After an active summer season, and a return of visitors to the Jersey shore, we welcome the upcoming holiday season with expectations of an even better year ahead.Repairs necessitated by the wrath of Superstorm Sandy more than two years ago have been completed and we can now concentrate on expanding our rotating exhibits, digitization of our voluminous (and growing) shipwreck archives, and a host of other projects.
Sherri Paris' New Logic Marine Science Camp was a huge success this summer, and children of all ages participated in this award-winning educational program;next year's schedule of camps is as follows:K-8 Children:July 13-17;July 27-31;Aug. 2-7;Aug. 10-14Teen Camp:July 20-24. The New Logic Marine Science Camp has won "Best Camp" 3 years in a row.Their marine science program at the NJMM is a "hands on, feet wet" marine and environmental education- based learning experience.Camp activities include:marine ecology education, water quality sampling and testing, seining, sieving, plant and animal identification, kayaking and environmental awareness. Additional information and registration applications can be found at www.marinesciencecamp.com
Our 6th annual fundraiser was held on Sept. 13th, and – as was bound to happen sooner or later – we got a day of non-stop wind and rain.Since we had a pretty good idea what was coming weather-wise, we spent two days pleading with Ocean Tents for additional gutters and side curtains.They came through for us, and we added as many pop-up tents as we could.Elaine Stevens and the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club purchased a vinyl carport and graciously loaned it to us for the event.We even had a few RV’s along the Dock Road perimeter, thanks to trustee Leslie Houston’s quick thinking and the willingness of the Tromm’s to add their own to her ingenious – and highly efficient – vehicular wind block!Having done as much as we could to maximize our tented area, we were still concerned that the inclement weather would keep people from attending.As it turned out, our fears were unfounded and we had a marvelous attendance of almost 400 people.It was an eye opener for us, and we've already made plans to improve things for next year’s event.Ocean Tents will be bringing in their largest tents to cover the entire lot, including the driveway.This should insure a much drier venue and allow for additional seating as this event continues to grow.
We would like to give thanks to the many volunteers who worked so tirelessly to make this year’s event such a success;for fear of omitting anyone, I won’t name individuals;you all know who you are and I sincerely hope you know how much your efforts were appreciated.Special thanks to the American Red Cross for attending and handing out their very useful information – in spite of the conditionsunder which they were forced to work!Kudos to Okie’s Butcher Shop, The Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club, Buckalew’s Restaurant and Bar, The Boathouse Restaurant, Barry’s Do Me A Flavor, Crust and Crumb Bakery, Rita’s Italian Ice, and Country Kettle Fudge for their donation and preparation of a wide assortment of delectable foods.Gallo Wines and Reunite Wines are heartily thanked for their generous donations, as well.Buy Rite Liquor Store and Rommel’s continue to support us in donations as well as in discounted products. We ask that you show your appreciation by patronizing - year round - those businesses whose contributions make this such a successful event.
In addition to the wonderful food and beverages provided by our local business community, we are grateful for the non-stop entertainment provided by DJ Troy Sarro and Roger and Al Jinks;in spite of the soggy weather, they kept everyone dancing!
What more can we say about our business community and the individuals that donate to our auctions?They are wonderful! This event is known to have perhaps the best Chinese and Silent Auctions to be found on planet Earth, but this year was different. We always try to put 50 items in our Chinese Auction and around ten prizes in our Silent Auction. This year the donations were so far over the top that it was impossible to do anything but increase the number of prizes. A very heartfelt thanks goes out to all who donated.
Last but not least, we would like to offer a HUGE thank you to all of the hearty souls who braved the weather to attend this year's fundraiser. I guess this is what is meant by “Jersey Strong”!
Next year's fundraiser will be held on September 12th, and will be themed “A Celebration of Beach Haven's 125thAnniversary”. With your participation, it will be the biggest and best yet!
Save the date!
2015 ANNUAL FUNDRAISER
A Celebration of Beach Haven's 125th Anniversary
Saturday, September 12th, 2015
5 pm to 11 pm
Indoor-Outdoor Tented Affair - Casual Attire
Fabulous Pig Roast & Salads from Okie's Butcher Shop
Seafood - Pasta - Vegetarian Dishes - Desserts
Delectable Foods Donated by Local Food Establishments
Full Service Cash Bar
Chinese Auction - 50/50 Raffle - Silent Auction
Live Entertainment by Al & Roger Jinks along with DJ Troy Sarro!
Classic 60s, country & blues music!
Prizes awarded for best-dressed "theme" male, female & couple!
We are very pleased to announce that we now have the second monument of the Fisherman's Story Memorial here at the Museum. After a bit of wrangling, we managed to get it installed in time for the Sept. 13th Fundraiser. We had the dedication during the fundraiser and members of the Mears and Svelling families there to help us. It was a special event, and we are very proud to be the repository of this tribute to those lost at sea while pursuing the life of a commercial fisherman. The monument sits in front of the museum's entrance and depicts a pound fishing scene with six men working the nets. The six men represent three generations each of the Mears and Svelling families, and the monument shows that commercial fishing is a lifestyle that is passed down from generation to generation. When you visit the museum, please take a moment or two to view this wonderful, and moving memorial.
Dave and Eileen finished (as if it will ever be finished) phase one of our ship wreck database. We are now in the process of working on phase two, which (hopefully) will take less than the three years that phase one took. Phase two will consist of scanning all of the written notes, documented accounts and photographs in our archives, and adding them to phase one which is already on line. Thanks to the wonderful group of college interns that we had this past summer, the project is well under way.We now have Rita and Susanne continuing what they started and anticipate a completion of this enormous task by late 2015.
In mentioning our college interns, we'd like to thank Beach Haven Councilwoman, Dr. Nancy Davis for providing us with an astonishing number of college interns this past summer. We had so many contact us that we passed some of them along to other local non-profit groups. Not only were they plentiful, but we were blessed with a group that was outstandingly bright and diligent. Katherine, Kelsey, Sarah, and Stephanie worked like demons and managed to organize our lending and rare book libraries and our video collection. They also categorized most of our thousands of scanned images on the computer. On top of that they also provided a very good start to scanning our shipwreck database. I hate to wish anything bad on them, but would not mind if they could see fit to fail a few courses so that we might have them back for a couple of more years. Sabrina was back to run our Friday Childrens' program, and I don't know how I could possibly get along without her. She, along with her assistants, Nick, Dani, Alyssa, Leigh, and Rachel have it down to a science. Imagine up to 50 of the little ones in attendance (just thinking of it makes me cringe) but they are ever so patient with the children. And then there's Sammy, who has ended up being like my very own personal assistant.She does it all, whether it be scanning, cataloging, delivering fliers for our fundraiser, etc. She's also a wizard with power tools and helped me build the magic lantern slide display case.
Add to this mix our regular volunteers and docents:Eileen, Gini, Judy, Rita, Susanne, Dave, John, and Michael, and you get an idea how incredibly lucky we are to have such a fine and devoted volunteer staff.
Robert J. Walker
We've fallen behind schedule on our Robert J. Walker exhibit, but that really should not come as a big surprise when dealing with a government agency. However, we do have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that money for the display has been approved. The bad news is that not as much money as we had hoped for was approved. That being said, the exhibit is moving forward. I've met with the planners and the exhibit will comprise the center and one wall of what is now the Andrea Doria room. The plans have been finalized and we are assured that it will be completed by the end of April. We're all very excited about this display and can't wait to share it with our visitors!
Unidentified Brick Shipwreck
Along the New Jersey coast, old shipwrecks are usually discovered by a fisherman whose nets catch a snag on the ocean bottom.The most recent “new” shipwreck, however, was unearthed by a construction crew in Brick. The wreck was discovered 100 yards inland from the shore line and 25 feet down in the sand while building a 3.5 mile retaining wall.Needless to say, the big question is...what ship is it?The NJ Maritime Museum was contacted by media reporters seeking our thoughts on which ship it might be.With no more specific information than the location, the ship could be any of 90 ships that were stranded in the area known as Squan Beach in the mid 19th century.
The museum’s research volunteers, headed by trustee Dave Swope and his wife Eileen, are in contact with the Historic Preservation Office of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection which is leading the project to identify the ship.A professional archeologist and a historian have been hired to perform the investigation. Both have contacted the museum staff and intend to use the museum resources in their investigation.While they are still digging up wreckage, we arelooking at our shipwreck files to identify each of those 90 ships and narrow the possible candidates to a few. Both projects are in progress while this newsletter is being distributed.More will follow when the identification is complete.Keep watching the museum’s website and our Facebook page for updates.
Professional archeologists have come to the museum for assistance in the past.Our resources were used by the archeologist looking for possible wreckage in the path of dredging and reconstruction projects in Absecon and Barnegat Light Inlets. We are pleased that the museum has a growing reputation as a research facility for both the armchair and professional maritime historian.
The Asbury Park Press, in its Reader's Choice Awards, named the NJMM as the "Best of the Best" in Ocean County under the category of "Indoor Amusements";in the most recent edition of NJ Monthly Magazine, NJMM was chosen 2nd runner up as New Jersey's favorite museums, right behind the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the winner, Montclair Art Museum. We are honored to have been named and thank all who nominated us for such prestigious awards!
Congratulations to Gretchen & Deb for having their book, Inferno at Sea, which is now in it's second printing, selected to be a part of the 2015 Havana International Book Fair in February of 2015. As this newsletter goes to print they are planning their return to Cuba for this event.They are also currently working to complete a photographic book on Tucker's Island, scheduled for release by Arcadia Publishing in May of 2015.The proceeds of the sales of both books help fund the museum's operating expenses.
As we enter the winter of our eighth season, the work continues. Our monthly presentations have gotten so popular that we can't even post them anymore;the next one is fully booked by the end of the night of the current program. We are tackling our "to do" cart, but all we ever manage is to put as much of a dent into the accumulated articles as is humanly possible. The next thing you know, it will be spring and we'll be rearranging and rotating out displays so that we can show a new look for next season.
In closing, I'd just like to let you all know that membership renewal post cards will be going out, and that your membership is very important in order for us to continue to our work.We sincerely appreciate your support and fellowship throughout the year and look forward to seeing everyone soon.
Wishing you all a very joyous holiday season and a healthy and prosperous new year!
NJ Maritime Museum
NEW JERSEY MARITIME MUSEUM - SPRING NEWSLETTER
After a long, cold winter, it's a relief to see that Spring has finally arrived!In spite of the record-breaking snow and dismal weather conditions, our volunteers and trustees have worked hard to prepare for the upcoming season.
18 months following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, repairs have finally been completed and we are putting the finishing touches on our newly installed 50-KW generator;8 huge propane tanks (backup to our natural gas in the event service is lost) have been installed at the east-end of the property and final connections and test runs are scheduled to be completed by month's end.
We are proud to have been the recipient of a magnificent collection of vintage shipwright tools, donated by Mrs. Jean Allen, of North Dover, Delaware.These tools were used by her late husband's father, Cyrus Allen, in the 1890s at his shipbuilding yard on the Delaware River.Once inventoried and appraised, a permanent exhibit of this collection will be created to pay tribute to this long lost art of master shipbuilders.
On July 3rd of this year, the NJ Maritime Museum will begin its 8th year of operation.We have accomplished a great deal in this short period of time, but have much to do.Just last month, we were recognized (for the 4th time, I might add) by New Jersey Monthly as a 2014 Jersey Choice Winner in the Museum category. This comes on the heels of an Asbury Park Press award for the "Best Place to Volunteer" category of its Reader's Choice Contest.Needless to say, we are humbled and determined to maintain - and exceed - the standards necessary to earn such accolades in the years to come.
