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We Need Your Help! Urge Congress to Support Our Maritime Heritage

Support Our Maritime Heritage: Write to Congress for Maritime Heritage Grant Funding:
An Appeal from Dr. Timothy Runyan, National Maritime Alliance, and NMHS

NMHS requests your support of the “Ships to be Recycled in the States” (STORIS) Act, which amends the National Maritime Heritage Act to secure funding for a National Maritime Heritage Act grant program.  This grant program is critical to the maritime heritage community of over 1,000 small non-profit organizations in more than 40 states.

From 2005 to present, in excess of $69 million has been earned and collected from the sale of excess government vessels to domestic ship recyclers.  As initially intended, 25%, or more than $17 million, was to go into the competitive grant program.  However in 2010, the National Defense Authorization Act allowed the Maritime Administration (MARAD), which jointly manages the program with the National Park Service, to instead use the 25% exclusively to preserve MARAD properties.

The maritime heritage community has sought restoration of the approximately $17 million collected through 2014.This year, MARAD agreed to share only $7 million in a multi-year grant program with the National Park Service.  MARAD has not sought input from the Maritime Heritage community stakeholders on the agency program, and to date, has not apparently expended any of the funds. Instead, the money has languished at MARAD while US maritime heritage organizations struggle for funding.

The STORIS Act restores funding, as originally intended by Congress, for the nation’s maritime heritage organizations—historic naval ships, lighthouses, maritime museums, sail training, education and preservation organizations.  Senator Begich is the author of the STORIS Act and he is working with the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee to include it in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. Please support Senator Begich’s bill, seconded by Sen. Blumenthal (CT) and Rep. Courtney (CT). It will provide significantly more funding for us and other maritime organizations around the country.

Bills are being marked up on Capitol Hill; we must write now to members on the committees that will be involved in this bill. There are 4 committees—2 House, 2 Senate. You can find the members of each committee here.  For a draft letter to send to members of your committee, click here . Copy the text and paste it to your own word processing program. Fill it out with your information. Email the letter to the committee members from your home state. You can write to all senators through their Senate web site—you must be a member of the district to submit a letter to a congressman via their web site, unless you have an email address to send to. You will need to copy and paste in your letter.  We also suggest sending a hard copy of your letter by snail mail.

Thank you for stepping up and your willingness to help. We must contact these members of the House and Senate now if we are to succeed. Millions in grant funding for the maritime heritage community is at stake. Please make these contacts!

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Lois McClure at the Newburgh Riverfront Marina this Thursday 14 August

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Canal Schooner
Lois McClure
Thursday August 14, 10am–5pm at the Newburgh Riverfront Marina
Admission Free

Lois McClure

CREDIT: Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

The schooner Lois McClure will be at the Newburgh Riverfront Marina this Thursday, 14 August from 10am-5pm.  Admission is free.  A full-scale replica of an 1862-class sailing canal boat, Lois McClure  is on tour this year commemorating the 200th anniversary of the final year of the War of 1812.

The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is using the opportunity to share the story of the military contest for Lake Champlain and Macdonough’s Victory on September 11, 1814. The battle helped determine the outcome of the war and the 2014 tour will visit communities along the Richelieu River, Lake Champlain and the Hudson River to New York City. In addition to concluding the War of 1812 trilogy, the 2014 program will carry information about environmental stewardship and the incredible historic canal system that is still operational today. An important aspect of interpretation will focus on the shipwrecks of the War of 1812.

For more information, visit the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum Lois McClure page at



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Save the Date! Pickle Night 7 November 2014 at the New York Yacht Club

Friday, 7 November 2014 at the New York Yacht Club

CREDIT: I Have Urgent Dispatches by Gordon Frickers

CREDIT: “I Have Urgent Dispatches” by Gordon Frickers

This year marks the 209th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, and the 11th New York City Pickle Night Dinner will mark this history changing event on 7 November 2014.  Those who appreciate the historical significance of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson and the lore associated with his life are invited to attend this special event.  The Dinner is named for HMS Pickle, which participated in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and which brought the news to Britain of Nelson’s victory and death in the battle. This event has been a perennial success, with guests from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, and elsewhere.

