Artifact of the Month
Artifact of the Month: July 2024

F/V Alsek

Around Ketchikan, summertime equals salmon. Our area's coastal watersheds provide ideal habitat for the millions of fish that return to spawn each year. Throughout the season, it's common to see a variety of gear classes fishing our waters, everything from seiners and gillnetters to trollers and charter boats. Each boat has its own storied history.

Anyone hanging around Thomas Basin might find the F/V Alsek, a beautiful wooden seiner that comes up to fish from Washington state. The vessel was built in 1946 to be a fish trap tender on the Alsek River near Yakutat, Alaska. In the 1950s, the boat was converted to purse seine. Since then it has fished for salmon, herring, crab, and shrimp in Puget Sound and throughout Alaska. The boat was featured in Ketchikan Museum's History Afloat virtual exhibit highlighting some of our area's most storied wooden boats. Artist and crew member, Tom Crestodina, recently bought the boat from long-time owner John Peckham.

Tom has fished and worked out of Ketchikan for more than 20 years on the Alsek. He began making his signature cutaway drawings on the boat's galley table and first sold his work through the now closed gallery Starboard Frames and Gifts. Tom was inspired by the likes of children's author and illustrator Richard Scarry and Marklin scale model toys to create drawings that were both whimsical and educational. Because a fisherman's schedule is quite demanding, the drawings were a way for Tom to connect with his family. They often contain hidden dedications to his family and humorous elements for people in the fishing industry. This month's featured artifact is an original drawing of the F/V Alsek by Tom Crestodina, named "Seiner No. 6." If you look closely in the engine room you'll see socks and underwear drying out from the warmth of the engine.

Object ID #: KM 2024.2.11.1
Click to Enlarge
"Seiner No. 6" by Tom Crestodina, 2024
Cropped in engine detail from Detail view of engine, cropped from "Seiner No. 6" by Tom Crestodina, 2024