The National Maritime Historical Society

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Oceanbound for History

The National Maritime Historical Society, Ocean Classroom Foundation, and Mystic Seaport are partners the creation and operation of a continuing education program for middle school and high school teachers of American history. “OceanBound for History” helps teachers discover the fundamental importance of maritime history in the teaching of American history as a whole, introducing them to the values of experiential learning, and enables them to apply these new insights in their classrooms.

In partnership with the Ocean Classroom Foundation National Maritime offers middle and high school history teachers a live aboard experience on the schooner Westward developing a classroom maritime curriculum.

The program takes place aboard the schooner Westward, sailing in New England waters with selected port stops relevant to onboard discussions of maritime history. The curriculum focuses on how the seemingly-isolated maritime histories that we discover on our voyage played an important role in the overall development of the United States.

Participating fully in the life and operation of the ship, the teachers gain personal insight into shipboard culture, hierarchy, and work. Under the guidance of the professional crew, teachers learn the skills and arts of traditional seafaring and try their hand at navigational methods used in the age of sail. Hands-on activities combined with formal readings and discussion to give teachers a unique and powerful understanding of maritime history and culture.

Vicky McNallen at the helm aboard the Westward. She teaches at Bennie Dover Middle School in New London, CT. Behind her is Westward’s Chief Mate, Scott Chappuis.

This program is produced by a coalition of America’s leading organizations in maritime history, shipboard education, and experiential learning. The design and implementation of the academic program will be led by Glenn Gordinier, PhD, (Robert G. Albion Historian, Co-Director, Munson Institute at Mystic Seaport), Richard King of Mystic Seaport and a PhD candidate at St. Andrews University in Scotland, and Sea History magazine’s own Deirdre O’Regan.

Schooner Westward is a 125-foot steel stays’l schooner. Inspected by the US Coast Guard and American Bureau of Shipping as a Sailing School Vessel, she is certified for international voyages upon oceans. Ocean Classroom Foundation operates Westward on a variety of educational programs under sail. OCF programs have received national recognition and awards, including the NMHS Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Maritime Education.

OceanBound for History is open to teachers of American history at the middle and high school level. Up to 24 teacher-participants are accepted through a competitive application process. The 7-day program is free of charge and includes all instruction plus room and board.

For more information and to request an application, contact Ocean Classroom Foundation, 23 Bay St., Watch Hill, RI, 02891 1-800-724-7245, e-mail: