The National Maritime Historical Society

You are here > Education > Seminars & Programs > 2017 NMHS Seminar Series

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 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. 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.

Unless noted timing for the seminars is:
Continental Breakfast & Registration: 10:30 AM
Lecture:  11:00 AM

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
Revolution on the Hudson: New York City and the Hudson River Valley in the American War of Independence
George Daughan

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. 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

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.

Saturday, 25 March
Tugboats Illustrated
Paul Farrell, architect
Peekskill Presbyterian Church, 705 South St, Peekskill, NY 10566

Author, architect and tugboat enthusiast 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. Book signing to follow.

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

Producer/Director Christine Knowlton presents Sense the Wind, a documentary featuring four blind sailors racing across open water. Join the journey as they train and compete at the Blind Nationals and press towards Japan’s Blind Sailing World Championships—learning not to fear what cannot be seen, on boats or on land. They compete despite risk to a crossing boom, collisions, or falling overboard. On the water, teamwork and intuition take over, and disabilities are no longer the focus. Autographed DVD copies will be available.

Wednesday, 21 June
Bannerman’s Island—Seminar
Thom Johnson
LOCATION: Chappaqua Library, 195 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua, NY
Refreshments: 6:30 PM
Presentation: 7:00 PM

Historian and guide Thom Johnson presents and recounts the 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 and its abandoned arsenal.

Thom Johnson will join us again on Saturday, 22 July, to take us on a tour of Bannerman’s Island.

Saturday, 22 July
Bannerman’s 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: $70 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: Hendrick Hudson Library, 185 Kings Ferry Road, Montrose, 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. The film based on the book, The Finest Hours, will be screened for us Friday evening, 3 November, at 7:00 pm, 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.