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2018 Seminar Series Schedule

The 2018 NMHS Seminar Series Schedule is here!  Save the dates below for the upcoming lineup of world-class speakers.  For more information: click on the links below, check out the 2018 NMHS Seminar Series webpage, or download the printer-friendly Seminar Brochure.  We invite you to Sponsor the Series and take advantage of everything our sponsorship options have to offer!  Sign up online, call (914) 737-7878 Ext. 0, or email to sign up today!

​Sat 27 January Iron Dawn with Richard Snow
Sat 10 March Heaven’s Ditch with Jack Kelly
Sat 19 May Blackbeard’s Last Battle with Kevin Duffus
Wed 20 June The Sunken Gold with Joseph Williams
Sat 21 July Hudson River Maritime Museum Excursion
Sat 22 September Art of the Yankee Whale Hunt with Michael Dyer
Sat 3 November Hell Around the Horn with Rick Spilman
Sat 1 December Hudson River Lighthouses II with Scott Craven

Members of the general public are encouraged 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.  Continental Breakfast & Registration for Saturday seminars begins at 10:30 AM, with lectures starting at 11:00 AM.  (The schedule varies for the June Wednesday evening seminar and the July excursion.  Please see individual listings for details.)  Unless otherwise noted, all seminars are held at the Hendrick Hudson Free Library (185 Kings Ferry Road in Montrose, NY).  There is no charge to attend the seminars, but a $5 to $10 donation at the door is appreciated to support our educational mission.   On our Saturday seminars, if you would  like to join NMHS and the speaker for lunch following the presentation, the cost is $25 prepaid, with cash bar.  For more information and to register for any seminar, please email or call 914 737-7878 x 0.  Can’t make it to a seminar?  Be sure to Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to see the presentation online!

With a Seminar Sponsorship you can support the Series AND enjoy family fun at maritime museums across the country!  A contribution of $100 or higher not only entitles you to a reserved spot for the complete 2018  seminar series, but also to a one-year membership in the Council of American Maritime Museums (CAMM), which includes free admission for a year to over 75 museums nationwide!  (As a Friend of NMHS you’ll also receive the quarterly magazine Sea History, a 10% discount on NMHS merchandise, a membership card and decal.)  Your generosity enables the Society to fulfill its mission by presenting a dynamic range of seminars that promote greater understanding of our rich seafaring heritage and create a constituency to advocate for our maritime legacy.   Thank you!

Check out the full 2018 Seminar Lineup
Sign up for a Seminar Sponsorship

Friend us on Facebook
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Subscribe on YouTube

The NMHS Seminar Series is generously supported by our Sponsors
Howard Slotnick and The Henry L. & Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation
and our Seminar Friends Denise Dunn, Linda Hallenbeck, Liam Murphy, John Plotke, John Shanahan, Jane Syracuse, and Karin Wexler.

The NMHS Seminar Series 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 rich 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 maritime heritage, providing valuable educational programs and preserving historic ships and traditional seafaring skills. Since its inception, the Series has organized over 300 lectures, seminars, field trips and ship preservation projects featuring noted authors, historians, film producers and artists to publicize the maritime history of our area and abroad.

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Annual Meeting & Maritime Heritage Conference

The 11th Maritime Heritage Conferene, the 45th Annual Conference on Sail Training and Tall Ships, the 55th Annual Meeting of the National Maritime Historical Society and the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Steamship Historical Society of America will come together with as many as 500 of your fellow maritime enthusiasts for an information-packed joint conference encompassing a broad array of topics this February 14-17, 2018 in the historic port city of New Orleans.     Register today by clicking HERE.  The full conference price is $495 per person, which includes all sessions, continental breakfasts, coffee breaks & lunches (February 15-17), the Saturday Gala Awards Dinner (February 17), and all meeting materials.    Sponsorship Opportunities ranging from $500 to $15,000 are encouraged and will be formally recognized.

