The National Maritime Historical Society

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2017 NMHS Seminar Series

Recently renamed the NMHS Seminar Series in January 2017, the Charles Point Council was founded in 1992 under the auspices of the National Maritime Historical Society at its headquarters on Charles Point in Peekskill, New York. Its mission is to build greater awareness of the rick seafaring heritage of the Hudson River Valley and the world at large, and to create a constituency to advocate for our maritime legacy,

Through its monthly lecture series and annual outreach events, the NMHS Seminar Series is actively engaged in promoting our maritime heritage, in providing valuable educational programs and in preserving historic ships. Since its inception, the Series has organized over 250 lectures, seminars, field trips and ship preservation projects featuring noted authors, historians and artists to publicize the maritime history of our area and abroad.

Members of the general public are welcome to attend. NMHS Seminar Series events are both a great way to learn about new facets of our maritime heritage and also to meet others who share an interest and enthusiasm for the field.

There is no charge to attend the seminars, but a $5 to $10 donation at the door is appreciated to support our efforts. If you would also like to join NMHS and the speaker for lunch following the presentation, the cost is $25 prepaid, reservation required, with cash bar.  For more information and to reserve a space for the program and luncheon, please email or call 914 737-7878 x 0.

Seminar season passes and sponsorship opportunities are available now!

Send us an email to be on our mailing list to to receive information about these seminars, invites and updates.

Saturday, 28 January
LOCATION: **** This lecture will be held at the PEEKSKILL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
705 South Street, Peekskill, NY

Revolution on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence
George Daughan, author
Author George Daughan will discuss the overriding importance of New York and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence. He will show that King George III based his war strategy on the assumption that he could easily crush the American insurgents by seizing the sea-land corridor linking Manhattan with Canada, an idea shared by George Washington and his leadership. Daughan will show that, despite the prowess of their navy and army, the British never had the capacity to control the Hudson River Valley or the passage to Canada, and that fixating on this strategy led to their defeats at Saratoga and Yorktown. He will also discuss the intriguing question of whether they could ever have won the war. Book signing to follow.

Saturday, 25 February
The Viking Ship Draken Harald Hårfagre
Presentation with Captain Bjorn Ahlander

LOCATION: Hendrick Hudson Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY
Captain Bjorn Ahlander will present on the fascinating construction and expedition of Draken Harald Harfågre, the largest Viking ship ever built in modern times. She was launched in 2012, and in 2016 made her first transatlantic voyage with port stops in the Great Lakes, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, New York City and Mystic Seaport.

***ALSO OF INTEREST, Sunday, 26 February at 2 pm
The Archaeological Institute of America Westchester Society presents
“Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga”
Bill Fitzhugh, Director, Arctic Studies Center, and Curator, Department of Anthropology, at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian at the  Scarsdale Public Library.

Saturday, 25 March
Tugboats Illustrated
Paul Farrell, architect
LOCATION: TBD

Author, architect and lifelong enthusiast of tugboats and the working waterfront, Paul Farrell will discuss his new book, TugBoats Illustrated, a gorgeously detailed guide to the evolution, design, and role of tugboats, from the earliest days of steam to today’s most advanced ocean-going workboats. From the deck layout of a nineteenth-century sidewheel tug to the mechanics of cable towing to the operation of an anchor-handling supply vessel, Farrell offers a comprehensive tribute to these beloved workhorses of the sea.

Saturday, 22 April
Sense the Wind: Blind Sailors Race Across Open Water Documentary Screening & Presentation with Director Christine Knowlton
LOCATION: Hendrick Hudson Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

Director Christine Knowlton presents Sense the Wind, a documentary into the journey of lives of blind sailors as they race across open water learning not to fear what cannot be seen, on boats or on land. On the water, teamwork and intuition take over and disabilities are no longer the focus.

Wednesday, 21 June
Bannerman Island—Seminar
Thom Johnson
LOCATION: Chappaqua Library, 195 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua, NY

Historian and guide Thom Johnson presents on the fascinating history of Bannerman’s Island, with its castle-like structure looming in the Hudson River.  Originally built to resemble a Scottish castle and to store military goods for the government, Thom shares the fascinating story of this mysterious island.

Saturday, 22 July
Bannerman Island – Visit and Tour
Thom Johnson
LOCATION: Beacon Station, 8 Long Dock Road, Beacon, NY

Thom Johnson returns to take us out on an excursion!  Meet us at Beacon station, or join fellow members on Metro North departing from Peekskill station for a narrated trip up the Hudson.  From the dock at Beacon Station we’ll board the Estuary Steward for a ride to Bannerman’s Island followed by a walking tour. Boxed lunches will be served aboard on the trip back to Beacon station.  Price: $60 per person.  Seating is very limited and early reservations are suggested. Details to follow.

Saturday, 22 September
U-Boats in the Bahamas
Presentation and Book Signing with author Eric Wiberg
LOCATION: John C. Hart Memorial Library, 1130 East Main Street, Shrub Oak, NY

Author, maritime attorney, historian and avid sailor Eric Wiberg discusses the fascinating history of the attacks by German and Italian submarines on Allied shipping in the greater Bahamas region during World War II, highlighting the heroism of the merchant mariners who put themselves in danger as they performed the critical task of moving the military and civilian supplies vital to ultimate victory.

Saturday, 4 November
So Close to Home and The Finest Hours
Presentation and Book Signing with Author Michael Tougias
LOCATION: Chappaqua Library, 195 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua, NY

New York Times bestselling author Michael Tougias will give a two-part multi-media presentation on two of his books. So Close To Home: The True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival During WWII is the true story of the Downs family as they struggle against sharks, hypothermia, drowning, and dehydration in their effort to survive the aftermath of a deadly May 19, 1942 U-boat attack. The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue is the story of the heroic rescue following the splitting of two oil tankers in the middle of the icy Atlantic in 1952.  Now a feature length motion picture produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the film will be screened for us Friday evening, November 3rd at 7:00pm, also at the Chappaqua library.

Saturday, 2 December
Paintings of Early Dutch New York with artist Len Tantillo & Potluck Holiday Party
LOCATION: Cortlandt Yacht Club, 238 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

Historical and maritime artist Len Tantillo will present on paintings of Early Dutch New York, inspired by the “rivers of New Netherland” – the Hudson, the Connecticut and the Delaware.  Upon these waterways hundreds of vessels carried goods and passengers; the diversity and organic beauty of their varied designs has long been an inspiration to Len Tantillo.
Stay for the potluck!  Bring a dish, drink or dessert that serves six to eight.