Our monthly Friday night presentations have been well attended and we have been honored to host such well known speakers as Dean Fessler, Dive Expedition Leader and Educational Director of the Shark Research Institute;Senior Curator and Diver Bart Malone, who provided a power point slideshow of photos taken by the renowned underwater photographer, Mike deCamp;Museum Trustee and Beach Haven's Historic Preservation Commission President, Jeanette Lloyd, on the history of Tucker's Island;and several others whose fields of expertise covered a wide variety of maritime interests.
Once again, the NJ Maritime Museum will be hosting Sherri Paris' Marine Science Camp, voted "Best Camp in Ocean County" and "Top Pick at the Jersey Shore", offering an expanded schedule of dates.This year's 5-day camps, taught by marine biologists/environmentalists, will be held as follows:
Teen Program:July 21-25, Mon. thru Fri., 9am - 2pm $325/camper/week
Among the activities planned are:kayaking;seining;plant and animal identification; water quality sampling and testing;and dissections.Interested applicants can register at www.marinesciencecamp.com or by e-mailing Sherri at firstname.lastname@example.org
At our annual meeting held January 23rd, 3 new members were elected to the Board of Trustees:David Swope;Susanne Gilbert;and Thomas Packer.Dave has been a volunteer with the museum for several years. He and his wife, Eileen, recently finished transcribing over 5,000 shipwreck files in the museum archives into a data base that is accessible on the internet through the museum’s web site. Dave assists museum patrons and maritime historians in their research of specific wrecks;some of which have involved members of their family or a family owned ship. Dave was a scuba diver for 30 years, having logged over 1,200 dives off the New Jersey coast.His day job is that of a real estate agent for one of LBI’s brokerage firms. Susanne, a resident of Surf City, has lived on the island 50 years and was employed as a teacher for the Long Beach Island School District for 40 years. She was a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity for 8 years, serving on their Board of Directors for 6 years. Currently, she serves on the Surf City's Taxpayers Board and on the Mission Committee at her church. Tom, a resident of Berlin, NJ, is a sheet metal worker, by trade, but has pursued his passion for exploring some of the most challenging shipwrecks off the eastern seaboard for almost 35 years. Notable among the hundreds of wreck sites he has explored include the Andrea Doria, SS Monitor, the Billy Mitchell wrecks, Texas Tower, U-550, and U-869.
Our Executive Director, Jim Vogel, is pleased to work with such an enthusiastic, diverse board whose members' life experience and backgrounds cover many fields.The diving community has made significant contributions to the museum's exhibits;the input of divers Tom and Dave is vital to future procurement of artifacts provided by those willing to share their finds with the non-diving community.Susanne, along with the assistance of volunteer John Schultz, has brought organization to over 400 theme-specific research binders as well as over 190 DVDs covering a myriad of topics related to New Jersey maritime history.Upon completion of an up-to-date inventory of the museum's research materials, a detailed list of our extensive collection of rare books and documents available for in-house research, maritime-themed notebooks, and DVDs will be added to the museum's website.
Now that the big dive expositions of the year are over, Senior Curator Bart Malone is in the process of changing out our revolving shipwreck displays on the second floor. What he is planning on replacing the Oregon and the China Wreck displays with is still a mystery to all of us. Knowing Bart as we do, we're confident he'll have an eclectic assortment of maritime relics to impress his fellow divers as well as members of the non-diving community. We are especially grateful to both Bart and our resident computer geek, Christopher Drew, for representing us at the Beneath the Sea Conference in Secaucus this year.In addition to manning the museum's booth, Christopher and Bart attended and participated in several events during this 3-day conference, promoting the museum's mission of education and preservation of New Jersey's rich maritime history.
Deb has removed our 1962 Storm display in the main room, and along with a few retired WWII era merchant mariners is in the process of making an exhibit that will honor our Merchant Marine Service. She has also been in contact with Dr. James Delgado of NOAA regarding its planned exhibit on the wreck of the Robert J. Walker. We had hoped to have that up and running by this summer, but NOAA has undertaken an intense mapping program of the site, utilizing the skills of the New Jersey wreck diving community and students from Stockton College, so we don't expect this exhibit to be completed until this fall.Updates on this exciting discovery and recent identification can be found on our museum website at www.NJMaritimeMuseum.org and on our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/NJMaritimeMuseum
The Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association will again be holding its Junior Mate Training Program at the NJ Maritime Museum every Thursday, beginning June 26th through August 14th;information and registration can be found on their website at www.bhcfa.net.We have sponsored this program for several years and highly recommend this to any young man or woman with an interest in fishing and boating.
Dr. Nancy Davis, our local Councilwoman and a Professor at Richard Stockton College, has put us in contact with a number of students willing to volunteer as interns for us this coming summer. We are very grateful to all of them and excited about taking advantage of their various skills. Some of the projects that we have in mind include scanning, cataloging, and digitizing countless tens of thousands of photographs, postcards, and historic documents;reorganizing our lending library; cataloging the records and annual reports of the U.S. Life Saving Service;and scanning our voluminous collection of shipwreck files so that they may be added to Dave's online database.Due to the enthusiastic response of these students, and the surprising number of willing participants, we will be sharing their talents and time with other non-profit organizations with whom we have forged working relationships.
We've heard from both Rick Bushnell from ReClam the Bay, and Kyle Gronostajskifrom Alliance for a Living Ocean, and both have indicated that they will continue to participate in our Friday morning children's program again this summer. Sabrina Barlow will certainly have her crack team of volunteers ready with fun and educational activities, so our tradition of ReClam the Bay lectures, ALO puppet shows, and NJ Maritime Museum activities will continue to fascinate children on Friday mornings throughout the summer. These programs will take place 10 am to noon July 4, 2014 through August 29, 2014. Reservations are not required and we welcome children of all ages.
Are you a member of the NJ Maritime Museum?Members enjoy special members-only benefits, including preferred admission to our presentations and special events;unlimited free access to the museum's internet cafe, lending library, and copy/fax/notary services;a 10% discount on gift shop merchandise, a 20% discount on rental of the museum facility for private affairs; and receipt of our quarterly newsletter.Annual memberships, which begin at $25, run one full year from the date of enrollment. The NJ Maritime Museum needs your financial support if we are to continue to build educational exhibits, expand public access to our research files, and host monthly presentations.These, and other services we provide, serve to inform and inspire Americans of all ages about the importance of preserving New Jersey's rich maritime history.
Last but not least, please plan on joining us on Saturday, Sept. 13th, from 5 pm to 11 pm for our annual fundraiser. This is a casual, indoor-outdoor tented event.This year's theme will be "A Tribute to the Commercial Fishing Industry". In addition to our normal great food, fabulous auctions, and fun filled evening, this year we will be unveiling the long awaited statue honoring those who have lost their lives while engaged in one or the world's most dangerous professions, commercial fishing. This memorial was made possible in conjunction with "The Fisherman's Story" Committee, with whom we have worked to provide funding for this statue and the one erected in Barnegat Light.Last year, over 400 people came out to support us;we hope you'll mark your calendar to attend!
NJ MARITIME MUSEUM
2013 HOLIDAY NEWSLETTER
What a year this has been! Clean-up continues long after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the eastern seaboard; not only on Long Beach Island, but along the entire New Jersey and New York coast. It still continues, leaving countless families displaced and businesses struggling to recover.
When we finally caught up to the repairs needed in the months following Sandy, your museum had an accidental water leak (on August 9th, the height of the summer season!) when contractors, installing hurricane/storm shutters, inadvertently drilled into one of the sprinkler system pipes. Everything is now fixed and better than new.
Speaking of hurricane/storm shutters, the entire museum facility is now fully protected in preparation for future severe weather events; we have a large commercial refrigerator and freezer - elevated with their motors and wiring well above flood level - and are nearing completion of the installation of our 50 kilowatt generator (powered by natural gas with a propane backup system). Once completed, we will not only be as storm-proof as we can possibly be, but also eligible to apply to the County of Ocean and American Red Cross to be designated as an emergency shelter for first responders; something that is much needed on our vulnerable island. This is just another way in which we hope to serve our community in its time of need.
Somehow, the above did not put a dent in the museum’s pace. Once again, the museum set a record for visitation. More families are visiting, and our popular Friday Morning Children's Program – incorporating ALO and ReClam the Bay volunteers – attracts crowds each week. Special thanks go to our teenage wonder, Sabrina, her pals, and Jim Vogel, who have led this endeavor for four years now. This is the place for youngsters, along with their parents and grandparents, to enjoy an educational experience of interest to people of all ages.
New exhibits drew rave reviews. Perhaps the best was for Sinbad the Coast Guard Dog display. Re-printed below is an article, written by our in-house journalist, Gretchen Coyle, about this wily pup from Echoes of LBI magazine, thanks to publisher Cheryl Kirby.
SINBAD’S RETIREMENT IN BARNEGAT LIGHT
Location, location, location pontificate the realtors. What could have been better for a World War II veteran than retiring in Barnegat Light - ocean and bay in full view, surrounded by congenial people, room and board provided, plus free drinks at Kubel’s?
Such was the luck for Sinbad, a crew member of the Coast Guard Cutter Campbell for eleven years. According to Mike Walling, who wrote a new introduction to George F. Foley’s 1945 book Sinbad of the Coast Guard
“Retired from the Coast Guard on September 21, 1948,
Sinbad lived at Barnegat Coast Guard Station in New Jersey
until his death on December 30, 1951. He was honored with
a full military funeral and was placed to rest at the foot of the
flag pole, his grave marked by a bronze plaque.”
Ah, did we mention that Sinbad was a four-legged mixed breed mutt destined for stardom?
Sinbad’s story began in 1938 when he was found on the streets of New York. The appealing puppy was smuggled aboard the 327’ Campbell by two crew members. Sinbad’s exploits, travels, and escapades soon made him famous. “An old sea dog has favorite bars and plenty of girls in every port,” reported Life Magazine. He had an autobiography, was paw-printed, and interviewed by ABC news.
Sinbad soon became a popular crew member, attaining status as more than a mascot, with “his own service number, medical history, bunk, uniforms, and battle station” wrote Walling. When the Campbell was torpedoed by the German Submarine U-606, most personnel were transferred to a destroyer. However, Sinbad was ordered to stay aboard. Whether by luck or cunning, Sinbad “led” the ship (under tow) to safety.
Creating his own international incidents was not unusual for Sinbad. Blithely wandering places like Casablanca and Greenland, this feisty four-legged Coast Guard member was occasionally in trouble. According to the U.S. Coast Guard History:
“Sinbad is a salty sailor, but he’s not a good sailor. On a few
occasions, he has embarrassed the U.S. Government … he’s as
bad as the worst and as good as the rest of us.”
“He wore his extensive collection of service ribbons and awards
on his collar. Sinbad earned each of the five ribbons he wore …
American Service, European Theatre, and Pacific Theatre.”
For three years Sinbad wandered the small village of Barnegat Light, stopping regularly at Kubel’s for a cold one, two front paws resting on the old wooden bar. Rumor has it that Sinbad favored a shot of whiskey with a beer chaser. He didn’t need an escort; he just scratched at the front door until someone let him inside. Cold winter evenings were spent lying in front of Kubel’s fireplace.
Bob Melchiori was stationed at the Barnegat Lifeboat Station from 1954-1958, and is familiar with Sinbad stories, his popularity, and notoriety. “He had his own little sea bag with his uniform, collar, and money pouch where he carried his money, contributed by crew members, so he could buy his drinks in various bars he visited.”
