The Model Maker


Since 2007, Bob Duncan has accrued over 14,000 volunteer hours at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Bob drives over 70 miles each day to volunteer for 8 hours a day, four days a week in the Model Makers Workshop located on the lower deck of the Berkeley. He served 6 years in the Navy and the Marine Corps and served in World War II.

Bob recently celebrated his 96th birthday. Why does Bob volunteer at the Maritime Museum and what words of wisdom can he share?

“I like being here. You’re my family away from home. Couldn’t ask for a better one either.”
– Bob Duncan, Volunteer

How did you discover the art of model making?
“When I was 10 years old, I lived across from a junior high school with a great big field. One day, I stared at that field and wondered what I should do that day. So, I went home, grabbed some tissue paper, some bamboo sticks, and made an airplane. I just put it all together. Put a little rubber band on it, wound it up, and flew it over the field. That was the first model I ever made. Haven’t gotten out of the habit yet. It’s something to do. If I didn’t do this, I’d sit around at home and I wouldn’t be here. It’s what I love to do, and it keeps me young.”

What advice do you have for people who might be interested in model making?
“Don’t get something that’s above your knowledge. Start with a small, easy model. If you need help, come in and we’ll help you. If you get a little stymied on it, walk away from it. Maybe an hour, two hours, even the next day, but get back to it, and when you go back to it, you’ll be like, oh yeah. It’s simple, but you have to stick with it. You have to want to do this and stick with it and it’s always something to do when you have nothing to do. You don’t have to spend 24 hours doing it, it’s something you get back to and take your time with it. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask.”

About the Maritime Museum of San Diego
The Maritime Museum of San Diego experience includes admission to a world-class collection of historic sailing ships, steam-powered boats, and submarines, each offering entertaining and educational exhibits. The 501c3 non-profit Museum enjoys an international reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining, and operating historic vessels including the world’s oldest active sailing ship, Star of India. Maritime Museum of San Diego is ranked as one of the nation’s top attractions offering self-guided tours, docent guided-group tours, tall ship charters, year round public events, educational programs, and a distinctive venue for corporate/private events. The Museum is open daily along Star of India Wharf at 1492 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101-3309.