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National Maritime Heritage Grant Recipients


In the 2015 grant cycle, 34 grants in 19 states, totaling $2,580,197.37, were awarded under the first round of the re-established Maritime Heritage Grants Program. Successful applicants include state and tribal governments as well as private non-profit organizations. The projects funded include maritime education and information access projects; exhibit and heritage trail development; preservation of ships, lighthouses, and other maritime properties; and survey and conservation of underwater archeological resources. The projects that received funding are listed by state below.

The list of grant recipients from 1998 and grant recipients from 2014 is also available.


Alaska | California | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Maine
Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | New Jersey | New York | North Carolina
Ohio | Oregon | Pennsylvania
Rhode Island | Virginia | Washington



Thelma C Exhibit Project

  • Kodiak Maritime Museum and Art Center
  • Amount: $50,000
  • Project: The museum will construct an outdoor plaza and exhibit to tell the story of the Thelma C and its significance in national maritime history.


Island of the Blue Dolphins and its Maritime History Context

  • Recipient: University of South Carolina Foundation
  • Amount: $49,669
  • Project: USC and Channel Islands National Park have built a multimedia website that roots the novel Island of the Blue Dolphins in the historical context and primary sources that informed it. The grant will fund the final phase of the project, the creation of standards-based curricular materials for the site.


Steam Ferryboat Eureka Structural Survey

  • Recipient: San Francisco Maritime National Park Association
  • Amount: $52,900
  • Project: The project will include a comprehensive structural survey of the Steam Ferryboat Eureka, a registered National Historic Landmark vessel.


A Distance-Learning History Project: Linking Cabrillo’s ship San Salvador

  • Recipient: Maritime Museum Association of San Diego
  • Amount: $49,100
  • Project: The Museum is creating EXPLORE (Experiential Learning Opportunity & Resource Enhancement), a public, multi-media, web-based space that will facilitate investigation of the Age of Exploration through extension of a variety of resources to any teacher wishing to address this period in history and its relationship to American genesis.


Spirit of Dana Point Tall Ship Overnight Education Program

  • Recipient: Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
  • Amount: $35,000
  • Project: Santa Barbara Maritime Museum will host the fourteenth year of the Spirit Program, which was developed by the Ocean Institute in 1980 and based upon Richard Henry Dana’s book, Two Years Before the Mast. Accompanied by adult crewmembers playing the parts of the book’s characters, fourth–grade students, who are studying California history, experience Dana’s 1835 port call to Santa Barbara during an overnight stay aboard the tall ship Spirit of Dana Point.



Scrimshaw, Marine Painting, and Ship Model Preservation and Access Project

  • Recipient: Mystic Seaport Museum
  • Amount: $49,959
  • Project: The project is designed to provide enhanced access to a body of source material relating to the American maritime experience. It will involve digital photography and scanning of nearly 2,500 unique objects from the Museum’s collection, including pieces of scrimshaw, marine paintings, and ship models - objects that are of highest interest to exhibit visitors at Mystic Seaport.


Connecticut River Museum Bulkhead Replacement Project

  • Recipient: Connecticut River Museum
  • Amount: $197,364
  • Project: Built over the tidal Connecticut River, the 1878 building is protected to the north and east by a steel-sheathed bulkhead, which is significantly deteriorated and is ultimately in danger of collapsing. The Museum will hire a marine construction firm to replace the north bulkhead as recommended by our project engineer and thus ensure that the historic site does not wash away.



“Wilmington Shipbuilding” Interpretive Educational Exhibit in the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation’s Copeland Maritime Center

  • Recipient: Kalmar Nyckel Foundation
  • Amount: $31,800
  • Project: The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation will research, design and install an exhibit in its new Copeland Maritime Center educational facility focused on documenting Wilmington’s shipbuilding heritage. The “Wilmington Shipbuilding” exhibit will be housed in the Wilmington Riverfront Room of the center, which is a primary educational and conference space.



Construction of Archaeological Research and Education Center

  • Recipient: St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum
  • Amount: $50,000
  • Project: The museum will build an Archaeological Research & Education Center used to conserve submerged cultural artifacts found by its team of archaeologists. The center will include wet and dry artifact conservation space that will include a viewing window (fashioned after the Smithsonian viewing model) for the public to see conservation of centuries-old artifacts-some that have not seen the light of day for over 200 years. It will also include an educational space, offices for archaeologists and an x-ray room for finding what lies beneath years of concretions.



EConstruction of Building Addition for a Simulated Lighthouse Lantern Room

  • Recipient: Maine Maritime Museum
  • Amount: $50,000
  • Project: Funding will assist the construction of a new Gallery as an addition to our Maritime History Building, built specifically to contain a new, permanent exhibit. This exhibit will make it possible for people—who might otherwise be physically unable to negotiate the steps of a real lighthouse tower or who simply have no access to a lighthouse—to have the simulated experience of being at the top of a lighthouse tower.