Upon visiting the station about nine years ago, Bob asked about the sea bag. “The commanding officer told me that he had a copy of the inventory of several boxes of historical value, but Sinbad’s sea bag was not listed.”
Occasionally the outlandish pup kept watch from the Coast Guard tower, an official hat on his head, and those same front paws draped over the metal railing. Matt Walter, who was stationed at Barnegat Light, wrote that “most of his duty was apparently performed at Kubel’s.”
Sinbad died on December 30th, 1951. Buried under the base of the flagpole, his headstone read “Sinbad Chief Dog U.S. C.G.C. Campbell w 32, 1937 – 1951.” Mike Walling wrote, “He was honored with a full military funeral. I’m looking forward to drinking with Sinbad when I pass.”
Matt Walter added:
“My second tour of duty in the U.S. Coast Guard was at
Station Barnegat Light. Every 30th of December, we would
gather at the flagpole at the old station (now the Boro offices,
East 7th Street) and Salute Sinbad with a few toasts, Semper
Old timers remember a lot of Sinbad look-alikes in the Barnegat Light area during the 1950’s, which goes to show that retirement for a four-legged Coastie after World War II sure had its perks.
The number of volunteers grows each year, each one with a different set of credentials and/or interest. As visitors and the public ask your museum questions, a group of volunteers go into heightened research mode. What a service and satisfaction these volunteers provide! Last summer, Samantha Ginsberg, a Fordham student, was one of our most resourceful interns. Her interest in maritime history, not to mention her technical capabilities, was invaluable.
During the summer, Sherri Paris' Marine Science Camp was based at the museum, drawing the interests of many children, ranging in age from K-8th grades and high school teens. Groups of all ages continue to tour, the young ones having conquered a scavenger hunt and leaving with gift certificates for ice cream at Barry’s Do Me a Flavor. To date, there are over 40 different non-profit organizations and service groups who utilize the museum facilities for their meetings and programs.
Continuing our role of PR, the New Jersey Maritime Museum is seen periodically on NJN, Travel Channel, Mysteries at the Museum, and Emil Salvini’s Tales of the Jersey Shore, plus several newspapers and magazines. Our weekly column, written by maritime historian, author and journalist Gretchen Coyle, has continued in the Beach Haven Times after 2 ½ years. If you haven’t read it, renew your subscription. The column covers all facets of New Jersey’s rich maritime history.
Over 400 people attended the Annual Museum Benefit on Saturday, September 14th. In anticipation of a huge crowd, more tents were added, a raw bar was expanded, and extra food was served (everything from scallops to Okie’s pulled pork and pig roast, veggie dishes, Rita’s ice and desserts from Crust & Crumb Bakery - all extremely good, we might add). In spite of Superstorm Sandy damage, the business community came out in force to support the museum in the form of gift certificates and merchandise for our Chinese and Silent Auctions. So many happy faces left with baskets filled with goodies. Thanks to all our volunteers who helped make this such a special night, yet managed to eat, drink, and be merry themselves!
Mark your calendar for next September 13th, 2014 when the Annual Benefit will honor the commercial fishing industry! In preparation for the big event, we will have completed the installation of Brian Hanlon's 2nd memorial statue - a tribute to those who pursue the world's most dangerous occupation. The 1st of these, the Fishermen’s Story Memorial, was created in memory and in the likeness of Captain Jimmy Mears, whose life was lost when his vessel, the Mandy Ness, was lost on January 11th, 2012 off Barnegat Light. This magnificent memorial can be seen in Barnegat Light, across the street from the entrance to Barnegat Light State Park.
Have you seen the Internet Café? Thanks to volunteer Christopher Drew, a proud member of our U.S. Air Force, it is more comfortable and user friendly than ever before, with cushioned sofas and laptop tables. This free wi-fi service is appreciated by homeowners and visitors alike.
The internet café isn’t the only part of the museum that’s been upgraded; thanks to the efforts of volunteer Suzanne Gilbert, our gift shop merchandise now includes an assortment of sea critters and gifts for kids. We also feature the entire collection of books published by Down the Shore Publishing Company. With book stores almost a thing of the past, we offer some of the best books ever written about our state’s history. Scott Mazzella’s new book, Surviving Sandy,is among those available at the museum. Inferno at Sea continues to be as popular and has almost sold out its 1st printing! A 2nd edition is in the works and promises to include even more personal accounts of those whose lives were impacted by this maritime tragedy. Think of the NJ Maritime Museum Gift Shop when you do your Christmas shopping!
A good Christmas gift is a membership to the NJ Maritime Museum. Your gift will not only be appreciated by the recipients, but serve so many who are captivated by our state's rich maritime history. Don’t forget, your gifts are tax exempt. If your membership has expired, be sure to re-new it. For specifics, e-mail email@example.com or call 609-492-0202.
Annual memberships are: $25 Student/senior member; $50 Surfman; $100 Surfman Family; $250 Keeper; and $500 Superintendent. As a member, you will enjoy special members-only benefits, including preferred admission to special events and programs, unlimited access to the museum's internet cafe, lending library and shipwreck database, and a 10% discount on all gift shop merchandise. Please remember that all non-profits need help, especially after the devastation from Superstorm Sandy. We’re counting on your generosity this Holiday Season!
How about a gift of membership to someone who has restored their home? All Lifetime Memberships will receive a copy of either Inferno at Sea or Surviving Sandy. Categories of Lifetime Memberships are: $1,000 Individual; $2,500 Family; $5,000 Corporate Sponsor; $10,000 individual Benefactor; and $25,000 Corporate Benefactor.
On an exciting and somewhat controversial note, we are thrilled about being contacted by Dr. James Delgado from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about being selected to house an exhibit on the Robert J. Walker, an historically significant shipwreck off Atlantic City that was recently identified by a collaborative effort of New Jersey wreck divers, as well as government and university maritime archeologists. The Walker, a steamer that served in the U.S. Coast Survey, a predecessor agency of NOAA, served a vital role as a survey ship, charting the Gulf Coast, in the decade before the Civil War. Built in 1847, she was one of the U.S. government's first iron-hulled steamers, and was intended for the U.S. Revenue Service, the predecessor of the U.S. Coast Guard. 20 sailors died when the Walker sank in rough seas in the early morning hours of June 21, 1860, 10 miles off Absecon Inlet. The crew had finished its latest surveys in the Gulf of Mexico and was sailing to New York when struck by a commercial schooner. The side-wheel steamer, carrying 66 crewmembers, sank within 30 minutes. The sinking was the largest single loss of life in the history of the Coast Survey and its successor agency, NOAA.
The controversial side of this announcement is that for many years, NOAA and our divers have had a "less than happy" relationship. The case in point being that since the Robert J. Walker has been classified as historically significant, divers will no longer be allowed to recover artifacts from that wreck site. However, under the leadership of the much-respected Dr. Delgado, NOAA is now trying to reach out to the diving community and establish a mutually agreeable working relationship. If this can be accomplished, we think it will prove beneficial to both groups, and we will continue to our efforts to try and facilitate such an agreement.
The NOAA has brought in their team of professionals to design and construct this exhibit at its own expense. We expect this to be completed this winter and will schedule a grand opening of the Robert J. Walker exhibit shortly thereafter. Museum members will be invited to a “sneak preview” of this exhibit prior to its opening to the public.
Dive couple Dave Swope and Eileen Sappah have completed the digital shipwreck database – a mammoth three year project – which is now available on the internet through the museum’s website. How can the museum and those interested in shipwreck history worldwide ever thank them for such an awesome feat? Their report is as follows:
“Over her lifetime, Deb Whitcraft has been collecting information
about the maritime tragedies that occurred in the waters along the
Jersey Coast. Books, magazines, newspaper articles, photos, artifacts,
and interviews. When she opened the NJ Maritime Museum, all that
she had collected could now be displayed and enjoyed by the public.
Deb and her volunteers organized and filed all the information about
shipping travails in our waters.
“Eighteen file cabinets line the hallway with over 5,000 folders each
describing the misfortune of a ship in as much detail as could be gather-
ed. Now the availability of those files has entered the electronic age.
Important pieces of information in each file have been transcribed
into a computerized database.
“For more information and access to the data base, go to
www.NJMaritimeMuseum.org Click on Shipwreck Database tab
and follow instructions. Feedback and additional information
Although this enormous project is up and running, it is in no way finished, nor will it ever be. Project Manager Dave continues to collect and add more information as it becomes available, and addresses requests for information as they come in. We'd like to encourage you - our visitors, members, maritime historians, and - particularly - our divers, to contact Dave with any new information or finds that you might come upon, so that he may add it to our ever growing database. In this manner, the NJ Maritime Museum will continue to be THE place for researchers, students and others to turn to when seeking to expand their knowledge of New Jersey maritime disasters. Dave can be reached directly at Dave@NJMaritimeMuseum.org and he looks forward to hearing from you.
As a museum and research facility, we have earned respect and credibility as the best maritime museum in the state. We just recently received another honor as “Best Museum in Ocean County.” We use your donations and membership fees mainly for new displays and programs. The facility has begun its seventh year of operation thanks to the efforts of those with a passion to preserve our state’s maritime history.
Now we are reaching out to our members and friends: what would you like to see at the museum? Your thoughts and suggestions are important to us. We strive to create displays that best suit the interests of our visitors and our collection of research notebooks has continued to grow to over 300 volumes.
We are open all winter: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10am – 4pm, other times by giving us a call 609-492-0202. There’s nothing better than a visit to your favorite museum, a walk on the beach, and a warm meal on the island. Programs will continue all winter. Check our website at www.NJMaritimeMuseum.org, call 609-492-0202, and check local papers for our calendar of events. We also invite you to “like” us on Facebook!
As 2013 comes to a close, and 2014 begins, we want to wish you and your family Happy Holidays and best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year. We look forward to seeing you soon!
OFFICERS &TRUSTEES OF THE NJ MARITIME MUSEUM James Vogel, President of the Board
What a relief to see the end of 2012! We’ve all suffered, to some extent, from the impact of Super Storm Sandy, but restoration continues as we all focus our efforts on the upcoming season. We look forward to an exciting year of special events, new exhibits and educational programs to suit the interests of all our visitors.
Fred Barthes, of Northeast Diving Equipment Group, is working to complete a new exhibit, The Evolution of Diving, to showcase the history of this sport as well as the men and women who pursue this adventurous pastime. As one of our most popular guest speakers, Fred captivated attendees at his presentation last year, detailing a fascinating history of centuries of diving, from the days of Leonardo da Vinci to the present. Fred Barthes is well known in the tri-state diving community with over 35 years diving experience in both scuba and surface supplied air systems. He is co-founder of The Northeast Diving Equipment Group (an organization dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and education of the public about vintage and classic dive gear), as well as a member of The Historical Dive Society and The Atlantic Dive Club . When he is not enjoying his favorite pastime, he can be found giving lectures and demonstrations in diving to local museums, dive clubs, and civic organizations.
Many of you recall the tragic loss of commercial fisherman Jimmy Mears, owner and captain of the Mandy Ness, lost January 11, 2012 off Barnegat Light. In memory of Captain Mears, and others whose lives were lost pursuing the world’s most dangerous avocation, funds have been raised for The Fishermen’s Story monument, to be placed at the state park in Barnegat Light. This monument, created in the life size image of Captain Mears, will be situated directly opposite the entrance to BarnegatLightState Park and will serve as a beacon to countless commercial fishing vessels as they make their way out to sea. A second monument will be placed at the entrance to the NJ Maritime Museum. Thanks to the generosity and compassion of many individuals and businesses – both local and from afar – The Fishermen’s Story will pay tribute to the toils of these brave fishermen for many generations to come.
