Mystic Seaport Museum President Steve White Announces Retirement

Stephen C. White announced today he plans to retire as President and CEO of Mystic Seaport Museum. White, who has served as President and CEO since 2009, will continue in that role until his successor has been named.

“I’m honored to have worked alongside the talented, passionate, and dedicated staff and volunteers who every day strive to inspire an enduring connection to the American maritime experience,” says White. “I came here with the goal of guiding the institution to reimagine the interchange between maritime heritage and broader contemporary culture. I’m proud of all we have achieved in the last decade and that the Museum is poised to achieve more great things as it enters its 90th year in 2020.”

Under White’s leadership, the Museum strengthened its role as a leader in America’s maritime heritage community while simultaneously adapting to new visions of what a museum must be in the 21st century. It restored and sailed the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan on its 38th Voyage in 2014. The north end of the campus was reconfigured into the McGraw Gallery Quadrangle, a comprehensive renovation and expansion of the Museum’s indoor exhibition spaces, which included the construction of the award-winning Thompson Exhibition Building. The Museum is poised to conclude funding of its $6-million Era of Exhibitions campaign. The campaign was launched in 2017 to fund exhibitions of world-class quality, innovation, and scholarship such as the present show J.M.W. Turner: Watercolors from Tate, the most comprehensive collection of Turner watercolors ever displayed in this country.

White served as the president of the International Congress of Maritime Museums from 2015 to 2019, and Gov. Dannel Malloy named White Connecticut’s Tourism Leader of the Year in 2015.

“Steve’s impact on Mystic Seaport Museum is best seen in the strong sense of community he fostered, both inside the Museum and in its external relationships with the world at large,” says Michael S. Hudner, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “We are grateful for his steady, confident leadership and for the zeal and imagination with which he advanced the Museum’s mission.”

The Board of Trustees of Mystic Seaport Museum will establish a search committee headed by former Board chairman Barclay Collins in January 2020 to find White’s successor.

$5M Maritime Heritage Grant Funding Approved by Congress!

December 12, 2019 

Tim Runyan –  National Maritime Alliance

The House of Representatives last evening approved (377-48) the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report authorizing national defense funding for fiscal year 2020. Included is a provision that authorizes the Secretary of Defense to provide up to $5 million for the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program. The NDAA will be voted on by the Senate soon and is expected to pass. The House and Senate agreed on the bill earlier in their conference report.

This is a huge victory for the maritime heritage community. I thank those who have responded to my appeals to contact their Senators and Representatives to urge their support. Our grass roots effort over the past year was a key in achieving success. We also thank the Navy League for supporting the provision.

Our champion in this effort is Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) from Buffalo who proposed the legislation, and his staff led by Legislative Director Kayla Williams. NY Senators Schumer and Gillibrand also supported the provision, as did members across the country from both houses and parties. The final NDAA was changed substantially during the conference, but the section providing the $5M grant funding remained because of the support of members encouraged by our letters and contacts.

This is the first direct federal funding for the National Maritime Heritage Grant Program. Funding has come through the profits of recycling ships by the Maritime Administration. That source is projected to provide ca $2.5 million for 2020. It provided $10 million over four years, then no funding this past year. The $2.5 million from the Maritime Administration will be in addition to the $5 million provided through the NDAA.  The grant program will continue to be administered by the National Park Service. Updates will follow.                                                                                          

Timothy J. Runyan, PhD , Chair, National Maritime Alliance

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum shipwrights to restore oldest existing log canoe

This winter, shipwrights at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md., will take on the restoration of a subject they’re all too familiar with — a Chesapeake Bay sailing log canoe.

Part of CBMM’s small craft collection, Glide is a three-log canoe believed to have been built c. 1864 at Town Point in Dorchester County, Md., by Washington Hammond Skinner (1823-1901). Originally called Monkey, it is believed to be the oldest existing Chesapeake Bay log canoe and was donated to CBMM in 2018 by John T. Adams, Jr.

“This project is an opportunity for visitors to observe as our shipwrights conserve one of our most historic vessels,” said Associate Curator of Collections Jenifer Dolde. “Curatorial staff will document each step of the process as we uncover the mysteries of Glide’s log-hull construction, replacing decayed wood in order to preserve the canoe for years to come.”

CBMM’s Shipyard staff, led by Joe Connor, will work to restore Glide to sailable condition without doing a complete overhaul of the historic canoe’s log hull. The primary focus of their work will be resplining two primary log joints to increase their strength and water-tight capabilities while maintaining the mechanical biscuit fasteners original to the vessel. Their goal is to sail Glide by the end of summer 2020 before returning the canoe to sit on display in CBMM’s Small Boat Shed. All work will be done in adherence to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Vessel Preservation.

CBMM’s working Shipyard has previously built two log canoes—Bufflehead (2014–2015) and Caroline (2018-2019)— and completed a historic restoration of 1889 bugeye Edna Lockwood, another log-hull Chesapeake Bay-built boat, in 2018.

“There’s no other Shipyard in the world more experienced in working on Bay-built log canoes,” Connor said. “We’re always excited for an opportunity to help preserve a vital piece of Chesapeake Bay history and to teach both the public and our apprentices more about traditional wooden boatbuilding.”