The Honorable Danny Lopez, British Consul General-New York is Honorary Chairman of the dinner.

Vice Admiral David Steel CBE, Second Sea Lord will be the main speaker. Admiral Steel joined the Royal Navy in 1979 and he graduated in Law from Durham University in 1983. He served in minesweepers, frigates, destroyers, and the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible. Admiral Steel became Naval Base Commander Portsmouth in 2005. In that assignment, he also was aide to Her Majesty the Queen. He was appointed Chief Naval Logistics Officer in 2008, and in 2009 he was named Director, Pay and Manning in the Ministry of Defence. In 2010 he became ACNS (Pers)/Naval Secretary, and in 2012 Admiral Steel was named Second Sea Lord. He is an enthusiastic sports fan, a Freeman of the City of London and a member of the Windsor Leadership Trust.

Graham Dobbin, Deputy Director-General of the National Museum of the Royal Navy will be the initial speaker. Graham earned a BA in History (with honors) from the University of Wales. He joined the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in 1989. In 1993 he became Head of Resources for the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth. Graham’s duties also include support of the unique efforts to preserve HMS Victory.

Space is limited. For reservations contact us via email at or call (914) 737-7878.  Ticket price is $285 per person. Dress is Black Tie or military equivalent.

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Join Us for Liemba: A Documentary with Filmmaker John Billingsley

Join the National Maritime Historical Society for
Liemba: An Epic Voyage Down Lake Tanganyika Aboard Africa’s Oldest Steamship

with Documentary Filmmaker John Billingsley

Liemba dvd cover

Credit: Liemba: A Documentary Film

Saturday, 15 November, 2014
Coffee is at 10:30 am. Presentation begins at 11:00 am.
Hendrick Hudson Free Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY 10548

Join us on Saturday, 15 November as Producer and Director John Billingsley presents his 2011 documentary film Liemba.  The film tells the story of an epic voyage aboard Liemba, the world’s last surviving steamship and one that still serves the communities of Lake Tanganyika in central Africa. According to Mr. Billingsley, this may very well be the last public Liemba screening.

Loading ammunition into guns on the deck of the ship during WWI

Loading ammunition into guns on the deck of the ship during WWI

Built in 1913 in Germany and originally named the Graf von Götzen, the armed transport ship controlled the lake for the German Empire during World War I.  As the Germans retreated, the ship was scuttled.  Raised by the British Navy in 1924 and re-named Liemba, she went back to work as a ferry serving the British protectorate of Tanganyika.  Deep in what was once considered the darkest heart of Africa, on one of the world’s largest and most pristine lakes, the Liemba doggedly perseveres, ferrying passengers and cargo up and down the remote eastern shore.  For nearly 90 years, the ship has served as the primary means of travel, and a critical avenue of commerce, for soldiers, traders, missionaries and migrants alike – the geographical link between east, central and southern Africa.

1950’s Postcard of the Liemba

1950’s Postcard of the Liemba

The Liemba has witnessed many sea-changes in Africa’s history, from the era of European colonialism, through African independence in the 1960s and up to today’s emerging global marketplace. This documentary film uses the story of the steamship to bring that history to life while also taking the audience on a present day journey on the oldest operational passenger ship in the world. To find out more about the film and view a trailer, visit the Indican Pictures website.

CREDIT: John Billingsley

CREDIT: John Billingsley

John Billingsley has extensive experience in audio, music, and film production. After studying audio engineering and production at the Institute for Audio Research, John worked for many years as a recording engineer in New York. He has engineering credits on albums in a wide range of musical genres from Philip Glass to Phish. John also has audio production credits on television programs that have aired on many major networks including MTV, VH1 and PBS. He received an MA in Media Studies from the New School University in 2002.  John has scored music and created sound design for several independent films that have toured the festival circuit and is presently a producer at Vermont Public Radio.

The Public is invited. Please contact the National Maritime Historical Society at 914-737-7878, ext. 0 if you plan to attend. A $5 donation is appreciated. If you would also like to join us for lunch following the presentation, it is $22 prepaid, with cash bar. Reservations required.