Maryland Dove Pier Repair

  • Recipient: Historic St Mary’s City Commission
  • Amount: $50,000
  • Project: This project will consist of repair of interpretive area for the city’s replica 17th century ship, the Maryland Dove.


Preservation of the Superstructure of Liberty Ship John W. Brown

  • Recipient: Project Liberty Ship
  • Amount: $178,670
  • Project: Project Liberty Ship needs to refinish the steel superstructure of the Liberty Ship John W. Brown in order to stabilize and preserve the ship from ongoing rust. This preservation project will prevent further deterioration of the ship, keep the ship in safe operating condition, and allow the safe meeting of our training and educational/outreach obligations to partners, visitors and members.


Chesapeake Oysters: From Skipjack to Shucker-A Maritime Heritage Experience

  • Recipient: Philips Wharf Environmental Center
  • Amount: $49,875
  • Project: Combined with the oyster house, Phillips Wharf Environmental Center provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity for diverse audiences to experience all facets of a “working waterfront”, focused on a Chesapeake maritime industry dating from the pre-Civil War era. PWEC’s goals for this grant are to expand its audience, use its working waterfront resources, and create a program focusing on cultural heritage and practice of oystering on the Chesapeake.



Visualizing Maritime History: A new MIT online resource

  • Recipient: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Amount: $50,000
  • Project: The Visualizing Maritime History Project will digitize, preserve, and create online access to more than 4,000 prints, plans, photographs, and models in the MIT Museum's Captain Arthur H. Clark and Forbes Whaling collections. The project will dramatically increase access to these significant and historical collections.


The Story of New Bedford's Fishing Industry

  • Recipient: New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center
  • Amount: $20,000
  • Project: The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center will produce a 15 minute orientation film, Resilience: the Story of New Bedford’s Fishing Industry. The film will be shown in multiple locations including the City’s Waterfront Visitor Center, the State Pier Ferry Terminal providing transit between New Bedford and Martha’s Vineyard, and to passengers on cruise ships that visit the City on weekly basis during the summer months. Copies of the film will also be made available to local schools and libraries.


Renewing “Old Ironsides”

  • Recipient: USS Constitution Museum
  • Amount: $50,000
  • Project: On May 18, 2015, USS Constitution entered Dry Dock 1 for her first major restoration in over twenty years. The USS Constitution Museum seeks to excite and engage the public’s interest in USS Constitution’s ongoing restoration through its “Renewing Old Ironsides” project. This proactive effort will chronicle the work underway, capture the stories of the artisans responsible, document the skills involved, and interpret the restoration’s historic relevance.


Centennial Celebration of the Lagoda, the world’s largest ship model

  • Recipient: Old Dartmouth Historical Society
  • Amount: $537,000
  • Project: At 89 feet long, the Lagoda is the largest ship model in the world. Constructed in 1916 by shipwrights in the custom-built Bourne Building, the model was an enduring tribute to local whaling magnate Jonathan Bourne, Jr. and his favorite “greasy” ship. The Lagoda Centennial Exhibition will inform visitors about life aboard the ship by bringing the constituent aspects of the vessel’s function “alive” while placing her story in a socio-economic and geo-political context by illuminating her voyages around the world.


Telltales to Learning: Professional Development / Immersion Programs in Maritime Heritage

  • Recipient: PAST Foundation
  • Amount: $49,738
  • Project: Telltales to Learning is an educational and field training project in maritime heritage along the North Shore of Massachusetts. Telltales to Learning leverages Maritime Heritage to provide teachers professional development through transdisciplinary problem-based learning; to offer immersive educational field programs to Middle and High school students – and teachers as part of their professional development curriculum; and to build and further grow maritime heritage field programs for adults in maritime archaeology.


Michigan Offshore Lights Historic Structure Report and Public Education Project

  • Recipient: Michigan State Historic Preservation Office
  • Amount: $123,000
  • Project: The Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is partnering with four non-profit organizations to complete a Historic Structure Report for four offshore lighthouses to enhance public education of Michigan’s unique maritime history.


The Cleaning, Preservation, and Public Display of Fresnel Lighthouse Lenses

  • Recipient: Mason County Historical Society
  • Amount: $52,335
  • Project: The primary objective of this project is to preserve two Fresnel lenses that are under permanent loan to the Mason County Historical Society and display the preserved lenses for public viewing at the new Port of Ludington Maritime Museum.



Cultural Landscape Report for Split Rock Light Station

  • Recipient: Minnesota Historical Society
  • Amount: $68,000
  • Project: The Minnesota Historical Society will use funding to support the research and production of a Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) for the Split Rock Light Station.


New Jersey

Exterior Painting at the Cape May Lighthouse

  • Recipient: Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities
  • Amount: $50,000
  • Project: Based on the plans and specifications already prepared, this project involves the repainting of the exterior of the Cape May Lighthouse in its historically authentic color scheme.