For most of its history, Glide used for pleasure, but not for racing. John T. Adams Sr. acquired the boat in 1962 from Raymond Ziegler of Cambridge, who bought the boat in the early 20th century from Earle Orem, a mayor of Cambridge. In 1943, marine architect Howard I. Chapelle restored Glide and took its lines. Unusual among surviving Chesapeake Bay log canoes, Glide’s logs are joined with wooden mortise and tenon rather than the iron drifts typical of later log canoes.

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s working Shipyard preserves traditional Chesapeake Bay wooden boatbuilding skills and techniques through living traditions, experiential archaeology, and education from youth to adults. A tangible connection to the Chesapeake’s rich history boatbuilding, shipwrights are dedicated to passing on skills and knowledge necessary to carry the wooden boat tradition forward. To learn more about CBMM’s Shipyard, its staff, and its current restoration and construction projects, visit

$10 Million Dollar Endowment Awarded to The Mariners’ Museum and Park

The Mariners’ Museum and Park is thrilled to announce that it has received the largest individual gift in its almost 90-year history. The Batten Foundation has committed $10 million to endow the Museum’s signature access initiative – $1 Admission. This gift will ensure the long-term sustainability of $1 Admission at the Museum.

The Mariners’ Museum $1 Admission initiative is core to the Museum’s mission:

We connect people to the world’s waters, because that is how we are connected to one another.”

The Museum selected $1 for its admission fee to underscore this important idea: through the water, we are one city, one region, one nation, one world – one dollar. Access to the Museum and the stories told by its collection are key to the Museum’s strategy to execute on its mission. By lowering the barrier to entry to $1 per person, the Museum helps to clear the way for people of all backgrounds to find their own connection to the world’s waters and, ultimately, to each other.

In August 2016, The Mariners’ Museum lowered admission to one dollar for the month. The experiment yielded a dramatic increase in the diversity of people visiting the Museum, in the number of kids present in the galleries, and in overall visitation numbers. Because of the success and positive results, the Museum continued $1 Admission for each of the next two summers before permanently adopting the low entry fee in November of 2018. The Museum has seen a 19% increase in overall visitation since the $1 Admission experiment began.

Howard Hoege, the Museum’s President and CEO, explains, “Our Museum team is saying, through $1 Admission, that we are here to serve everyone in our community, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomic status – all of the ways in which we sometimes feel different than others. Simply put, we can all trace our heritage back to the water and that makes us all connected, unique together, as one human race.”

The Batten Foundation was moved, in part, to make this commitment by Tom Hunnicutt’s passing earlier this year. Frank Batten, Sr., and Tom Hunnicutt served together on The Mariners’ Museum Board of Trustees and formed a strong friendship based on their mutual love of sailing. The Batten Foundation makes this commitment, in large part, to honor that friendship and the decades of service and leadership that Tom Hunnicutt provided The Mariners’ Museum.

While the Batten Foundation will make an initial $5 million contribution in 2020, the second $5 million will be on a matching basis. Once the Museum has raised an additional $5 million in other endowment gifts, the Batten Foundation will release the other half of the $10 million endowment.

“By virtue of its match, the Batten Foundation has not only ensured the Museum’s permanent commitment to this significant initiative, it has opened the door to even more support for the Museum’s other important initiatives around educational programs for school-aged children, conservation of the Museum’s world class collection, and stewardship of The Mariners’ Museum Park and Noland Trail on behalf of our community. We are humbled and honored by this gift and are using it as motivation to do even more to serve our Hampton Roads community,” Hoege added.

Western Naval History Association’s 2020 Symposium

Aboard USS Midway, 29 February-1 March, 2020

Join an impressive group of naval scholars, historians, and writers for two fascinating days of discussions, workshops, war-gaming, and Q&As.  Lunch and free Midway access will be included.

You’ll hear talks by:

  • Richard B. Frank, author of Tower of Skulls and Guadalcanal
  • Bernard D. Cole, National War College, China expert, and author of Taiwan’s Security, and The Great Wall at Sea: China’s Navy Enters the 21st Century
  • Cynthia A. Watson, Dean of Faculty & Academic Affairs, National War College, author of U.S. National Security, and Combatant Commands
  • Captain Charles R. MacVean, USN Ret., Ph.D., Recollections of a Cold War Sub Skipper
  • David J. Ulbrich, author of Preparing for Victory: Thomas Holcomb and the Making of the Marine Corps, 1936 – 1943
  • Mark E. Fiorey, Master Chief Petty Officer, USN Ret.; Deputy Director of Research, John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research
  • Michael Whitby, Senior Historian, Canadian Department of National Defence, co-author of The Admirals: Canada’s Senior Naval Leadership in the Twentieth Century

      ……and much more!


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Please Register Me for WNHA’s 2020 Symposium! 


Name _________________________________________________________________________


Address _______________________________________________________________________


Email _________________________________________ Phone __________________________


____ Enclosed is my $50 check to cover the symposium fee and a 1-year WNHA membership.

Please mail this form and check to WNHA, 631 East J St., Chula Vista, CA 92910.