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Lafayette’s Hermione Voyage 2015

Credit: Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America

Credit: Friends of Hermione-Lafayette in America

In 2015, a handcrafted replica of the Hermione,­ the 18th century frigate that brought the young Marquis de Lafayette with French troops back to General Washington, will set sail to the United States from Port des Barques, France—replicating a historic voyage that in 1780 changed the course in our quest for independence and re-affirming the historic relationship between the United States and France.

The transatlantic crossing is expected to take 27 days before landfall at Yorktown, Virginia, where the original Hermione took part in the blockade which led to the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and his army. It will then move up the coast accompanied by a traveling exhibition, close to Washington, DC, at Alexandria; to Philadelphia; New York; Greenport; Boston and then to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and home. Enthusiasts can track the Hermione’s itinerary and progress online at

Hermione Lafayette logoThe Friends of Lafayette-Hermione in America, a non-profit group, supports this exciting adventure—partnering alongside local heritage and nautical groups, students and teachers K-through-12, and many cultural organizations, museums and universities—with a full program of exciting educational, musical, culinary and special events scheduled at each port. To learn more, please visit


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Charles W. Morgan: The 38th Voyage

The 38th Voyage: Charles W. Morgan
May 17 – August 6, 2014

Charles W. Morgan's 38th Voyage.  CREDIT: Mystic Seaport

Charles W. Morgan’s 38th Voyage. CREDIT: Mystic Seaport

Mystic Seaport has announced that Charles W. Morgan completed her 38th voyage on 6 August, 2014. The ship has now resumed her role as an exhibit and the flagship of Mystic Seaport.  For more information on her voyage, please visit the Mystic Seaport website.

Over an 80-year career, the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan sailed on 37 voyages to remote corners of the globe. In May of 2014, following a five-year, multi-million dollar restoration, the ship set out on her 38th Voyage — perhaps her most important — to raise awareness of America’s maritime heritage and to call attention to issues of ocean sustainability and conservation. It was the first time the National Historic Landmark had left Mystic Seaport since her arrival in 1941.

The Charles W. Morgan Sails on Block Island Sound 6-15-14.  CREDIT: Mystic Seaport

The Charles W. Morgan Sails on Block Island Sound 6-15-14. CREDIT: Mystic Seaport

With Captain Richard “Kip” Files at the helm, the Morgan departed Mystic Seaport on May 17 and visited New London, CT, Newport, RI, Vineyard Haven, MA, New Bedford, MA, the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Boston, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy as part of the centennial celebration of the opening of the Cape Cod Canal.

During her three day sails to Stellwagen Bank with NOAA, the public was able to follow the Morgan’s visit to the sanctuary on OceansLIVE.  The live broadcast offered interviews and commentary with historians, scientists, authors, and artists discussing the shift from whaling to watching in New England.

Sailing the 1841 whaleship was a maritime event not seen since the 1920s. Due to her status as a National Historic Landmark, the ship proceeded to each scheduled port on a one-day sail so that she could be safely berthed in the next harbor by nightfall. As weather conditions were a determining factor in the decision to head to sea each day, each port transit was scheduled with a three-day window of opportunity with the intention that the ship would sail on the first acceptable day.

Once in port, the Morgan was open to the public on select days. Additionally, the ship was accompanied by a dockside exhibition that included historic interpretation, live demonstrations, music, waterfront activities, and Spouter, a life-sized inflatable model of a sperm whale.

The Morgan completed her historic 38th Voyage on August 6. The ship is docked at Chubb’s Wharf and has resumed her role as an exhibit and the flagship of Mystic Seaport.





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Massachusetts State Budget Approves $2 Million to Fund Mayflower II Restoration

CREDIT: Plimoth Plantation, Mayflower II

CREDIT: Plimoth Plantation, Mayflower II

Massachusetts State Budget Approves $2 Million 
to Fund Mayflower II Restoration

Preservation Work Continues on the Historic Ship Given to America
as a Symbol of Friendship Nearly 60 Years Ago

Plymouth, MA–July 14, 2014 – Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed the 2015 fiscal year budget which includes $2 million in funding for the restoration of Mayflower II on Friday, July 11, 2014. The iconic ship is a centerpiece exhibit of Plimoth Plantation and one of the Commonwealth’s leading tourism attractions, drawing millions of people from around the world to learn about the Pilgrims and the United States’ early Colonial history. The significant restoration of the 57-year-old wooden ship is scheduled for completion by 2020, the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival.