Check out the preliminary Conference Schedule and Program and Presentation Abstracts.  Presentation opics and focus sessions include, but are not limited to: Maritime and Naval History   ·   Maritime Art, Literature, and Music   ·   Education and Preservation   ·   Underwater Archaeology   ·   Trade and Communications   ·   Maritime Libraries, Archives, and Museums   ·   Marine Science and Ocean Conservation   ·   Historic Vessel Restoration   ·   Maritime Heritage Grant Program   ·   Maritime Landscapes   ·   National Marine Sanctuaries   ·   Inland Waters    ·   Commerce and Seaport Operations   ·   Small Craft   ·   Shipbuilding   ·   Marine Protected Areas   ·   Crew and Staff Training and Development   ·   Tall Ships, Sail Training, and Education Under Sail   ·   Vessel Operations and Safety   ·   Tall Ships® Events and Host Ports   ·   Not-for-Profit Administration   ·   Fund Development   ·   Media and Publications    ·   Marketing and Social Media

Book your room today!  The conference venue is the beautiful New Orleans Marriott in the French Quarter – 555 Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130.   Marriott has agreed to extend the original booking deadline and accept reservations at the group rate of $164/night (plus tax) while available.  Click HERE to book your room using the Conference Passkey, or call (504) 581-1000 and provide the discount code “MHC.”  Don’t miss this unique opportunity to gather with individuals from all segments of the maritime community!  Register Online, call (914) 737-7878 Ext. 0 or email us at  today.  We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans! 

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TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®: Boston, 17–22 June 2017

Tall Ships America is collaborating with Sail Training International for a transatlantic Tall Ships Regatta* marking the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. The Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta will bring ships from European host ports to Boston on 17–22 June and then on to various ports in Canada and the Gulf of St. Lawrence before arriving in Quebec City in July. From Quebec City ,the ships will return to Europe in September 2017.

Tall Ships America is planning port events along the Atlantic Coast culminating in the Sail Boston® 2017event as part of their TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Atlantic Coast 2017 series. Check this webpage for the latest information on participating US ports it develops.

About Tall Ships America
Founded in 1973, Tall Ships America is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching youth education through character building and leadership programs aboard tall ships. It is the hub for tall ship activity, expertise, and information in North America, and is commended by the United States Congress as the Sail Training Organization representing the United States in the international forum.  Tall Ships America supports the people, ships and programs of sail training and tall ships through grants, scholarships, conferences, education, publications, regulatory and licensing information, public events and advocacy. The mission of Tall Ships America is to encourage character building through sail training, promote sail training to the North American public, and support education under sail.

For more information visit the Tall Ships America website.


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TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE®: Charleston – May 19-21, 2017

Charleston welcomes the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Atlantic Coast 2017 series for Tall Ships® Charleston 2017. This event will offer a fantastic opportunity for visitors to step aboard many beautiful tall ships from across the world.

As part of Tall Ships America’s TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Atlantic Coast 2017 Race Series and a feeder port for the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta, Tall Ships® Charleston will host a fleet of international vessels, 19–22 May. Charleston will also be the start of a race to Bermuda, where the tall ships will join the Rendez-vouz fleet before racing north to Sail Boston® 2017, 17–22 June.

NMHS members and Sea History readers are invited to attend and meet sail trainers, ship operators, preservationists and supporters from across North America and the world.

For more information visit the Tall Ships America website.

The mission of Tall Ships America is to encourage character building through sail training, promote sail training to the North American public and support education under sail.

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January Lecture: Revolution on the Hudson with George Daughan

28 January, 2017
“Revolution on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence” with George Daughan


The public is invited to attend the National Maritime Historical Society’s Charles Point Council Lecture Series on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at Peekskill Presbyterian Church in Peekskill, New York. The lecture “Revolution on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence” will be presented by award-winning Author George C. Daughan.

Mr. 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.

Prof.essor Daughan is also the author of If by Sea, 1812: the Navy’s War and The Shining Sea and is the recipient of the Naval Order of New York’s Samuel Eliot Morison award and the USS Constitution Museum’s Samuel Eliot Morison award.

Booking signing to follow.

What: Presentation: “Revolution on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence” by award-winning Author George C. Daughan.

When: Saturday January 28, 2017
Where: Peekskill Presbyterian Church, 705 South Street, Peekskill, NY 10566
Time: Coffee & Registration at 10:30 AM; Lecture at 11:00 AM
Cost: Lecture – $5 to $10 suggested donation; After the lecture, NMHS will host a luncheon with the author at a local restaurant $25 prepaid and cash bar. Reservations required, 914 737-7878 x 0 or email
Sponsor: The National Maritime Historical Society

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December Charles Point Council Seminar: Norseman Saga

Saturday, 3 December
‘Norseman Saga’ and HOLIDAY POT LUCK PARTY at Cortlandt Yacht Club
James L. Nelsondraken_harald_sm
By the latter part of the 8th Century, all of Europe was plunged into the Dark Ages, a violent and uncertain time. Then suddenly and seemingly without warning, a new menace swept onto the scene as Viking raiders from Denmark, Norway and Sweden began crossing the oceans to plunder England, Ireland and the Continent. These Norse invaders came first to pillage, and later to conquer and settle. In less than a hundred years after their depredations began, the Vikings had become a major military and political force throughout Europe.

