The National Maritime Historical Society

Texas Seaport Museum Exhibit to Celebrate Sea Shanties

A New Exhibit at the Texas Seaport Museum:
Keeping Rhythm on the Sea—A History of Sea Shanties

shanty-750x400Galveston Historical Foundation’s Texas Seaport Museum will highlight sea shanties—songs that helped sailors keep rhythm together and work as one—at a new exhibit, Keeping Rhythm on the Sea – A History of Sea Shanties. The exhibit will debut onboard the 1877 barque Elissa on Friday, 13 November, during a special Galveston Historical Foundation member’s preview. The exhibit will be open to the general public beginning Saturday, 14 November, at the Texas Seaport Museum,  located at Pier 22 and Harborside in Galveston, Texas.

This new exhibit, donated to Texas Seaport Museum by Texas A&M Galveston Maritime Studies program, highlights the historical and contemporary life of the sea shanty and the men who sang them. Video and audio clips of shanties being sung aboard Elissa add to the experience of being on board while under sail.

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NOAA Proposes Two New Candidates for National Marine Sanctuary

During the 2015 Our Ocean Conference in Valparaiso, Chile, President Barack Obama announced that two new national marine sanctuaries have been identified by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) for possible designation under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act.

A diver swims over the two masted schooner, Walter B. Allen. Tamara Thomsen, Wisconsin Historical Society

A diver swims over the two masted schooner, Walter B. Allen.
Tamara Thomsen, Wisconsin Historical Society

An 875-square mile area of Lake Michigan, with waters extending from Port Washington to Two Rivers in Wisconsin, was identified for possible designation. The nominated area contains a collection of 39 known shipwrecks, 15 of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Vessel at low tide showing hull frame Don Shomette

Vessel at low tide showing hull frame
Don Shomette

Mallows Bay in Maryland is a 14-square mile area of the tidal Potomac River, adjacent to Charles County. Nearly 200 vessels spanning from the Revolutionary War through the present are found in the area, including the remains of the largest “Ghost Fleet” of World War I wooden steamships built for the US Emergency Fleet, which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Both sites were nominated as a national marine sanctuary through the sanctuary nomination process with broad community support.

“For the first time in twenty years, communities can bring forth proposals for consideration to be added to our nation’s system of marine sanctuaries,” said Holly Bamford, PhD, assistant NOAA administrator for the National Ocean Service performing the duties of the assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management. “The Mallows Bay-Potomac River and Wisconsin-Lake Michigan nominations demonstrate this new bottom-up approach, which ensures communities lead in identifying and protecting their valuable coastal and marine areas. We look forward to hearing from the public as these two nominations go through the process.”

The public is invited to submit comments until Jan. 15 through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, (docket number for Mallows Bay-Potomac River is NOAA-NOS-2015-0111 and docket number for Wisconsin-Lake Michigan is NOAA-NOS-2015-0112). An official notice will be published in the Federal Register later this week.

Comments may also be mailed if postmarked by Jan. 15.

Comments on Mallows Bay-Potomac River should be sent to:
Paul Orlando
Chesapeake Bay Regional Coordinator
ONMS Northeast and Great Lakes Region
c/o NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office
410 Severn Ave, Suite 207-A
Annapolis, MD 21403

Comments on Wisconsin-Lake Michigan should be sent to:
Ellen Brody
Great Lakes Regional Coordinator
ONMS Northeast and Great Lakes Region
4840 South State Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48108-9719

NOAA will also be hosting public meetings to answer questions and gather public input at the following locations:

November 4, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
La Plata–Charles County Government Building Auditorium
200 Baltimore Street
La Plata, Maryland

November 10, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Annapolis Maritime Museum
723 Second Street
Annapolis, Maryland

November 17, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Wisconsin Maritime Museum
75 Maritime Drive
Manitowoc, Wisconsin

November 18, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Wilson House
200 N. Franklin Street
Port Washington, Wisconsin

November 19, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan,
Main Building, Wombat Room (Room 2114)
1 University Drive
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Following this comment period, NOAA will develop a draft environmental impact statement, draft management plan and potential regulations for each site, which will then be available for public review. After reviewing those comments, NOAA will then make a final decision on the proposed action.

More information on the two proposed sites can be found at

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2014 Annual Awards Dinner: An Evening to Remember!

Photo by Allison Lucas.  (Front Row, l-r) James J. Coleman Jr., Rives Potts, George W. Carmany III.   (Back Row, l-r) Clay Maitland, Ronald L. Oswald, Daniel J. Basta, Howard Slotnick, Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (Ret.), and Richard du Moulin.