Funding will be used to complete an extensive round of repairs and restoration including replacing several planks, frames, and knees sourced from rare white oak. Further plans are to rebuild the topside half-deck, repair the transom, poop deck, and starboard half-deck. Gangway improvements, hemp-line rigging, sail replacement, and new paint are also planned.

Mayflower II was a gift to the people of the United States from the people of England in appreciation of America’s assistance during World War II.  In a message of goodwill read at Mayflower II’s launch in September of 1956, then Governor of Massachusetts, Christian A. Herter wrote, “I am stirred by the spirit of good will that prompted your people to give so generously to a craft that will soon sail far away. Godspeed your valiant ship to our shores.  We shall take loving care of it, and treasure it always as a living monument of friendship between our nations.”

The ship set sail from Plymouth, England on April 20, 1957 with a crew of 33 men. Arriving in Plymouth, Massachusetts 55 days later, she was greeted by large crowds and celebrations including tributes by Vice President Richard Nixon and Senator John F. Kennedy. Mayflower II’s journey was chronicled by some of the era’s leading publications, including Life Magazine, National Geographic, and was prominently reported by the international news media. Since then, the ship has been a beloved fixture on Plymouth’s historic waterfront, and an anchor for the town and region’s robust tourism economy.

Plimoth Plantation hopes that the State’s funding will bring further attention to Mayflower II’s unique and important role in American history and act as a catalyst for additional support for the ship’s educational mission and continued care.  Efforts are underway to fully fund the ship’s ongoing maintenance for decades to come.  For more information on Mayflower II and Plimoth Plantation, please visit their website at


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Coast Guard Art Program Presentation with Award-Winning Artist Karen Loew

The National Maritime Historical Society 
Invites You to Join Us for
a Coast Guard Art Program Presentation with Award-Winning Artist Karen Loew

CREDIT: Karen Loew, “Escorting the Harriet Lane”

Saturday, 27 September, 2014
Coffee is at 10:30 am. Presentation begins at 11:00 am.
Hendrick Hudson Free Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY 10548

Award-winning artist Karen Loew will host a special presentation of “Patriotism through Volunteerism,” on Saturday, 27 September. She will illustrate her talk with images of selected works from the COGAP Collection. As chair of the Coast Guard Art Program (COGAP) Ms. Loew has traveled across the globe to document activities of the Coast Guard and display her work. A recipient of the Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest recognition given to those who have made outstanding contributions in advancing the Coast Guard’s missions, Ms. Loew has had twenty-one paintings accepted into the Coast Guard Art Program Collection and is also a recipient of COGAP’s George Gray Award for Artistic Excellence for her work “Harbor Rendezvous,” shown below.  For more information on Ms. Loew, please visit

CREDIT: Karen Loew, “Harbor Rendezvous”

Today, the COGAP collection comprises over 1,800 works capturing the daily missions the nearly 42,500 men and women on active duty in the Coast Guard perform, including homeland security, search and rescue, marine environmental protection, drug interdiction, military readiness and natural resource management. Through displays at museums, libraries and patriotic events, COGAP uses fine art as an outreach tool for educating diverse audiences about the Coast Guard’s missions, heroes and history.

The Public is invited. Please contact the National Maritime Historical Society at 914-737-7878, ext. 0 if you plan to attend. A $5 donation is appreciated. If you would also like to join us for lunch following the presentation, it is $22 prepaid, with cash bar. Reservations required.  Sign up here today, call us at 914-737-7878, ext. 0, or e-mail us at to reserve your place!

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Coast Guard Inaugural Art Exhibit – Federal Hall National Memorial

Coast Guard Inaugural Art Exhibit
Federal Hall National Memorial, 26 Wall Street, New York City
August 1 though September 19, 2014

Karen Loew - Escorting the Harriet Lane

Karen Loew – Escorting the Harriet Lane

Artwork depicting the United States Coast Guard’s multi-faceted missions will be on view in the Rotunda of the  Federal Hall National Memorial from August 1 though September 19, 2014.

