| Monitor Conservation|
|Where Needed Most|
Gifts made online after 11:59 PM EST on December 31, 2020, will be issued a
2021 tax receipt.
When Archer Huntington, Homer Ferguson, and the team of workers from Newport News Shipbuilding broke ground for The Mariners’ Museum and Park in 1930, they could not have foreseen the journey we have taken over the past 90 years. Yet Huntington could not have had a stronger sense of the Museum’s path, which he communicated in an early letter to staff:
On the whole, I think it is bad for the spirit to bother about what other museums have done,
in view of the fact that we do not ever wish to do the same. If the Mariners’ Museum has no new
line of work and no new museum principles to prove, it is a waste of time and energy.
Over nine decades, The Mariners’ Museum and Park has held true to this philosophy. We hope you take some pride in the report below, because YOUR commitment and support has us standing stronger than ever 90 years later.
We have been remarkably productive in the face of 2020 headwinds. In keeping with the Collections-Based tenet of our strategy, investment in the conservation of our world-class Collections remained front and center. This year, while our galleries were closed, we invested in the Batten Conservation Complex and fully renovated our Clean Lab! Through the generosity of numerous partners, we increased the Lab’s footprint by about 33% and dramatically improved the environmental controls, creating a safer and more stable workspace for the artifacts we treat in the Lab.
This project reflects the Community-Focused tenet of our strategy by expanding public access to the important work of caring for our Collections. New, large windows will give guests an open view into the Clean Lab. Everyone from local schoolchildren to international guests can see, up-close, our conservators treating objects and conducting research, and screens will display live camera feeds from the conservators’ instruments. For 2021, our Museum educators are already envisioning new K-12 Educational Enrichment Programs centered around the science in our new Clean Lab and our Museum conservators are already building artifact treatment plans.
Similarly, this year, while schoolchildren attended class virtually with no field trips, we invested in the renovation of our two interactive video conferencing studios! Our Education team, responding to the needs of our local community, pivoted rapidly this summer, developing a dozen virtual programs – revamping existing programs and creating new ones – to better expose our young mariners to our world-class Collections from inside these state-of-the-art studios. The members of our Education team were ready to go by the fall and have already served hundreds of kids not only from the local community, but from Ohio, New York, Indiana, and all across the country. For 2021 and beyond, we now have both the means to continue serving kids while they are learning from home, and also the capacity to reach kids nationally and globally like never before.
Our virtual engagement with schoolchildren is only one aspect of what we now call our “Virtual Museum.” We transformed our storytelling capabilities to make The Mariners’ Museum Collections and the amazing stories within them accessible to you anytime, anywhere. Your investment in our beloved Museum over the past several years had already improved digital access to our Collections, allowing us to pivot rapidly.
Our team got busy in March, creating new content to distribute across our website, social media, our blog site, YouTube, and Zoom. That work continues.
While our virtual programs allow us to serve children and adults anywhere in the world, we still love serving people right here in the beautiful Mariners’ Park. To provide an even better experience for our community, this fall we established the first Park Department in our 90-year history! This new Department finally creates the proper vehicle to marshall the necessary resources to support a more robust stewardship program than our Park has ever seen. Our goal is to set a national standard for the care of our forest, the Mariners’ Lake, and the wildlife that call both home. Our Park has already received national recognition from the Trip Advisor brand FlipKey on its list of the top 50 garden and conservation spots to visit in the country. We believe we can become a nationally significant destination while preserving the peaceful intimacy of walking on the Noland Trail, enjoying a family picnic overlooking the James River from the Lions Bridge, or creating a memory with a family photo under the live oak next to Anna Hyatt Huntington’s lions.
As we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we return to Archer Huntington’s words at the start of this letter. The “new Museum principle” that we are doing our very best to prove is that when service and stewardship guide our hearts and our heads, momentum builds and sustainability follows. To that end, I am excited to share that this will be the first annual appeal in recent memory that we will use not to plug holes in our current year’s budget, but to fuel our 2021 work. As we lean forward, we can’t thank YOU enough for YOUR support that has allowed us to reach this important and promising tipping point. With our gratitude comes an invitation to invest again this year. Whether your philanthropic contribution is a membership, volunteer time, or a gift of any size, you make everything we do possible. THANK YOU!
With sincere appreciation,
Howard H. Hoege III
President & CEO