Senior Curator and diver, Bart Malone, and diver Steve Gatto are working together to publish a reference book detailing the diversity of china and pottery recovered from shipwrecks. They are asking for the assistance of divers whose recoveries can be included by the submission of high-resolution photographs detailing the specimens’ styles, logos and makers marks. Anyone interested in participating in this are urged to contact Bart and Steve by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and at email@example.com, respectively.
The Board of Trustees of the NJ Maritime Museum is proud to announce the recent hiring of our Vice-President, Captain Bob Yates, by Chris Fischer, CEO of Ocearch, a non-profit organization “with a global reach for unprecedented research on the ocean’s giants.” According to the organization’s website, www.Ocearch.org
OCEARCH facilitates unprecedented research by supporting leading researchers and institutions seeking to attain groundbreaking data on the biology and health of sharks, in conjunction with basic research on shark life history and migration. The researchers we support work aboard the M/V OCEARCH, a unique 126’ vessel equipped with a custom 75,000 lb. hydraulic lift and research platform, which serves as both mothership and at-sea laboratory.
OCEARCH fieldwork involves the attracting, catching, tagging, and bio-sampling of sharks before they are released. The shark is monitored at all times under expert guidance and maintained on the platform by water over its gills. All fieldwork is done according to agreed and approved protocols based primarily on ethical considerations, and overseen by leading scientists/researchers.
Captain Bob Yates will be taking over the position of Captain Jody Whitworth, who is moving on to command an 85’ Merritt Sport Fish vessel recently completed at Merritt’s shipyard. He will be travelling to Cape Cod in August, followed by work in Brazil, Galapagos Islands, Panama, Australia and New Zealand. We wish him all the best and look forward to showing video footage of his work aboard this incredible research vessel.
We recently had the pleasure of meeting an extremely knowledgeable and dynamic woman, Sherri Paris, who operates a Marine Science Camp, voted “Best Camp in OceanCounty” and “Top Pick at the JerseyShore”. In spite of suffering extensive damage to her home in Lavallette, she refuses to allow this to diminish her enthusiasm for teaching and will be holding two separate science camps at the NJ Maritime Museum. Taught by marine biologists/environmentalists, one will be held July 15th-19th, Monday through Friday, 9am – 2pm for teenagers; the second will be held July 22nd-26th, Monday through Friday, 9am – 2pm for K-8th grade students. Some of the topics covered include: seining; plant and animal identification; water quality sampling and testing; plankton; microscopes; sharks; dissections; and environmental awareness. For further information and registration, visit www.marinesciencecamp.com or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to several new exhibits, our in-house computer guru, diver, and 7-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, stationed at McGuire Air Force Base, Christopher Drew has undertaken a complete makeover of the museum’s Internet Café. Gone are the cumbersome computer towers and carrels that separated the systems; Christopher has installed Google Chromebook Laptops on user-friendly tables that sit in close proximity to comfortable sofas with pillows. The recent donation by Terri and Alex Lains of a beautiful tiled counter top chart table of Barnegat Bay makes a wonderful addition to this room. Our foreign visitors, employed by various local business establishments, will continue to have unlimited access to these computers to communicate with their families and loved ones at home. We have forged a wonderful relationship with these young people and look forward to their return this season!
Divers Dave Swope and his wife, Eileen Sappah, have been working diligently to digitize the museum’s voluminous collection of documentation on thousands of New Jersey shipwrecks; the ultimate goal is to create a user-friendly, searchable database of all recorded losses off the Jersey coast, accessible by anyone – anywhere. Once completed, this database will serve as a digital reference and will be updated regularly as additional information is provided by divers and maritime historians.
Gretchen Coyle and Deb Whitcraft, authors of Inferno at Sea, have scheduled a busy summer of book signings and presentations about the loss of the Morro Castle; their travels will take them from Sandy Hook to Cape May and to parts of Pennsylvania, including the well known and prestigious IndependenceSeaportMuseum in Philadelphia. Their research of this 1934 tragedy continues and they welcome any new information that may be obtained from those with familial ties to passengers and crewmen of this ill-fated vessel. A good friend and supporter of the museum, Marie Melchiori, a certified genealogistand founder of Melchiori Research Services, L.L.C., is working with the authors to obtain additional information from the National Archives previously unavailable to the public. Could such information prompt a sequel to Inferno at Sea?
Continuing our tradition of working with other non-profit organizations, ReClam the Bay will be returning to give their popular presentation, “The secret lives of clams and oysters” at 10 am on Fridays, June through September. ALO’s Puppet Theater will follow, on Fridays, June 22nd through August 31th (with the exception of July 5th) beginning 10:45 am; these interactive seashore-themed puppet shows are designed for ages 6 and younger, but fun for the whole family! The fun continues after the show with shell painting and a scavenger hunt by volunteers of the NJ Maritime Museum.
As a direct result of Super Storm Sandy, the NJ Maritime Museum has sought the financial assistance of the public to raise funds for the installation of a 50 KW generator; thanks to the generosity of so many who recognize the need for this emergency back-up power, our goal is within sight and we have arranged for the installation of this generator by June. Walter Johnson and Bill Seamon, of Johnson & Towers, have enabled us to purchase the most efficient generator needed at the lowest possible price; Andy Kelly, of Kelly Electrical Contractors (West Deptford) is standing by to provide free installation of this generator. Without their help, this project would not have been possible. In conjunction with this, we are moving forward with our grant application for hurricane shutters, utilizing the services of Dave Voris and his crew at Giglio Awning. In due time, not unlike the coastal residents who once provided “houses of refuge” to shipwrecked mariners, the NJ Maritime Museum will be in the best position possible to provide emergency shelter to our "neighbors in need" when the next “super storm” pays a visit to LBI!
Among our most recent acquisitions, Wesley and Michael deCamp have donated a lifelong collection of New Jersey shipwreck slides, documentation and historical records. Mike is a well-respected member of the diving community and underwater photographer whose lifelong passion for the preservation of New Jersey maritime history is synonymous with the NJ Maritime Museum’s mission. We are grateful for their consideration and look forward to sharing this incredible collection with all who visit. NOTE: As this newsletter was written, we were informed of Mike’s passing, on April 9th, 2013, by his wife, Wesley. He was 87 years old. Mike will long be remembered as “the father of east coast wreck diving”. In the words of one of his closest friends and fellow divers, Chuck Zimmaro, “this diving legend surely will be remembered and missed by thousands of divers and diving enthusiasts for the many contributions he has given to the scuba diving community and maritime history enthusiasts alike.” Chuck’s entire eulogy on the life of Michael deCamp can be found on our website at www.NJMaritimeMuseum.org
Sadly, we must also acknowledge the passing of one of our long time supporters, Marv Inman, whose family history spans countless generations in OceanCounty. Following the devastation of Super Storm Sandy and the considerable damage to his home in West Creek, Marv suffered an injury while doing repairs from which he was unable to recover. He will be missed by all who knew him, especially by the trio of ladies whose “volunteer Thursdays” were often highlighted by the appearance of Marv. His life as a bayman, duck hunting guide at Sandy Island Gun Club, and Korean War veteran is memorialized in several notebooks included in the museum’s research library. The history of the Inman family, several of whom served as surfmen in the U.S. Life Saving Service, is also included among the voluminous genealogical records provided by Marv
over the years. Marv will be missed, but not soon forgotten by all who were lucky enough to have known him.
On July 3rd of this year, we will begin our 7th year in operation! It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come in such a short time, but we’re proud of our progress! Our membership base is growing and we’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to renew their membership; e-mails and postcards will be sent to remind those whose memberships are nearing expiration. As we prepare for an active summer season, we welcome back our volunteers and invite anyone interested in joining our “crew” to contact us! We have much to do and appreciate the assistance of people of all ages!
Please mark your calendar for this year’s annual fundraiser, scheduled for Saturday, September 14th, from 5 pm to 11 pm. The theme of this year’s fundraiser is For Those In Peril – A Tribute to the U.S. Life Saving Service and U.S. Coast Guard. To show our appreciation for the men and women who serve to protect our shores and our mariners, a number of Coast Guard dignitaries will be invited to attend as our guests. Commander Timothy R. Dring, USNR (Retired), co-author of American Coastal Rescue Craft, will also be in attendance to help us commemorate the bravery of these "storm warriors." Last year’s fundraiser drew over 350 participants and we hope to see everyone at this gala event!
With due respect to our Declaration of Independence, certain truths became self evident after Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy:
People care deeply about the New Jersey Maritime Museum
People care deeply about LBI
People care deeply about the Jersey Shore
Your museum went from being an informative maritime museum and research facility to a place of refuge on October 29th. Deb sat on a cooler outside the “Morro Castle” room, and watched the water come up the east-end back door steps. Luckily it stopped - just inches from the museum's 1st floor - so no artifacts, documents, or photos on either floor were subjected to storm damage. Pictures taken from the curators' quarters on the third floor show a building completely surrounded by water and floating debris. Neighbors piled in with sleeping bags, lukewarm coffee was served, and hugs were given to all without electricity, heat, telephone, internet or water. Special thanks to Father Frank Crumbaugh, of Holy Innocents Church, who stopped by to offer words of encouragement! A local businessman and Island resident has been living in Deb and Jim’s RV outside the museum, trying to handle the monumental cleanup of his own home and stores – not to mention assisting in the cleanup efforts of others similarly impacted by such an unprecedented event.
The above is the good news. What is devastating is the loss of homes, businesses and the unbelievable destruction of Island landmarks. Under the museum, everything in garages, workshops and storage areas was under 4 – 5’ of water and had to be thrown away. Tools, museum supplies, machinery and elevator hydraulics were lost.
Rare LBI documents and a Sanborn Map book, earmarked for donation to the museum by the estate of Julius Robinson, were underwater at his office on Bay Avenue and are being restored in the capable hands of Jim Vogel and Bob Yates. Thanks to the guidance and assistance of several professionals whose expertise in restoring museum items is paramount, this is being done with considerable knowledge and care.
Calls and e-mails have flooded – pun intended – the museum. Two are as follows:
“It has been awhile since Sandy struck your area and today I finally got the courage to visit your website to see if you had been blown away. Thank goodness you survived the storm. The three of you who stayed on the site are to be commended. Thank you for taking such good care of the artifacts in your museum.” Jim Whitaker
“I would like to volunteer my skills, my wood shop, and my colleagues to help your institution recover from Sandy. My name is Douglas Matlaga and I’m a professional preparatory and exhibition fabricator and designer currently based in Philadelphia. I have had over 18 years of working for museums and galleries …
“I know there is only so much one volunteer can do no matter how noble their intentions may be. I am sure many of us in Philadelphia would love to help our fellow museum workers.” Doug Matlaga
Such encouraging e-mails have kept us going and moving forward to help others in need. Finally, electricity, heat, telephone, internet service, and water were restored, so you can visit the museum on our regular winter schedule: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10am – 4pm. If you are in Beach Haven during the week, call us at 609-492-0202; we are most likely around and happy to have you visit anytime. Copy, fax, internet and notary services are available 24/7 by calling Deb on her cell phone at 609-226-3838.
An announcement on the museum website is noteworthy:
“Repairs and cleanup have begun, but there will be no elevator access until further notice. We thank everyone for their calls, e-mails and concerns this past month, and look forward to seeing you again.”