Karen Loew - USCGC Nantucket at GTMO

Karen Loew – USCGC Nantucket at GTMO

The Coast Guard Art Program (COGAP) uses fine art as an outreach tool for educating diverse audiences about the United States Coast Guard, its people and missions. Through public displays at museums, galleries, libraries, and patriotic events, Coast Guard art tells the story of the service’s unique contribution to the nation in its multifaceted roles as a military, humanitarian and law enforcement organization.

 The Federal Hall National Memorial is located at 26 Wall Street in New York City, and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The exhibition is free and open to the public.  There are numerous ways to get to Federal Hall; public transportation is recommended and inoformation can be found at and

Karen Loew - To the Rescue

Karen Loew – To the Rescue

Images of the new works can be seen at  Simply open the exhibit tab on the left “2006 to present,” then open the table of contents and scroll to the listings near the bottom of the page beginning with 2014.  Works from Karen Loew, who will be our featured speaker at the Charles Point Seminar at Hendrick Hudson Free Library on 27 September, can be seen by clicking here.




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This Weekend on the Hudson River! Newburgh and Kingston Events

This Weekend on the Hudson River
 Tour the Niña and Pinta on the Newburgh Waterfront
Celebrate Hudson River Day in Kingston

Nina Pinta

CREDIT: The Columbus Foundation, British Virgin Islands

  Tour aboard the Niña & Pinta 18-20 July, 9am – 6pm
Memorial Ceremony for HMS Bounty & US Coast Guard Air/Sea Rescue Demonstration 19 July, 1pm
Riverfront Marina at 40 Front Street, Newburgh, NY

Celebrate the History and Future of the Hudson at Hudson River Day, 19 July, 11am – 5pm
Hudson River Maritime Museum, 50 Rondout Landing, Kingston, NY

This weekend the Hudson River is the place to be!

Newburgh, NY: Come join us at the Newburgh Riverfront Marina on 40 Front Street and enjoy a fantastic opportunity to board and tour two famous Columbus ship replicas – the Niña and Pinta.  The Niña was built completely by hand, and Archaeology magazine called her “the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.”  The Pinta was built recently to accompany the Niña; the ships travel together as a sailing museum visiting ports all over the Western Hemisphere. See for more on these stunning caravels.

While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for a walk-aboard and self-guided tour. Admission charges are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 60+, and $6 for students 5-16. Children 4 and under are free. The ships are open every day from 9 am – 6 pm.  No reservations are necessary. Please note that the ships are not wheelchair accessible.  Parking is available in the ferry parking lot at the southern end of Front Street.

On Saturday, 19 July at 1pm there will be a ceremony dedicating the memorial stone for the replica of the HMS Bounty. Commissioned by the Metro Goldwyn Mayer film studio for the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty and later used in the 1989 filming of Treasure Island with Charlton Heston, the ship had visited the Newburgh waterfront in the past and shared a special bond with the community. HMS Bounty sank on 29 October, 2012 along with its Captain Robin Walbridge after getting caught in high seas brought on by Hurricane Sandy.  HMS Bounty and Captain Walbridge were very good friends of NMHS and participated in many of our Hudson River events.  They are well missed and we support this tribute from Newburgh.  After the Memorial, at 2 pm the U.S. Coast Guard will demonstrate an air-sea rescue.

CREDIT: Hudson River Maritime Museum

CREDIT: Hudson River Maritime Museum

Kingston, NY:  Some 30 miles north of Newburgh, celebrate Hudson River Day on Saturday, 19 July from 11am-5pm at the Hudson River Maritime Museum at 50 Rondout Landing in Kingston.  Meet NMHS Chairman Ronald Oswald and Secretary Jean Wort.  Activities include steamboat rides, deck tours on the historic tug Pilot, rowing and kayaking demonstrations, boat-building and other free children’s activities, live music from local artists and local farm and food vendors.  Admission to the courtyard is free and open to the public, and admission to the museum is discounted. Some activities require a fee.  See for more information.

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