classic style and distinctive detail. He works almost exclusively on wooden boats, specializing in custom yachts.

While maintaining a wooden boat can be demanding, Kollberg insists it’s needed and worthwhile, “Take the time to love your boat and your boat will love you.”

The Maritime Speaker Series continues the first Thursday of the month through March 6. Programs begin at 7 pm in the Reddin Bridge Room at the Sturgeon Bay Museum, and are free and open to the public. For more information call 920.743.5958 or visit