Due to the damage suffered by other local non-profit organizations, the New Jersey Maritime Museum has opened its doors to them to enable their winter programs to continue uninterrupted. Alliance for a Living Ocean (ALO), the LBI Foundation, the Beach Haven Charter Boat Association, and ReClam the Bay are among those whose calendar of off-season activities include special events to be hosted in Beach Haven. Be sure to check their websites for upcoming events and programs. Service organizations, non-profits and community groups are always welcome to utilize the museum facility at no charge and with no limitation to day or hours.
Your Board of Trustees has not met since the storm, an indication of the damage to their homes and property. Treasurer Bob Cunningham, whose Holgate home suffered immeasurable damage, has prepared a positive financial report for the season. Visitation and membership continue to climb, as even more people discover what the New Jersey Maritime Museum has to offer. Our Annual Benefit, which commemorated the 1962 March Storm, drew a record 350 plus attendees and excellent support from local businesses. Next year’s indoor-outdoor tented fundraiser will take place Saturday, September 14th from 5 pm to 11 pm. The theme of this will be “For Those In Peril on the Sea” and will focus on the history of the U.S. Coast Guard (formerly known as the U.S. Life Saving Service) and its role in protecting life and property along the New Jersey coast.
Post Sandy, we are asking everyone to renew their memberships and support the museum in your end-of-the-year tax deductible donations. It will take a long time to catch up. If you or your friends have been pleased with our services as a premier maritime museum and research facility, please help us in our efforts to restore this facility.
As befitting the season, here is our Wish List:
Funding for a museum generator for future storms.
Paper and cleaning supplies – copy paper, toilet paper, paper towels, windex, swiffer refills, etc.
Tools to be used in the creation and maintenance of displays and exhibits, specifically power tools.
Gift cards from Lowe’s, Home Depot, Staples and Michael’s.
“Inferno at Sea” by Gretchen Coyle and Deb Whitcraft, was published in early July, and has become a success. Published by Down the Shore Publishing, this book details the humanitarian aspect of the 1934 “Morro Castle” fire. The photos are from the museum’s unique collection. Check out the Amazon reviews. Three months were spent doing book tours/signing. The book is available for Christmas giving from the museum gift shop, through the museum website www.njmaritimemusem.org, www.down-the-shore.com, and www.Amazon.com.
Groups visiting the museum are special. Kathy Antener’s Pine Barrens tours have been extended to include maritime history, so important to NJ history in general. School, town, and senior groups are always welcome. Great fun are the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club Scrambled Eggs 6 and 7 year olds who know so much local history, and continue to ask numerous questions.
Jim Vogel’s Kiddie Programs, conducted by Sabrina Barlow and her assistants Leigh and Lexi, literally overflow the museum every Friday morning during the summer. It is up for debate as to who has the most fun: Jim, his helpers, the kids, parents, or grandparents.
Our volunteers continue to be special people; each one seems to have his or her specialty and field of expertise. Mary, Rita, and Ginny continue to work on Dave and Eileen’s project of putting all our shipwreck files on computer. Our in-house photographer, volunteer docent and Trustee, Michael Egolf, has compiled hundreds of professional photographs of the damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy to seashore communities throughout the Jersey coast. John and Susanne wow visitors year round with their wonderful personalities and enthusiasm for maritime history. There are many of them, a diverse group that makes us proud and has such depth! It is nice to say that we all learn from each other and enjoy the camaraderie of working together.
The NJ Maritime Museum prides itself on being able to answer many questions. E-mails are forwarded to other organizations and knowledgeable maritime historians such as Tom Farner, Jeanette Lloyd, Tim Dring, and others. Only Duke University researchers have stumped us, with a request for information about a ship built in SW NJ around 1740. This inquiry by a Duke University professor, was the subject of one of our weekly Beach Haven Times columns. This column has run consecutively for 1 ½ years now, illuminating many exciting bits of NJ maritime history. Thanks go to Keith Newman and Linda Reddington of the Asbury Park Press for their help and encouragement.
Please remember that LBI and the Jersey Shore will rebuild. A sign on a billboard in Atlantic City made its way around Facebook and e-mails, summing up our perseverance: “Think again Sandy, we’re Jersey Proud.”
Trustees of the New Jersey Maritime Museum
Robert Cunningham - Michael Egolf - Mary Gruber
George Hartnett - Leslie Houston
Jeanette Lloyd - Beverly Tromm
James Vogel - Deborah Whitcraft - Robert Yates
P.S. Your membership is more important than ever before; Although the New Jersey Maritime Museum came through Superstorm Sandy with relatively little damage to our interior display areas, our storage areas and workshops suffered major damage. These are the spaces where we not only store a myriad of items not currently on display, but also restore and prepare artifacts for future use. Not only were these areas impacted structurally, but we also lost thousands of dollars worth of tools and machinery. Our flood insurance will not cover these losses, so your donations will be more important than ever in helping us fulfill our mission. Add to this damage our normal operating expenses and you can plainly see that our financial burden has never been greater. No matter what membership level you choose, rest assured that your support and contribution will be greatly appreciated and instrumental in helping us to make our facility better than ever. A membership application is attached for your convenience. Thank you!
NJ MARITIME MUSEUM
MUSEUM OF NEW JERSEY MARITIME HISTORY, INC.
A 501(C)(3) non-profit organization EIN 76-0730192
“Dedicated to the preservation of New Jersey Maritime History”
The NJ Maritime Museum needs your financial support if we are to continue to build our educational exhibits and presentations to inform – and inspire – Americans of all ages about the importance of preserving New Jersey’s rich maritime history.
As a member of the NJ Maritime Museum, you will enjoy special members-only benefits, including but not limited to: advance notice and free admission to special events; unlimited access to the Museum’s internet café, lending library, rare book and document collection, and research database; use of the museum facility for private affairs and meetings; and a 10% discount on gift shop merchandise and books.
PLEASE CHECK MEMBERSHIP PREFERENCE BELOW
Fax or mail completed form to:
NJ Maritime Museum – 528 Dock Road – Beach Haven, NJ 08008
Phone 609-492-0202 Fax 609-492-7575
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS (1 full year from date of enrollment)
“The museum is lucky to have volunteers with different interests and levels of expertise in maritime history.” This positive statement was heard after Cathleen Engelsen’s program last week on her grandfather’s historic photos and her paintings taken from his pictures. What a nice position to be in … We’re proud of our volunteers and whatever they choose for the New JerseyMaritimeMuseum.
The winter-that-wasn’t-winter passed by with an extraordinary amount of people at the museum each weekend. It is amazing that a museum could establish itself so quickly with members, recognition, and our exceptional volunteers.
We’re now open daily 10am – 5pm. Treasurer Bob Cunningham reminds members to renew their memberships, and for visitors to join this energetic group of maritime history buffs. There are no paid employees at the NJ MaritimeMuseum; everyone is a volunteer. And no admission fees; so donations are extremely important.
This is the museum’s sixth summer coming up, almost five years since we opened our doors. Twice honored by the readers of New Jersey Magazine, not to mention articles in many magazines, we are humbled by all the attention. In the June issue there was another short article about the museum.
Deb was personally inducted into the Women Divers’ Hall of Fame during the spring; 2011 was her official year, but she could not attend the dinner ceremony because she was in Cuba. (You don’t just make this sort of thing up)
Have you seen the museum columns in the Beach HavenTimes? For almost the last year our columns have focused on NJ maritime history – our feedback from readers has been phenomenal. If you haven’t been following them, start now. Topics range from the salt hay industry and the schooner turned gift shop “Lucy Evelyn” to a report written by John Marshall of Bonds Life Saving Station in 1910 and the wreck of the “Patrice McAllister.” Perhaps the column that has received the most comment was on the wreck of the “Hannah” which was carrying a circus complete with animals.
Inferno at Sea is due out in book stores, Amazon, and Kindle the end of June. This book tells of the human side of the “Morro Castle” fire. Written by Gretchen Coyle and Deborah Whitcraft, it is about those who were aboard during the fatal voyage from Havana on September 5, 1934. Copies will be available at the museum, of course. Learn about the Americans and Cubans, passengers and crew. Some were heroes, some were cowards. This book depicts the best and worst of human nature. It is the first book to look at the human side of the disaster aboard a popular cruise ship.
Publisher Ray Fisk from Down the Shore Publishing arrived at the museum today with a preview copy. Our opening Autograph Party is Thursday, July 5th from 3 – 6pm. Join us for wine and cheese.
Our volunteers never cease to amaze us. John Schultz of Tuckerton is new to the area, and we are glad he has found a second home at the museum. He loves people, likes to give tours, has taken charge of our video collection, and organized and catalogued our scrapbook collection (which is now up to 188). RetiredEthelJacobsonSchool teacher, Suzanne Gilbert of SurfCity, is an island history buff. She is running our Gift Shop. We welcome John and Suzanne.
Eileen Sappah and her husband Dave Swope, along with Golden Lab Sandy who welcomes visitors, are working non-stop on cataloguing our 7,200 shipwrecks onto a computerized data base.
Speaking of four legged “volunteers,” the Boston Bull Terriers owned by Deb and Jim are almost a year old. Sometimes they race through the museum chewing a toy or each other. While not overly well behaved, they are extremely popular with visitors, especially children. You cannot help but smile as these puppies play. The piglets, as they are fondly called because of their sort-of-curly tails, were a gift from Deb’s mother Pauline.
Extreme thanks go to the estate of Julius Robinson, long time attorney in Beach Haven. Julius has left the museums of Beach Haven a legacy of history through letters and memorabilia. Trustee Jeanette Lloyd is spending hours going through boxes, sorting out what belongs in the NJ Maritime Museum, Long Beach Island Historical Association, and the Library Museum. Clara and Julius Robinson gave so much of themselves over the years. They are remembered fondly by Long BeachIsland residents. Julius was the first lawyer to have an office in Beach Haven, building a home and office back in the 1930’s.
Jeanette Lloyd and Deb Whitcraft spent the winter organizing all the non-profits on LBI. This group is called the LBIAlliance of Non-Profit Organizations with a catchy slogan “More than just a day at the beach!” Working together these organizations showcase the cultural and historical side of the island. Their website is www.lbisland.org. And you thought nothing went on off season!
Two non-profits, Re-Clam the Bay and Alliance for a LivingOcean, will join Jim Vogel’s popular Kiddie Programs every Friday morning at 11am this summer. Kiddie Hour will be expanded to two, with a Re-Clam the Bay program at 10am, followed by a short ALO puppet show. Our capable teenage volunteers Sabrina Barlow and Leigh Ricciardi are with us again this summer to help with the programs. Bring the youngsters every Friday from 10am – noon. Jim started his Kiddie Programs a few years ago, and they have grown by leaps and bounds.
A number of new exhibits are up for your enjoyment. Atlantic City brings out the nostalgia in all of us, and this one featuring the collection of volunteer and AC historian Don Nyce, won’t disappoint you. The Sencindiver family has donated a large decoy collection which is on display on the first floor. In addition to being a former mayor and local doctor, Vic carved magnificent decoys in the living room of his Beach Haven home. Joanne Sencindiver and her family have donated this collection in memory of Vic.
Coastal occupations are highlighted in new exhibits. Visitors will learn about pound fishing in the ocean, charter fishing on LBI (especially Beach Haven which was once known as the “Fishing Capitol of the World”), and the Fish Factory which was featured in 2 of our recent Beach Haven Times columns. There are new artifacts on display from our divers, wait until you see what they have lent us.
