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2019 Seminar Series Schedule

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The NMHS Seminar Series was founded in 1992 under the auspices of the National Maritime Historical Society to build greater awareness of the rich maritime 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 provides educational programs about our waters and the great community of people who love ships and mariners, the sea, rivers, and bays.  Members of the general public are encouraged to attend.  For more information or to register, email nmhs@seahistory.org or call 914 737-7878 x 0.  There is no charge to attend the seminars, but a $5 to $10 donation at the door is appreciated to support our educational mission.  We invite you to Sponsor the Series and take advantage of everything our sponsorship options have to offer – including a year of seminars AND family fun at maritime museums!

Billion Oyster Project: Seminar with Executive Director Peter Malinowski
Saturday, 26 January 2019: Continental Breakfast/Registration 10:30 am; Lecture 11:00 am
Hendrick Hudson Free Library · 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

When Henry Hudson sailed into the New York Harbor in 1609 on his way to the river that would bear his name, the waters were packed with 220,000 acres of oyster reefs. Unfortunately, by 1906, the harbor’s oyster population had been decimated due to over-harvesting and pollution. The Billion Oyster Project, headed by Executive Director Peter Malinowski, aims to fix that by planting one billion oysters in the New York Harbor by 2030. Why bring back the oysters?  A single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day, removing pollutants from its environment. So far, the organization has recruited thousands of volunteers to plant over 25 million oysters – an inspiring example of how communities can promote environmental stewardship and the health of our waters.

Incidents at Sea: Russia, China and the US: Seminar with Author David F. Winkler
Saturday, 23 February 2019 Continental Breakfast/Registration 10:30 am; Lecture 11:00 am
Hendrick Hudson Free Library · 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

Join us as author David Winkler draws on extensive State Department files, declassified Navy policy papers, and interviews with former top officials to examine the evolution of U.S.-China and U.S.-Russia relations from 1945 to present. Winkler details occasional U.S.-Russia naval force interactions during the Cold War, China’s efforts to militarize the South China Sea and claim sovereignty over waters within their exclusive economic zone, and the U.S. Navy’s efforts to counter these challenges.

The Business of Shipping: Seminar with Author and SUNY Maritime Professor Ira Breskin
Saturday, 23 March 2019 Continental Breakfast/Registration 10:30 am; Lecture 11:00 am
Hendrick Hudson Free Library · 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

Nearly everything a person touches, uses and eats is transported by a ship. Shipping, and the ports, terminals and railways that support global commerce, form an industry whose economic impact is measured in the trillions of dollars.  Join us as author Ira Breskin, senior lecturer of humanities at SUNY Maritime College, discusses the Business of Shipping and gives an in-depth introduction to this dynamic industry and its place in the global supply chain.

In Hostile Waters – The Cruise of USS Argus: Seminar with Author William H. White
Wednesday, 19 June 2019 Refreshments & Registration 6:30 pm; Lecture 7:00 pm
Hendrick Hudson Free Library · 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

Join us as author and NMHS Trustee William H. White weaves real historical characters with a few fictitious ones in his fascinating novel In Hostile Waters – The Cruise of USS Argus.  It is 1813, and the United States Brig of War, Argus, commanded by W. Henry Allen, is tasked with carrying the U.S. Minister to France. Following the safe delivery of the minister, Argus was ordered to sail into British waters and become a commerce raider for as long as possible – an inherently perilous, open-ended commission. Oliver Baldwin (The Greater the Honor, In Pursuit of Glory) sails as 1st Lieutenant. Edward Ballantyne (When Fortune Frowns, Gun Bay) commands the British ship sent to stop them.

Excursion to West Point Foundry Preserve & Putnam History Museum, Cold Spring
Details TBD – Saturday, 20 July 2019

Join us Saturday morning at the Putnam History Museum for an introduction into the local history of the West Point Foundry.  Established in 1818 to supply the U.S. government with artillery, the ironworks employed hundreds of workers who produced some of America’s first steam engines, locomotives and ironclad ships, as well as pipes for New York City’s water system and Parrott guns, cannons credited with winning the Civil War.  From the museum, we’ll walk over to the adjacent West Point Foundry Preserve for a walking tour.  Choose from a half-mile, lightly graded tour of the preserve’s key sites, or a more challenging one-mile upstream hike of additional foundry ruins.  We’ll then head to local favorite Hudson River Inn for a sumptuous three-course lunch on the waterfront.  After lunch, opt to take a relaxing stroll or seat on the charming riverfront square, or visit Cold Spring’s downtown with its eclectic shops and quaint antique stores.  For the more adventurous, sign up for a supplemental Hudson River Kayak Tour and take a family friendly two-hour nature tour of Constitution Marsh Audubon Sanctuary, suitable for kids, parents and grandparents of all skill levels, with all equipment provided.  The price for this excursion, including museum admission, tours and lunch is $55, with cash bar.  The supplemental kayaking trip is $65 per person.  Seating is limited and pre-payment is required, but you may reserve your spot until 10 July by emailing nmhs@seahistory.org or by calling (914) 737-7878 ext. 0.

Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers:  Seminar with Author Tamara P. Thornton
Saturday, 21 September 2019 Continental Breakfast/Registration 10:30 am; Lecture 11:00 am
Hendrick Hudson Free Library · 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

Join us as author Tamara Thornton delves into the life and work of Nathaniel Bowditch, the mathematician, astronomer, navigator, seafarer, and business executive who Thomas Jefferson once called a “meteor in the hemisphere.”  Bowditch’s enthrallment with the precision and certainty of numbers and the unerring regularity of the physical universe, coupled with his Enlightenment-inspired perspectives, shaped nineteenth-century capitalism and transformed American life.

U-Boat Assault on America: Seminar with Author Ken Brown
Saturday, 2 November 2019 Continental Breakfast/Registration 10:30 am; Lecture 11:00 am
Hendrick Hudson Free Library · 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

The “Second Happy Time” was the informal name given to the phase of the battle of the Atlantic when German U-boats attacked both merchant and U.S. naval vessels along America’s east coast. With tankers burning and petrol rationing in New York City, the U.S. Navy seemed powerless to stop the deprivations of Hitler’s marauding U-boats.  Join us as author Ken Brown explains how the United States responded to these deadly assaults and looks at the steps that the Navy took to train the men, harness the scientists, and make organizational changes that were required to defeat the Germans.

Collecting Evolution: The Galapagos Expedition: Seminar with Author Matthew James
Saturday, 7 December 2019 Continental Breakfast/Registration 10:30 am; Lecture 11:00 am
Cortlandt Yacht Club · 238 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, NY

Join us as author Matthew James follows eight men from the California Academy of Sciences who set sail aboard the Academy from San Francisco in 1905 for a scientific collection expedition in the Galapagos Islands.  By the time they were finished in 1906, they had completed one of the most important expeditions in the history of both evolutionary and conservation science, having collected over 78,000 specimens validating the work of Charles Darwin and laying the groundwork for foundational evolution texts like Darwin’s Finches. Despite its significance, almost nothing has been written on this voyage, lost amongst discussion of Darwin’s trip on the Beagle and the writing of David Lack.   Stay for the annual holiday potluck and bring a dish, drink or dessert to share!

For more information or to register, email nmhs@seahistory.org or call 914 737-7878 x 0.

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