Photo by Allison Lucas. (Front Row, l-r) James J. Coleman Jr., Rives Potts, George W. Carmany III.  (Back Row, l-r) Clay Maitland, Ronald L. Oswald, Daniel J. Basta, Howard Slotnick, Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr., USCG (Ret.), and Richard du Moulin.

The National Maritime Historical Society celebrated a successful and magical Annual Awards Dinner held at the New York Yacht Club on Thursday 23 October, 2014

This year we were honored to present awards for outstanding contributions in the maritime field to Daniel Basta, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries; George W. Carmany, III, longtime chairman of the America’s Cup Committee for the New York Yacht Club; James J. Coleman Jr., chairman of the National Coast Guard Museum Association and a director of the Coast Guard Foundation; and Howard Slotnick, treasurer and chairman emeritus of the Society, and one of the driving forces behind the OpSail tradition.

View Photos taken at the event by professional photographer Allison Lucas.  You can also view the four Awardee Videos prepared by NMHS Vice Chairman and President/Producer of XXL Media Richardo Lopes, who has created over 40 award winning PBS television programs and documentaries.

Our honorees were joined by Dinner Chair Clay Maitland, maritime executive and founding chairman of the North American Marine Environment Protection Association.  Richard T. du Moulin, award-winning yachtsman and previous recipient of the NMHS Distinguished Service Award, was Master of Ceremonies. The US Coast Guard Academy Cadet Chorale, directed by Dr. Robert Newton, provided the evening’s lively entertainment.

Among the guests were distinguished dignitaries including the recent former commandant of the US Coast Guard (Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr.), the vice commodore of the New York Yacht Club (Rives Potts), a great maritime artist (Oswald Brett), the chairman, president and leading staff of Mystic Seaport (Barclay Collins, Steve White, Quentin Snediker and Maureen Hennessey), the presidents of South Street Seaport Museum (Captain Jonathan Boulware) the Steamship Historical Society of America (Mathew Schulte), and the American Friends of the National Museum of the Royal Navy (Erik Olstein), the chairman of the Coast Guard Foundation (Robert Flynn), the president and CEO of one of America’s great family-owned tugboat companies (Captain Brian McAllister), the Nobel prize winner for discovering the structure of DNA (Dr. James Watson), the Regional Vice President of the American Bureau of Shipping (Stephen Gumpel), the founder, president, and program development director of the lighthouse tender Lilac (Gerry Weinstein, Mary Habstritt and Daniella Romano) and the president of the Working Harbor Committee (Captain John Doswell).  It was a magical evening we will not soon forget.

A recurring theme during the course of remarks, from the podium and amongst friends old and new, was the importance of focusing on the sea, and on the waters on which we sail, on our common experiences and background and the necessity of connecting together, of sharing our stories and knowledge. Dinner Chairman Clay Maitland praised the work of the Society for our focus on what ties us together and our leadership promoting the larger story. He stated that we share with those who went before us common experiences; we are a people who migrated here from across the seas and still today sail the same seas and rivers to carry our trade and culture. Pirates, terrorism, migration, drought, and religion were issues faced by our forefathers and we are helped to navigate those challenges today by looking to our heritage and realizing its relevance.

Dan Basta discussed the 38th voyage of Mystic Seaport’s whaler Charles W. Morgan as an example of an international icon to connect the world, and advocated an international year to celebrate maritime heritage. Howard Slotnick remembered joining the South Street Seaport Museum as a dollar member, an act that changed his life as he got involved, traveling the world as an OpSail ambassador to invite tall ships to America. George Carmany asked us to think in our own life what it is that makes us love the sea as we do, imagining that for most of us it was getting out on the water as a child, or perhaps with a team racing, but some wonderful experience. As said he put it: “Why do we love the sea so? What forms the attachment that we feel? The exhilaration we feel when we go out on it? Its beauty? The hidden dangers? Its fury and peacefulness? Our impressions, the things that tie us to it emotionally, are grounded in personal experiences, from childhood in most cases… This is the stuff of love and passion, the sort of things that collectively bind us to the sea.”

In honor of James Coleman, his son Jamie Coleman, artist Paul Garnett, and the National Maritime Historical Society donated USCG Bounty Rescue—October 2012 to Mr. Coleman for the new National Coast Guard Museum. Captain of Coast Guard Sector New York, Captain Gordon A. Loebl, is displaying the painting in his office until the construction of the New London, Connecticut museum is completed.

 We would like to thank all those that supported the event, including our underwriters, sponsors, trustees, dinner committee, attendees, and all those that participated in the silent and live auctions.  Your generosity is greatly appreciate

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