Mark SEPTEMBER 15, 2012 on your calendar! This is the date of our Annual Fundraiser. Tickets are now available at the museum for $50.00 each. This year’s theme is The Great 1962 Nor’easter – 50 Years Later. There will be a big tent outside, live oldies entertainment, full service cash bar, and food provided by Okie’s Butcher Shop (Okie is Deb’s brother who has had that wonderful butcher shop with all those delicious salads and specialties for over 30 years in Surf City). Other local establishments, such as Crust ‘n Crumb and Rita’s Ice, will also provide food.
There will be a ’50 and ‘60’s car show by Vintage Automobile Museum of NJ based in Pt. Pleasant, and prizes for the couple, man and woman in 1960’s attire, a Silent Auction, and fifty/fifty raffle. Trade stories of the 1962 storm, and hear from those who remember it only too well. Come have fun in addition to supporting your favorite museum. See you on Saturday, September 15th from 5pm – 11pm.
2011/2012 HOLIDAY NEWSLETTER FROM THE NEW JERSEY MARITIME MUSEUM
Happy Holidays from the NJ Maritime Museum!The wind may be blowing hard out of the NW, and the temperature dropping; but your museum is warm and inviting Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00am to 4:00pm.Stop in for a cup of coffee and stimulating conversation.Want to visit on a different day or time?Call 609-492-0202 and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
Two additions have come to the museum.They are not related to maritime history like the Manx cats that once floated in on the timbers of a wrecked ship, and whose descendants lived forever in the dunes and empty lots as feral cats.Pauline Whitcraft, Deb’s mother, presented Deb and Jim with Luke and Whitey, Boston Terrier (or is it "terrorist") puppies. They can usually be found in a pen in the office/gift shop area.Only five months old, they have not met a visitor they don’t like. And vice versa.
While this is the “off” season for many, your Board of Trustees is hard at work.The Board meets quarterly to ensure that the museum is the best in OceanCounty, with lots of work between meetings.Currently Leslie Houston is spearheading a committee to implement a progressive succession plan for the museum so that it will continue to be active and operational for the community as new Trustees take over the reins.In addition, strategic and long range plans are being constructed.
Treasurer Bob Cunningham reports that while the museum is current on all its bills, like all non-profits in this uncertain economy, donations are imperative.Your gift will ensure New Jersey's maritime past will be preserved for generations to come.
A letter from our trustees was included in gift bags at our 2011 Benefit in September.Part is repeated below:
“We have so many reasons to be thankful: phenomenal
attendance, fabulous and talented volunteers, changing and
permanent exhibits, artifacts and memorabilia both on loan
“We are doing our best to satisfy your needs, which include re-
search into genealogy, NJ wrecks, U.S. Life Saving service, the ill-
fated 1934 cruise ship ‘Morro Castle,’ and other subjects related
to NJ maritime history.Questions come in via e-mail, answers are
found, and we communicate with the sender.
“As part of our large LBI community, we offer our rooms for
meetings and pleasures such as the knitting group, dominoes, and
bridge players.Eastern European young adults working for the
summer know they can be in touch with their families via Skype;
that there is a quiet, safe haven at the museum apart from long days
at work.Our lending library provides books on all aspects of
maritime history, many found nowhere else.
‘“So You Want Our Money’ is an article published in the
September 2011 issue of Gulfshore Life magazine of Naples, FL.
‘We want to feel a personal connection, and we want specific
information about programs, finances, and future plans.There
is a list of 5 tips to establish a liaison between non-profits and
prospective donors: 1. A personal connection is the key, 2. Hon-
esty is the best policy, 3. Show your impact with numbers and
stories, 4. Be an open book, and 5. Host events but spend wisely.’
“The above could have been written specifically for the
Museum of NJ Maritime History.Your personal interest is of
utmost importance to us.Call the museum to make an appoint-
ment to visit us for a personal tour.We are happy to talk about
our collections, our finances, and lay out some plans for the
future.Any questions will be answered.
“Better yet, won’t you be part of our future by giving a special
donation this year?Large donations include naming rights,
plaques, and other sponsorships.In this wave of economic
uncertainty, it is important to show your Museum of NJ Mari-
time History extra support.
We continue to try to be, and no doubt we are, the premier
Maritime museum in the state.Spread the word; tell your friends
that you are behind this extraordinary two floor museum, one
that has accomplished the impossible in such a short time.”
We are extending our plea for end of the year donations.Remember, there is no paid staff.We are all volunteers here.
Jim Vogel is honored to report that Heritage Preservation has chosen the museum to participate in the Conservation Assessment Program.CAP assists museums by providing funds for professional conservation and preservation specialists to identify the conservations needs of their collections and recommends ways to properly improve, preserve, and exhibit these collections.
Heritage Preservation’s President, Lawrence L. Reger, praised the NJ Maritime Museum for “making the vital work of caring for New Jersey’s maritime collections a priority of its institution, even in these challenging financial times, and helping to ensure that they are available to present and future generations.”A professional conservator will spend two days surveying the site and three days preparing a comprehensive report that will identify conservation priorities.Heritage Preservation is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the U.S. and assists in caring for our endangered heritage.
Volunteers Eileen Sappah and Dave Swope continue the arduous task of creating a user-friendly computerized New Jersey shipwreck database;ultimately, this will enable public access to our vast 7,200 plus collection of irreplaceable documentation by anyone - anywhere in the world.What an accomplishment this will be!
An unusual donation recently is a ship’s model made in a Bridgeton, NJ Debtors’ Prison.Maybe you read about it in the museum’s weekly Beach Haven Times column?Only 13” long, it was made by a sailor in prison in the 1820’s.A priceless bit of folk art, this has been passed down from the family of Hannah and Nathaniel Whitaker.Hannah’s brother was a jailor who, in addition to his job, spent time baby-sitting for his nieces and nephews at the jail.
The children carried in pieces of wood and fabric, which the unknown sailor used.No one will ever know if this ship was patterned after a local sailing ship or if it was a figment of his imagination based upon the materials available to him.Bob Yates has constructed a special display case for this priceless object donated by descendants Larry, Barbara, James and Katherine Whitaker.
Work has begun on the 2012 Benefit slated for September 15, 2012.It will be commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1962 March Storm.Do you or your family have pictures of this nor’easter that walloped our shoreline for three days?We would like to scan your pictures – they could end up as part of a special digital display in memory of the lives lost and damage incurred.Many remember stories of being trapped or not allowed onto the island for fear of looting.Won’t you e-mail your memories to us, so they can also be included?
Once again, thanks to Buckalew’s Bar and Restaurant, Okie’s Butcher Shop, Crust and Crumb Bakery, Giglio's Awning, FantasyIsland, Nardi's, Silver Sun, and the many other businesses that contributed to our 2011 Benefit dinner, Silent and Chinese Auctions.There are too many to name, but all played a significant role helping to make our 2011 Benefit such a success.
As instituted at our October 13, 2011 Board of Trustees meeting, and befitting the Holiday Season, we are including our Wish List:
·Large flatbed scanner for digital scanning of rare photographs and documents
·HP or comparable digital photo frames 10" or larger screen size
·Maintenance supplies;toilet paper, paper towels, windex, coffee cups, K-Cups
The museum has most recently been the venue for a social gathering of old timers from the Beach Haven Elementary School and a meeting of LBI non-profits which plan to advertise, promote the Island’s diverse cultural, historical and ecological organizations, and seek available grants together.Our monthly programs continue to be well received;November’s was a standing-room only presentation on Leonardo DaVinci’s diving invention by Fred Barthes, of Northeast Dive Equipment Group. Some of the evening’s attendees were dressed in hard-hart gear to illustrate how diving equipment has evolved since the 1500’s.
A program on January 13th, 2012 will feature Mike Boring, underwater photography specialist and technical diver whose dedication to shipwreck exploration is legendary. His presentation will focus on the Wilhelm Gustloff, sunk by a German submarine in January, 1945;On March 30th, 2012, Pooch Buchholz, co-author with Larry Savadove, of Great Storms of the Jersey Shore, will talk about the 1962 March nor’easter – the subject of this year’s annual fundraiser benefit.Additional guest speakers are being scheduled;check the museum’s website at www.NJMaritimeMuseum.org for all our programs and special events.
Last of all, please vote for us again, under the “MUSEUM” category of the “Best of New Jersey” New Jersey Monthly magazine contest.Check the correct box on the www.NJMonthly.com website.We have been honored by this magazine for the past three years and are hoping for a fourth!
Best wishes for a happy,healthy New Year!
The Officers and Trustees of the New Jersey Maritime Museum
OFFICERS OF THE NJ MARITIME MUSEUM Deborah Whitcraft, President Robert Yates, Vice-President Beverly Tromm, Secretary Robert Cunningham, Treasurer TRUSTEES OF THE NJ MARITIME MUSEUM Robert Cunningham - Mary Gruber - George Hartnett Leslie Houston - Jeanette Lloyd - Beverly Tromm - James Vogel Deborah Whitcraft - Robert Yates
AUGUST 15, 2011 NEWSLETTER - NJ MARITIME MUSEUM
By Gretchen Coyle, NJ Maritime Museum Docent
Greetings from the New Jersey Maritime Museum.The word for our summer has been hot: hot weather, hot volunteers and interns, hot new displays, and a hot fundraiser coming up on September 10, 2011.
Attendance has soared once again this summer.It is probably a mixture of the heat (yes, our AC is working well), new exhibits, members coming on a regular basis, and new visitors.In short, the word is out that the Museum of NJ Maritime History is the place to see.Friends bring guests, and we work well with the Long Beach Island Historical Assn. in Beach Haven, which sends us their visitors, and vice versa.
Not enough can be said for our volunteers who range in age from 11 – seniors.They are a multi-talented group with specific interests and specialties.Our college interns came in with suggestions, a job ethic which impresses us, and results to match like cataloguing the Lending Library, upgrading some of our displays, and working on Eileen and Dave’s mammoth project of putting 7,200 catalogued wrecks onto the computer.It is remarkable how all ages seem to have fun together around here, working for the good of the Museum.
Thanks go to Nick, Jack, Caroline, Will, Mary, Ginny, Rita, Eileen, Dave, Jeanette, June, Mike, Paul, Gretchen,Kate, Leigh, Sabrina, Joe, and others.You should hear all ages gossiping on their respective days about island happenings over a Barry’s Do Me A Flavor lunch.What a magnificent group of volunteers we have this summer.How lucky can one museum get!
No one can say this museum is routine.One afternoon,Nathan Jones from Barnegat called to say he was en route with a 5,000lb anchor.Deb put in a call to one of our supporters, Mark, from Undertoe Amoco in Haven Beach.Mark’s guys arrived with a flatbed and expertise on how to move a very heavy object.Within 15 minutes the anchor was moved from Nathan’s trailer to the Undertoe rig, and onto the front yard of the museum.A crowd of curious spectators formed and cheered the movers when the move was finished.The guys from Undertoe love it, saying no one ever cheers when they pick up a disabled car or one that has been in an accident.
The anchor is thought to be from a World War II ship.Hopefully, some of our experts can trace this large artifact further.Nathan is a crewman on a clam boat .He somehow picked up this anchor in his dredge and thought of us, including getting it out of his boat in Point Pleasant, and on to Beach Haven.This story is typical of how our maritime history oriented friends have made us what we are in just five summers.
Thanks to Monmouth College intern Caroline for re-arranging our Lending Library and creating an index.Want a book on storms?Shipwrecks?Caroline has made looking up books so much easier.Will from Rutgers University has an eye for the visual.Along with volunteer Paul, a number of displays have been changed.Curator Bart has displayed artifacts collected from divers.
