The Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum actively pursued improvements in both our programs and our offering. These improvements are becoming reality, thanks to your generous financial and volunteer support. Thank you!
More Events - More Often!
We hosted more events in 2011 than in the previous year, with a broad-reaching series of twelve lectures, a wide variety of one-day workshops, such as our well-respected photography course and wreath-making program and a number of fun kid-oriented events, including a new Members Day Spring celebration that is sure to be repeated. We were once again reminded that folks not only enjoy these interesting programs, but just like to be on the grounds of the historic shipyard, explore our substantial collection of artifacts,meet new friends and discover something new about New England.
Our Education Programs Receive High Praise
With your support, the Museum continues to offer hands-on educational programs tied into school curriculum in history, science, and social studies. Last year, we hosted 40 educational field trips representing 27 different schools, camps, and home school groups. Most come from eastern Massachusetts, although the greatest voyage was won by the Sutter Middle School of Sacramento, CA!
Most teachers mentioned that they liked to come here because of our authentic activities like steam-bending and trunnel making, as well as the sincere presentations by our dedicated staff and volunteers.
One teacher sent an e-mail soon after a visit:
"Our trip yesterday was amazing. The group leaders far exceeded our expectations. They were very patient - especially dealing with 43 third graders charged up in the last week of school. Each station was filled with information and engaging. I can't thank you enough for making this field trip such a success."
Schooner Ardelle Launch Delighted Thousands
2011 marked the year of the Pinky Schooner Ardelle. From the raising of the first frames through the launch initiated by Harold?s daughter, Perry Ardelle Burnham's christening of the vessel, the Museum explained and guided visitors through the year-long construction effort.
Our support included hosting the Frame Up event as the first frames were raised, informal ?mug-ups? that allowed folks to learn about and see the shipwright?s construction first hand, a potluck supper with tours and slides, a grand celebration of music and play-by-play narration at the launch, and finally a send off celebration when The Pinky Schooner Ardelle sailed out down the Essex River for service in Gloucester.
The numbers of people who participated in Ardelle-related activities ranged from frequent visitors to the yard during construction, through the five hundred or so at Frame Up, rising to approximately two thousand who witnessed the historic launch.
New Signage Orients Visitors
For the last two years, we have been offering the option of the flexible self-guided tour. Now, to help orient our visitors, thanks to staff and volunteer work and the steady hand of Les Moore, we now have new numbered signage at key locations within the shipyard that tie directly to the descriptions in the self-guided tour brochure.
Elwell Tool Collection Preserves Important History
Last year the Museum was fortunate to receive a gift of over 2000 carpentry, farm and shipwright tools from the Elwell family. This make be the largest single cohesive collection of early New England tools every received by a museum at one time. We are pleased to report that the cataloging and accessioning of this collection is essentially complete. Recently most of the wooden parts of the collection were sent to the Historic New England facility in Haverhill for treatment of the furniture against any pests that may have worked their way into the wood over the years. With this gift, the Museum has substantially increased its tool collection and plans are being made for how to best further preserve and display these tools.
Museum Board Plans for a Productive Future
While all of these activities have been occurring, the Board has been very active both overseeing the day-to-day activities of the museum, as well as developing a clear vision for the future. We have identified specific tasks and objectives to achieve these goals.
A new strategic plan is being developed for the period 2012-2014. This Plan leverages the expected renewal that will occur in Essex in 2012 with the long awaited completion of the construction of Route 133. A roundtable discussion was held to elicit community input. A survey was sent to all members, Essex residents, and Essex merchants. The results of the roundtable and survey became the foundation for our strategic plan.
So we long forward to 2012 with great anticipation, riding on the achievements of the hundreds of volunteers and members to have brought the museum to what it is today, and we encourage others to join us in 2012 as volunteers and committee members to help to shape out future in this important coming year. Our small maritime museum is one important repository of our American Heritage. As so many of our visitors say, 'This is the real thing!" Here you will find an authentic New England community effort to preserve, interpret and present the New England way of life
For those who were able to support is financially in 2011, we thank you! For those of you who are considering supporting our efforts in 2012, we thank you in advance! Your support is vital for the Museum to continue to preserve our New England unique heritage.
You may make your donation through our secure web site by clicking here.
Or, if you prefer, you may send a check. Please make it payable to: Essex Shipbuilding Museum and, mail it to:
Essex Shipbuilding Museum, PO Box 277, Essex, MA 01929
We are looking forward to 2011's events and hope that you will join us.