Author James L. Nelson, who has previously written on such topics as piracy and the naval action of the American Revolution, turns his attention to his own ancestors, the Norsemen, and their raiding and later settling in Europe, and Ireland in particular. He will also discuss the technological advances and unique aspects of Norse ship design and building, and how those advances helped drive the Viking invasion. Nelson is currently working on a series of novels that chronicle the adventures of Viking Thorgrim Night Wolf and company in 9th Century Ireland.

James Nelson has written more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, all centered on the maritime world.  Book signing to follow.

Holiday Pot luck

Join us for our Holiday Pot Luck Party with James Nelson after the presentation.
Please bring a dish, drink or dessert that serves six to eight people.

Cortlandt Yacht Club
238 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY  10548

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History Cruise Aboard SS John W. Brown

Living History Cruise Aboard SS John W. Brown
Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sail back into World War II aboard a national treasure. SS John W.  Brown carries you back into wartime.

OutwardBoundExperience life aboard the last remaining troop ship from WWII.  The historic original triple-expansion steam engine powers us in convoy through the day.  Meeting soldiers, marines, sailors and civilian re-enactors help pull you back into wartime.  The entertainment gives the feel of a USO Show aboard ship. Through the day, air cover will be provided to see us safely on our journey.

JWB Swanson photoThis exciting 6-hour day cruise includes lunch (the mess provides sea rations—a deli lunch), beverages, snacks, music of the 40’s, period entertainment, and flybys (conditions permitting) of wartime aircraft. Tour museum spaces, defensive guns, crew’s quarters, cargo spaces, and troop berthing and much more. View the magnificent 140-ton triple-expansion steam engine as it powers the ship through the water.

JWB2007 Buzzard BayChairs, sunscreen, hat and a camera are great things to bring along onto the ship. Please keep in mind that this is a working cargo ship, so sensible shoes are a must.  Also, dress accordingly – layers may be best as we will be out on the water and it may be breezy, but it also may be warm and there is no air conditioning.

The ship will sail from Pier 36 at 10:00 am and return at 4:00 pm.
Passenger boarding: 8:00 am to 9:00 am.

Pier 36
299 South Street
New York, NY 10002

SS John W. Brown is the last remaining troop transport from WWII and the last to have landed troops ashore as part of an amphibious landing. It is also the oldest remaining Liberty Ship in the world. It was built in Baltimore, its present-day home port. It is a museum and maritime education center open to all ages.

Please click this link for the NMHS discounted rate: TICKET INFORMATION

Organizer: Project Liberty Ship, Inc.
Project Liberty Ship is dedicated to the preservation of the Liberty Ship SS John W. Brown as a living memorial to the men and women who built the great Liberty Fleet and to the merchant seamen and US Navy Armed Guard who sailed the ships across the oceans of the world.



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Cartography Conference at the New Bedford Whaling Museum


Keeping Our Bearings: Maps, Navigation, Shipwrecks and the Unknown
13–14 November at the
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Optional additional related programming offered on 15 November

The first cartography conference held at the New Bedford Whaling Museum examines our connection to man’s relationship to the sea over time, from medieval conceptions of the oceans as dark and monstrous places to 21st century high-tech modern underwater mapping used to search for shipwrecked whaleships in the Arctic. Learn how a great clock changed the world, and how Marshall Islanders used stick charts that rely on swells and currents to find their way. How and why mankind learned to find solutions to navigate the oceans across different cultures and over time informs our understanding of the cultural, spiritual, physical, and intellectual challenges of marine navigation. Join the New Bedford Whaling Museum for a series of fascinating talks by experts in cartography, navigation, and exploration to better understand the oceans around us and how we continue to strive to find our bearings. Download the cartography conference flyer here.