Our museum takes a life of its own as people visit, then come back again with artifacts to loan or donate.Just the other day Fred Boos from Lavalette came in with artifacts from the wreck of the “Amity.”There were buttons, a bell, brass buckets, and even needles.Tripp McOrmond brought in pictures for us to scan of his father, just 17 years old, on his summer 1933 job aboard the “Morro Castle.”And our own Nick, who manages to find something worthwhile almost each time he walks the beach, brings in an old spoon or bone.It is amazing how our museum touches so many people; and an indication of how our exhibits relate to our visitors.
Saturday, September 10TH, is the third Annual Fundraiser to be held from 5pm – 11pm.This year’s theme is “TEXAS TOWER #4 – FIFTY YEARS LATER.”Tickets are $50.00 each.Proceeds will benefit museum programs.
Along with delicious food ranging from anOkie’s pig, and pulled pork, pasta, seafood, desserts, and much more, DJ Sal Rosa will provide entertainment.There will be a Silent Auction, Chinese Auction, and a 50/50 Raffle.This is our only fundraiser, so please contribute an item, buy tickets, and attend this exciting event.In addition, you can tour the museum, before, during, and after the event.
For more information and tickets, please contact the Museum of NJMaritime History at 528 Dock Rd. and West Ave., 609-492-0202, www.njmaritimemuseum.org.E-mail: email@example.com. Honored guests at the Benefit will be Chuck Zimmaro, maritime historian, longtime Texas Tower diver, and contributor to the History Channel’s program on the “Texas Tower,” Donald Slutzky who first boarded the tower in 1959 as a representative for the company that made the tower’s computers, Mick St. Clair who painted the picture of Texas Tower #4 on display in the museum, andDr. Ronald Cooperman who designed Texas Tower #4.
Chuck Zimmaro recalls the background of “Texas Tower #4”:
“There may have been three wars fought off the eastern coast of the U.S. during the 1900’s.There were u-boat attacks conducted off our shores during WW I and WW II.There was yet another war of sorts: the Cold War.The U.S. stood as the guardian to the free world, ready to stand off Communism.
“85 miles off the NJ coast stood one of the Air Force’s offshore listening stations known as “Texas Tower #4” for its resemblance to oil platforms.Designed to scan the skies for Russian bombers, this towers stood sentinel guarding the approaches to the east coast and Washington, DC.Tower #4 was a victim of poor design and planning.Though it was regarded as an engineering marvel, veterans who served on the tower recall how itr swayed in even moderate seas. making life aboard the station (90 men assigned) a constant challenge.It was nicknamed ‘Old Shaky.’
The radar platform was weakened by Hurricane Donna when Don Slutzky was stationed aboard.“The wind sounded like a train coming through the walls.Don left on advice from a diver sent out to check the structure, finding it unsafe.
Fatefully on January 14th, 1961, the mini city at sea, which had its radar shut down, and only a crew of 28 aboard, collapsed when bad weather hit once again.All men aboard were lost at sea.
Today “Texas Tower #4” sits on the bottom of the ocean.Zimmaro says “It is a wreck that rivals the ‘Titanic’ in size, yet is all but lost in the lore of sea disasters.It has all the elements of a great disaster at sea story: human error exploited by nature at its cruelest; gambles taken and lost in a sea that had turned predator; rescuers on the horizon, but helpless against the elements; and personal tragedy compounded by bitter irony.”
Displays in the Museum of NJ Maritime history show the tragedy of “Texas Tower #4”.On February 4, 2011 President Barak Obama acknowledged the 28 victims in a letter he sent to the Texas Tower Association.
We hope to see you on September 10th.Now is your time to join the museum, donate, and just have fun with other supporters.Please call or e-mail for tickets today.
NJ Maritime Museum – 528 Dock Road, Beach Haven, NJ08008 609 – 492 – 0202
NEWSLETTER #2: SPRING/SUMMER 2011
DEAR FRIENDS OF THE NEW JERSEY MARITIME MUSEUM:
Sometimes it’s hard to be humble!For the second year in a row, the Museum has been named “Best Museum in NJ” by the readers of New Jersey Monthly magazine.Thank you, New Jersey Monthly, and all the visitors who voted for us.This is an unheard of feat as we go into our fifth year of operation.Are we ever proud! (As an aside, Deb’s brother, Okie Whitcraft, was awarded Runner Up by New Jersey Monthly’s voters under “Best Butcher Shop” category.Okie’s Butcher Shop is located in Surf City.)
Beginning June 1st, 2011, we will be open daily from 10am to 5pm.In spite of an off-season of rain and gloomy skies, the Museum has remained quite active with both regular and new visitors.What’s better than a weekend down the shore with a trip to the Museum followed by a quiet dinner?
We are always appreciative of the hard work of our volunteers;Mike Egolf captivates visitors of all ages with his stories of the Titanic and most any other shipwreck you can name.For Mike’s fan club members, his regular day will change to Wednesdays for the summer, and he’s looking forward to your visit.Rita Kuhn, Gini Molino and Mary Gruber continue to faithfully catalog and document every single item contained within the walls of the museum – as they have done for the past 4 years (and even before the museum’s construction was completed!) Thursday’s volunteers consist of Jeanette Lloyd, June MacFarlane and Gretchen Coyle;a particularly busy day for our regulars who enjoy the camaraderie and enthusiasm of these local ladies.Nick Perello, affectionately known as “mini-me” to his mentor, Jim Vogel, spends much of his time each weekend helping to preserve and showcase new additions to the museum’s exhibits.Kim Dixon and her son, Matt, spend countless hours maintaining the alphabetized files of over 7,200 shipwrecks contained within the museum’s archives.Christopher Drew, member of the U.S. Air Force and stationed at McGuire AFB, has dedicated himself to the maintenance of the museum’s internet café and its computer stations and printers.Thanks to his diligence, our internet café continues to be used regularly by people of all ages;best of all, perhaps, is the influx of young adults and foreign students who come to work on LBI for the summer.Seeing them Skype their families and friends (in Macedonia, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, etc.)is a service we’re proud to provide.Christopher and others mentioned are but a few of the many volunteers whose dedication and friendliness make the NJ Maritime Museum a fun place to visit!Eileen Swope, Phyllis Smith, Peg Ellis, Maureen and Steve Langeven, Dave Puntasecca…the list goes on and on.Our heartfelt thanks to all!
For the first time since opening in 2007, we are fortunate to have the assistance of two college interns who will be devoting a great deal of time to further the museum’s goal of preserving New Jersey maritime history;Caroline Tuthill, who has a BA in history and is working on her graduate degree inhistory (and whose father and brother are both Sandy Hook pilots) and Wil from Rutger’s University.We look forward to working with these students and are thrilled to support them in their educational goals.
Speaking of education, twice weekly during the school year, special needs students from Southern Regional High School are brought to the museum and are assigned specific tasks to accomplish.We’re honored to host this program! Director Brittany Balzano is to be commended for her insight in offering her students this opportunity to expand their horizons.
Attendance at our programs continues to be excellent.Among the presentations given over the last six months, John Lawrence Bush, independent historian and author of Steam Coffin spoke on the history of steamboats; Nobel Prize Winner, George Smith, and Janet Murphy talked of their 17 years sailing around the world;Bart Malone, well-known diver and our official Curator of maritime artifacts, gave a presentation on the wreck of the PrincessSophia;Docent Mike Egolf gave a presentation on the Titanic;Maureen and Steve Langevenspoke of the accomplishments of Women of NE Wreck Diving;Fred Barthes detailed the History of Hard-hat Diving and the equipment used by these veteran divers;we are grateful to all of these wonderful speakers for volunteering their time and expertise to educate the public on a host of maritime topics.
Summer activities will commence in June.Thanks to Rick Bushnell and his knowledgeable volunteers, Re-Clam the Bay will give demonstrations, talk about clams and oysters, and the precarious state of Barnegat Bay, every Friday morning at 10 am.Jim’s popular Kiddie Activities will take place on Fridays beginning at 11 am. While there are always volunteers and docents at the Museum to answer your questions, special group tours are always available upon request.Call 609-492-0202 for specifics.
A number of exhibit changes have been made over the winter.Among the added shipwreck artifacts are:Chaparra helm and telegraph;Tolten helm; life-ringof the Hornbeam (first U.S. Coast Guard vessel to arrive at the scene of the Andrea Doria);framed rendering of the Cristoforo Columbo (sister ship of the Andrea Doria); display case of china recovered from the Princess Sophia;rum bottles (some still full!) from the rum-runner Lizzie D.
Donations in the form of artifacts have come to us as a result of word of mouth, e-mail or by phone call.Don Cuming called from Vermont to say he had one of the life rings from the Morro Castle.Our noted authority Tim Dring from Robbinsville, NJ says there probably weren’t more than a dozen aboard the ship (used in the event of a man overboard, and that they would have been located on the bridge or railings around the stern).Don arrived two weeks ago with his family, the life ring, and a picture of him as a child with his head in the center of the ring.This rare Morro Castle artifact, which had been picked up by Dan’s father after the two people hanging to it drowned in the surf, hangs proudly in the Morro Castle Room.We are particularly proud of this one-of-a-kind exhibit, which has grown substantially – not only with the addition of the life-ring, but also the hat worn by Cruise Director Robert Smith, a Jacob’s ladder, horse-racing trophy cup and hundreds of newly discovered photographs and documents relating to this tragedy.
Curator Deb and Docent Gretchen Coyle are writing a book on the human side of the Morro Castle tragedy.They spent eight days in Cuba researching Cuban passengers and Habana Vieja (Old Havana) where Morro Castle passengers would have roamed from 1930 – 1934.
One highlight was meeting Cuba’s Official Historian, Ciro Bianchi Ross, who has written extensively on the Morro Castle, is the author of nine books, and a journalist for Juventud Rebelde, and has a weekly TV Program.Sitting on the porch of the People’s Creative Writing Center in an old mansion in Miramar, Habana, Deb gave Ciro a thumb drive full of Morro Castle pictures.The conversation – en Espanol – was lively, not to mention informative.
The Morro Castle/NJ Maritime Museum relationships continue to grow.A younger sister of ten year old Bobby Gonzales, who died in the arms of Third Assistant Purser Tom Torresson, told us about her adored brother.Sue Torresson Gazzara has donated all of her father’s papers to the Museum.In Cuba Deb and Gretchen visited De Beche stadium in Guanabacoa, named in honor of nineteen year old Franz de Beche, an Olympic swimmer who gave his life preserver to a young lady, saying he was the best swimmer aboard the Morro Castle.His body was never found.
Deb and Gretchen will be presenting a program at the Beach Haven Library on Monday, June 13th at 6:30 pm on the Morro Castle and their trip to Cuba.Speaking candidly and with enthusiasm, the ladies will highlight their trip of a lifetime as it pertains to the Morro Castle.You will probably learn things about U.S. and Cuban relations – people to people that is – that you do not know.Can’t make this date?Not to worry;Gretchen and Deb will be scheduling another presentation on this in the fall;check the museum’s website for details.
