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Snapshot: A walk to the party

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After an 11-year hiatus, the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum located on the Congress Street Bridge in Boston, Mass., opened in June 2013—with the help of the Dorchester Awning Co. The company manufactured and installed four 100-foot-long ramps that lead from the bridge to the floating museum, each one designed to look like an 18th-century period-specific canopy. “It was a good-sized project for us,” Andrea Lampson says. “There are a total of 160 zippered clear windows in the structures.” The company also installed two large, retractable awnings on the side of the museum, under which costumed actors relate details about the historic Boston Tea Party.

The project offered a number of challenges. The ramps were not originally meant to have a fabric covering—but the museum wanted not only a canopy top, but also a complete covering on the sides and easy-to-open window sections. “We had to work with the out-of-state manufacturer of the ramp to modify the ramp design to accommodate a fabric system, and eventually had a 25-foot section of one ramp set up in our factory,” Andrea says. “In the end, everything came together in time for the museum’s grand opening. The Tea Party Museum is one of the more interesting and unique museums in all of New England, and Dorchester Awning was happy to be a part of it.”

Sigrid Tornquist is a freelance author and editor based in St. Paul, Minn. She is also the associate editor of InTents magazine, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

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