River Bluffs Maritime Museum to set up in McGregor again this summer

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The McGregor riverfront will again be home to the traveling River Bluff Maritime Museum for several weeks this summer. The museum, operated by Jeff Moses, features his collection of model boats and other maritime memorabilia.

“I’ve been here the last two years, and I’d like to come back,” he told the city council Wednesday night.

Moses said he plans to set up in Riverfront Park June 27-28, July 11-12, July 25-26, Aug. 22-23 and Sept. 12-13.

He’ll be in McGregor fresh off a successful showing at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum’s Model Ships and Boats Contest, where he won seven awards.

“We’ve been garnering a lot of recognition,” he noted.

Moses has built models for 46 years. Someday, he said, he’d like to create a permanent base for the museum, for which McGregor is a strong contender. He envisions drawing tourists and other people, especially kids, in for workshops.

“For me, it’s a lifetime passion,” he said of constructing his dozens of museum-quality boats, some of which he runs on the river. “I keep plugging away at the museum. It takes two to three years to complete one model, so I get pulled in a lot of different directions. There are quite a few in there, so you should stop in and see them if you haven’t.”

“I think it’s great what you’re doing,” said mayor Harold Brooks. “It fits right in. People come to see your models and it plays into the Maiden Voyage.”

Moses said he and Robert Vavra, who runs his Maiden Voyage boat tours out of the marina, often play off one another to draw people into their respective endeavors.

Vavra, who was also on-hand at the meeting, agreed, and shared with the city his pleasure regarding last fall’s riverfront improvements, which included dredging and rip rap work.

“I’m happy with the riverfront. It was a great project,” he said. “It’s a more aesthetically-pleasing place, with easier maintenance. The way the dock was turned is an asset.“

He anticipates drawing more people to the marina this year, especially bus tours, now that his new Maiden Voyage boat can hold 49 passengers, double the capacity of his previous boat in her later years.

“The new boat is decorated, and I’m focused on having a good year,” Vavra added. “It should be a great year for the whole town since the river is cooperating.”

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