Our ANNUAL FUNDRAISING BENEFIT will be held Saturday, September 10, 2011.This year we will remember Texas Tower #4 – Fifty Years Later.On hand will be Chuck Zimmaro, noted diver and maritime historian (featured on the History Channel’s Texas Tower #4 documentary, Doomed Tower at Sea)Chuck is working hard on a special memorial presentation for our attendees.This program will consist of a brief 5-6 minute introduction about the Texas Tower #4, followed by a 23-minute video highlighting the underwater exploration of this historic maritime tragedy.Throughout the fundraiser, a three-part self-sustaining presentation will be running continuously for those who wish to learn more about this;the 1st part shows “behind the scenes” images from the making of the History Channel’s documentary, which was led by award-winning Hollywood underwater cinematographer Al Giddings;the 2nd part highlights “life on the Texas Tower”, giving the viewer a glimpse into how these towers were constructed and what it was like to live and work on these “iron islands” for up to 2 years;the final part will take the viewer on an actual dive of the tower itself, depicting incredible underwater footage of the tower’s massive exterior and cavernous wreckage-strewn interior.Chuck is especially proud to share underwater images few have ever seen of this historic site.It promises to be an exciting event you don’t want to miss!
Tickets are $50.00 each and can be purchased either at the Museum or call 609-492-0202. Join us on this special evening to support the Museum, visit with friends, and learn so much more about the Texas Tower #4.This is an indoor-outdoor tented affair and casual dress is encouraged.Drinks, good food, a Chinese Auction, and 50/50 raffle are just part of the fun.
Do you know that our Museum is available to rent?Besides a unique facility to entertain, you are supporting the Museum.Think of us for a wedding, family reunion, birthday, or business party. For specific rates and availability, call the Museum and ask for Deb or Jim.
Are you a member?Perhaps a Surfman?A Keeper?Or Superintendent?Annual memberships range from a $25 Student or Senior Member to a $500 Superintendent.Membership forms can be picked up when you are visiting the Museum or fill out the Membership Application on our website:www.NJMaritimeMuseum.org
In this shaky economy, our Museum, like every other non-profit, is feeling the effects.If you believe in all we do, and try to do for you, please remember us in your annual giving or become a Lifetime Member.Lifetime Memberships are basically sponsorships with categories as follows: $1,000 Individual; $2,500 Family; $5,000 Corporate; $25,000 Benefactor.
There is no better way to honor a loved one than to have naming rights on one of our rooms, sponsor an exhibit, or underwrite an event.Please remember that we have no paid staff.Everyone here is a volunteer.But there are always overhead costs.In the summer our AC cost is astronomical and our off-season heating bills consume a large portion of our donations.
One way the NJ Maritime Museum is unique is our personal response to every phone, e-mail, and visitor question.If you have a question about New Jersey’s maritime history, we research our archives and send information requests out to our history-oriented friends.Usually, within a day or so, we have an answer – sometimes many, as when a gentleman from California with the name Falkinburg was researching some of the Captains in his family as he wrote a book.Information came in from many sources including articles, books to read, and U.S. Life Saving Service information.We now have an admirer from the other side of the country.
Your Museum is one of four Ocean County Museums (along with Toms River Seaport, Tuckerton Seaport, and NJ Museum of Boating) that work together, meeting twice a year under the leadership of Chet Ehrman.We are brought up to date about the museums, each with its own special “flavor,” and trade information and artifacts.For instance, thanks to Bob O’Brien and the NJ Museum of Boating in Bay Head, we now have a rescue ladder/Jacob’s ladder from the Morro Castle, donated by the Bogan family, among our collection.In turn, duplicate books from our Museum are headed up to the Museum of Boating for their library.Working together to preserve our coastal heritage is important.
Won’t you join us as a member and a volunteer?We’d love to have you as one of our ambassadors.
The Board of Trustees
New Jersey Maritime Museum
Newsletter No. 1 – Oct. 22, 2010
Dear Friends of the Museum of New Jersey Maritime History,
Our 4th summer in existence was an extremely busy one.Have you been by to see the additions and changes?If not, we’re open throughout the fall and winter months: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 10 am to 4 pm.
In less than 4 short years, the Museum has gained immense credibility and recognition;we receive frequent e-mails asking for help in shipwreck and U.S. Life Saving Service research;geneology;World Wars I and II maritime losses, New Jersey coastal history, and a host of other subjects.On file and available for public research and duplication are records of over 7,200 ships wrecked off the coast of New Jersey.Did you know that during World War II, the waters off New Jersey would serve as the stage for nearly 3 years of sinkings, tragedy and heroism?In the first 6 months alone, the U-Boat war against the U.S. resulted in the loss of almost 400 ships and nearly 5,000 lives. No wonder we’re called the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”Having maintained a visitor’s logbook since our opening on July 3, 2007, we have more than tripled the number of visitors of prior years, and expect this trend to continue as word of our mission continues to spread.
Monthly programs presented at the Museum have been greeted with exceptional turnout: Capt.'s Steve Gatto & Tom Packer gave a presentation on the sinking ofthe Bow Mariner and also their dive to the engine room of the Andrea Doria;Mike Dudas’s presentation on Bikini Atoll;Bart Malone’s presentations about the Empress of Ireland and East Coast Wreck Diving;Gene Peterson presented Recovery & Restoration of Artifacts and honored us with an emotional Memorial Tribute to the Divers, Dive Shop Owners, Maritime Historians and Dive Boat Captains at our annual fundraiser, attended by over 340 people.Divers Chuck Zimmaro and Tom Roach, in their June presentation, Hunters & Hunted, attracted so many people (165)that it was held outside!These programs continue to draw the interest and attendance of people from all walks of life, and we are grateful to all our speakers for their willingness to share their experiences with our attendees.
People of all ages love the museum;every day, kids can be heard turning a ship’s wheel, piloting full-speed ahead, examining a Lyle gun, imagining they were part of a volunteer Life Saving Service group – trying to save a ship wrecked on the treacherous New Jersey shoals.If you missed Curator Jim Vogel’s Scavenger Hunts for kids, you missed the excitement of youngsters trying to find the designated objects located throughout 2 floors of exhibits.Along with his teenage volunteers, who designed different scavenger hunts according to interest and age, Jim captured the hearts of little ones who learned about our maritime history and the Jersey shore the fun way.
Groups of all ages have toured the Museum of NJ Maritime History;on any given day, you might find a group of seniors from St. Francis or Berkeley Heights, or a mix of 5 to 12 year-olds, curious about what is aroundthem.Seniors, especially, like to reminisce about the fate of the Morro Castle or Long Beach Island’s once-famous landmark, the Lucy Evelyn.Ouryounger visitors tend to be interested in sharks and pirates, though their counselors and parents are drawn to other attractions.All of our kid’s programs are finished with gift certificates for ice cream at Barry’s Do Me A Flavor.
2010 has been an especially difficult year for the diving community;the loss of our good friend, Gary Smith, was a shock to all lucky enough to have known such a wonderful man.He, and other members of the diving community no longer with us, were officially honored at our 2nd annual fundraiser benefit, held September 11th.The men and women who explore the remains of New Jersey’s shipwrecks continue to bring their artifacts in to share with the Museum’s visitors.Divers and non-divers alike are often heard to exclaim, “Look at that!”as they peruse the wide variety of stoneware, personal effects, china and other treasures recovered from the depths.Volunteer Mike Egolf, of Forked River, is a retired diver who enjoys sharing his experience and knowledge of New Jersey wrecks.He has developed a “Friday following” of visitors who vie for the chance to exchange stories of exploring the remains of once-proud ships.
Bart Malone, the Museum’s Curator in charge of maritime artifacts, shares his lifelong passion of underwater exploration with all he encounters, as they examine the vast array of his treasured artifacts recovered from countless dives.Visitors have been known to remain long after the Museum’s closing, enthralled with his diving adventures on the Andrea Doria, Empress of Ireland, Princess Sophia, The S-5 and countless other shipwrecks whose remains he has explored.This winter, Bart will be rotating several of the Museum’s artifact displays, allowing our repeat visitors an opportunity to see even more of the amazing artifacts he and others have recovered.
DVDs play non-stop in almost every room in the Museum, providing entertainment and education for people of all ages.It’s not unusual for visitors to get a cup of coffee and settle down to watch these videos for several hours.We are truly encouraged by the increase in visitors;perhaps they’ve seen our website, read about one of our many presentations in the newspaper, heard of us from a friend, or just decided that their initial visit didn’t allow them enoughtime to see all that there is to see!We hear this often and can’t help but be proud to showcase such an exciting part of our history.
Local history is of continued interest to both long-time residents and visitors alike.Our first floor main room tells the stories, in pictures and postcards, of our ever-changing coastline.Some remember our old wooden causeway before the “new” 1958 bridge;climbing “Old Barney” over a half century ago;destruction of coastal communities during the 1944 hurricane and 1962 nor’easter;or viewing the remains of the four-masted sailing barque “Sindia,” lost off Ocean City, NJ in 1901.If you’re lucky enough to come on a day when Beach Haven’s historian Jeanette Lloyd is volunteering, you’ll hear her talk about the colorful history of Beach Haven and other Long Beach Island communities.As the President of Beach Haven’s Historic Preservation Commission, she regales people with her descriptions of our town when it was just a small village and men made their living fishing, hunting or clamming.
One of the best features of being a volunteer at the Museum – Yes, we’d love to have you onboard! – is that you “get” as much as you “give.”Old-timers’ recollections are priceless, not to mention informational.People such as Marv Inman come in regularly, giving us snippets of anecdotalhistory not found in any history books or documentaries.
The 1934 tragedy aboard the “Morro Castle” continues to enthrall all who enter the Museum exhibit room specifically designed to house the unparalleled collection of memorabilia and documentation on the fate of this ship.We’ve found that this tragedy continues to haunt the memories of those who witnessed this horrific disaster.Local maritime history freelance writer and author, Gretchen Coyle, and Museum curator, Deb Whitcraft, continue to speak to various groups throughout the state about this 520’ luxury cruise ship and its ultimate fate as a burned hulk off the Asbury Park Convention Hall.Since the opening of the Museum, we’ve interviewed and received documents and memorabilia from daughters of women forced to jump from the burning ship in their nightclothes.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, a 100-year old survivor, Marjorie Gianini, agreed to fly up from Port Orange, Florida, to tell her story;her memory of the disaster is as clear as the night in which it happened.That same day, 96-year old Gerry Edgerton, sent to us by Captain Tony Bogan (whose family played a crucial role in saving 67 lives during this shipwreck) told us his story;he was a 17-year old radio operator on his first cruise with the Ward Line.It was an emotional meeting when Marjorie met Gerry.We were thrilled to attract the coverage of Nora Muchanic, of Channel Six Action News, Philadelphia WPVI, resulting in prime time tv exposure.Do you see a book in the making?Stay tuned.
At the top of this letter, you will see the Museum’s logo;in order to simplify our name and make it easier for our visitors to remember, we will using “NJ Maritime Museum” on our letterheads, checks, website, brochures and advertisements.Our corporate name, Museum of New Jersey Maritime History, Inc., EIN and Charitable Registration will remain the same.Visitors wishing to log onto the Museum’s website will automatically be directed to it by using either www.NJMaritimeMuseum.org or www.MuseumofNJMH.orgWe hope that the shorter “NJ Maritime Museum” is one you’ll more easily equate with our mission of preserving New Jersey’s rich maritime history.
As with all non-profits, the Museum is feeling the effects of the economy. The Museum has no paid staff;we are all volunteers here, with an enthusiastic appreciation and knowledge of New Jersey’s maritime past.Still determined never to charge admission, we appreciate all donations, both big and small.Please think of the Museum this year when you do your annual giving, and, if you haven’t already done so, please consider becoming a member.Happy Holidays!
The Board of Trustees & Volunteers of NJ Maritime Museum