Library invites community to enjoy a ‘model’ display


KRISTIN TANGEL A scale model of the USS Olympia is among those on display in East Brunswick. KRISTIN TANGEL A scale model of the USS Olympia is among those on display in East Brunswick. EAST BRUNSWICK – More than 25 model ships have made their way into the display cases at the East Brunswick Public Library.

Furnished by the Ship Model Society of New Jersey, the models have been on display all month and the exhibit will continue through Monday. The pieces, built with painstaking detail to represent the originals, include many styles of model ships, and background information about the model and the original it is based on.

“They emphasize that these ships are built using the exact same materials. They were built in the exact same ways the real ships were,” said Mary Ellen Firestone, assistant director of the library.

The ship model group was founded in 1981 as the Ship Model Society of Northern New Jersey. It dropped “Northern” from the title in 2007.

“They’ve displayed at many different venues,” Firestone said of the 75-member organization.

Tom Ruggiero, president of the club from 1990-94, shared some details on how one approaches the decorative art form.

“It depends on what kinds of models you want to build, whether from a kit or from scratch,” Ruggiero said.

The total time it takes to build a ship ranges from hundreds to thousands of hours. Ruggiero said a typical work year is 2,000 hours.

“This is not instant gratification. The fun is in the doing,” he said. Some members are hobbyists; others build model ships for a living and give them to museums, he noted.

The club held a demonstration at the library about model ships on June 25.

Part of a larger organization, the Nautical Research Guild, the club meets at the Millburn Public Library on the fourth Tuesday of each month, and on the third Tuesday in December.