New York

Indexing, Digitizing, and Online Expansion of Sea History Magazine

  • Recipient: National Maritime Historical Society
  • Amount: $50,000
  • Project: The Society will have all issues of the magazine digitized, indexed and available to the public on its website www.seahistory.org. The website will be also enhanced and expanded to include a special interactive “Sea History for Kids” section, so that we can continue to inspire young people to learn about their maritime history.

Mapping New York City’s Sailortown

  • Recipient: Seamens Church Institute
  • Amount: $34,000
  • Project: This project aims to build a consortium of interconnected digital archives that trace, map and bring to life the history of maritime culture in New York City. Combining historical research and archival digitization practices with cutting-edge visualization technology, the project will produce publicly accessible, interactive maps of the city’s layered urban maritime life—both true maps of buildings and landmarks and their significance, as well as conceptual presentations showing the evolution of the maritime industry and its people.

Phase II of the Restoration of the Erie Canal Flight of Five: Miter Gates

  • Recipient: Greater Lockport Development Association
  • Amount: $200,000
  • Project: Phase II of the Restoration of the Erie Canal Flight of Five seeks to fully restore two lock chambers and fabricate and install two replica miter gates, making Locks 68 and 71 once again operational for boats to “lock through.” Lockport has a unique story to tell, restoring the Flight of Five gives the City an opportunity to not just tell its story, but to illustrate it and allow people to experience it and feel it with their bare hands.

The Stepping Stones Lighthouse: First Steps to Rehabilitation

  • Recipient: Town of North Hempstead
  • Amount: $165,000
  • Project: Built in Second Empire-style brick in 1877, the historic Stepping Stones Lighthouse was modernized in 1944. The project will make critical repairs to halt further deterioration of the lighthouse, ready the structure for full rehabilitation, and launch an educational campaign.


North Carolina

Queen Anne’s Revenge: Development of Large Artifact Conservation Wet Lab

  • Recipient: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
  • Amount: $144,569.33
  • Project: This project will develop the wet lab at the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Lab (QAR Lab) for safer and more efficient handling of large artifacts, for more economic use of space, and to improve access to artifacts for researchers, students, and the public



Interior Restoration of the Historic Steam Towboat W.P. Snyder, Jr

  • Recipient: Ohio Historical Society
  • Amount: $100,000
  • Project: The project consists of the restoration of the above decks interiors and roof of the 97-year-old W.P. Snyder Jr. historic towboat, a National Historic Landmark which is moored at the Ohio River Museum in Marietta.



Introducing Public Audiences to the USS Blueback

  • Recipient: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  • Amount: $45,035
  • Project: The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry will develop new interpretive exhibits to introduce public audiences to the USS Blueback (SS-581), one of the last diesel-electric propelled submarines built by the United States Navy. The exhibits will be displayed in the museum lobby, a freely accessible public space, adjacent to the location where visitors queue to tour the submarine.



Restoration of Boat Deck and Hull, 1902 Tug Jupiter

  • Recipient:Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild
  • Amount: $100,088
  • Project: Project funds will be used to replace the boat deck and provide dry-docking of the 113 year-old continuously operating vessel, Jupiter. In order for this history to be better accessible, these two major projects will help the Guild meet US Coast Guard requirements for a Dockside Attraction Vessel Certificate of Inspection.

Submarine Becuna Multimedia App Development

  • Submarine Becuna Multimedia App Development
  • Amount: $50,000
  • Project: Independence Seaport Museum (ISM) will use project funds to support the development, publication and management of a new mobile app that will immerse general visitors (on-and off-site) in the history of USS Becuna and the lives of the seamen who served aboard the submarine from the mid-1940s to the end of the 1960s.


Rhode Island

Steaming into the Future

  • Recipient: Steamship Historical Society of America
  • Amount: $50,000
  • Project: Steamship Historical Society of America (SSHSA) was awarded funds to leverage and link with our Posner Virtual Museum by creating an exciting interactive website experience. The web-based experience, entitled Steaming into the Future, will provide guided access and interpretive context to digitized documents and artifacts from our SSHSA collections, along with examples for classroom use and tags, meeting national social studies and science standards.



Documenting, Interpreting, and Disseminating Historical Collections from the Mariners’Museum Library

  • Recipient: Christopher Newport University
  • Amount: $47,095.04
  • Project: This is an Education Project designed to help the Mariners’ Museum Library (MML) of Newport News, VA digitize, transcribe, interpret, and publicize several historically important maritime heritage collections. The University intends to disseminate information about these collections to the public through physical exhibitions at various museums, innovative websites, digital documentaries, and social media campaigns.



Schooner Adventuress Deck Renewal Project

  • Recipient: Sound Experience
  • Amount: $200,000
  • Project: In winter 2017-18, Sound Experience plans to replace the 20-plus year-old deck of the 133’ schooner Adventuress, a National Historic Landmark vessel built in 1913.