Members $65 / Non-members $75
Students with ID $25

Friday evening only lecture: Members $20 / Non-members $25

Optional: Introduction to Astrolabes
$10 Members/$15 Non-members
Optional: Tour of Mystic Seaport Exhibition
$20 Members/$25 Non-members

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Periculum maris spes lucri superat:
Fisheries, Trade, Defense and the North Atlantic World

A Joint Conference of the North American Society for Oceanic History (NASOH),
North Atlantic Fisheries History Association (NAFHA), and
the Society for the History of Naval Medicine (SHNM)
11–15 May 2016 in Portland, Maine


Periculum maris spes lucri superat. Taken from James Josselyn’s A Relation of Two Voyages to New-England, the Latin quote translates loosely to “The hope for money exceeds the dangers of the sea.” With that in mind, and the international connection of the North Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop, the 2016 program committee invites paper and session proposals that explore a wide range of maritime connections, cultural landscapes, or an interweaving of both to examine the meaning and processes of our maritime heritage. Suggested topic areas include cultural connections, race, gender, fisheries, archaeology, empire, military (especially the First World War), Law of the Sea and ocean management, maritime health, indigenous, environmental, and public history. Additional topics and geographic focuses are welcome for submission and the Program Committee will consider papers and sessions exploring all aspects of history and archaeology related to navigable saltwater and freshwater environments as well as to processing and consumption of fish. Papers from graduate students and junior scholars with fresh approaches to maritime history are greatly encouraged, as are papers discussing the North Atlantic realm from a non-American / non-European perspective.

Students may apply for a Chad Smith Travel Grant to assist in travel to present a paper at the conference. Additionally, the Clark G. Reynolds Student Paper Award is provided each year to the author of the best graduate student paper delivered at the society’s annual conference. Please see the awards section of the NASOH website for details. SHNM also offers a Graduate Student Travel grant award. SHNM will present its Book Award at the conference. Please see the SHNM website for details. NAFHA envisages publishing a selection of fisheries related papers presented at the conference in its series Studia Atlantica and will be able to provide some limited travel support for non-American / non-European scholars presenting fisheries history related topics.

The Program Committee welcomes the submission of individual papers and full sessions, preferring panels with three papers. Session and individual paper proposals should include: A) title, not to exceed 10 words; B) abstract, not to exceed 250 words; C) a 200-word bio for the presenter; D) contact information including phone number, address, affiliation, and email. Please submit this information as a single Word document, single-spaced, 12-point Times Roman font, and not as a PDF.

Accommodations for PowerPoint presentations will be provided; any other requirements, including audio-visual equipment, special outlets, or accommodations for disabilities should be included in the proposal. Please note that all participants must register for the conference.

The deadline for proposal submission is February 1, 2016. Please submit proposal packets electronically to the Program Committee’s Vic Mastone: NASOH or NAFHA members interested in serving as panel chairs should send an email to the program committee at the same address.

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CALL FOR PAPERS: War of 1812 Symposium

6th Annual International War of 1812 Symposium
Oswego, NY
1–3 April 2016

Proposals are invited for papers to be read and optionally published as part of the 6th Annual International War of 1812 Symposium at Oswego, NY, 1–3 April 2016. As 2016 is the 200th anniversary of the formation of Oswego County, papers on topics relative to the military, naval, mercantile, social, economic or political history of the Oswego region before, during or after the War of 1812 (from the 1700s until about 1820) will be given special consideration. As in the past, proposals for papers on all other aspects of the War of 1812 are also welcome.

Successful applicants will be allowed 40 minutes to present their papers. If you wish to participate, please submit a brief (about 100-word) abstract of the paper you propose and send it by e-mail to Dr. Gary M. Gibson, program chairman, no later than Monday, 19 October 2015. Abstracts must be submitted in .doc, .docx or .rtf format and will be used as part of the symposium’s program and for advertising the event nationally and internationally. Along with the abstract, please send a brief biographical sketch in the same format.

Successful applicants will be notified by Monday, November 7, 2015. To be included in the printed proceedings, your complete paper must be received in digital format no later than Monday, January 11, 2016. Presenters will receive complementary accommodations at the symposium for the nights of April 1 and 2, reasonable travel expenses and an honorarium.

As in past years, the symposium will be held at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center, attached to the Best Western Hotel at Oswego, NY. Friday evening, April 1, 2016, is reserved for the presentation of selected student papers. The symposium itself runs from Saturday morning, April 2, through Sunday noon, April 3. Saturday’s lunch will be provided at the symposium. Successful applicants will receive further details in early November.

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