Bronze Door Society logo


The Bronze Door Society is the premier member-managed adjunct organization of The Mariners’ Museum and is an active group of Museum members who gather regularly for lectures, behind-the-scenes tours, and social events in order to:

  • Encourage an in-depth understanding of the Museum’s collections
  • Support the Museum’s mission and programs by funding acquisition, conservation, management, and exhibition of artifacts and works of art
  • Provide educational programs for the community 

The society is named for the spectacular set of maritime-themed bronze doors that were commissioned by Museum co-founder, Archer M. Huntington, and created in the early 1930’s by renowned American sculptor, Herbert C. Adams., specifically for the Museum’s original entrance.



With a minimum gift of $1,000, you can enjoy membership in a premier donor society.


Membership includes:

  • Bronze Door Society for two household members
  • Mariners' Museum Annual Membership level of your choice*
  • Voting privileges on the selection of projects for the Bronze Door Society
  • Recognition in the Annual Report and on the Museum's Donor Board
  • Exclusive Behind-the-Scenes tours of the Museum collections and newest acquisitions
  • Exclusive members-only receptions and events
  • Subscription to our quarterly newsletter Ahoy!, and email announcements of Museum events

*Your donation to the Bronze Door Society is fully tax-deductible, less the amount of the General Membership Level selected.


Bronze Door Society images

The 2014 Bronze Door Annual Dinner

Oct 10, 2014

Annual Meeting and Black Tie Selection Dinner, Society members and guests will enjoy dinner in an elegant setting at the base of the Lancaster Eagle, in the Grand Lobby of the Museum. Members voted in the selection of funded activities for the Museum.

Projects Proposed

Cost: $3,000-$5,000

In keeping with the demands of the academic front line, the Education Department proposes to align the Museum’s scholastic focus alongside that of STEM Education Programs (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). The Museum would hire a certified STEM educational instructor for the summer of 2015.  He/she would be expected to research and develop STEM based programming for students that could then be delivered by TMM staff throughout the school year.

As a local educator, this person would understand the needs within the regional community as well as assisting in focusing on the needs of satellite students. At the conclusion of the term, he/she would then be available to present a teacher professional development training session in the fall 2015 or during the 2015-2016 school year. Cost would be $3,000 - $5,000 for stipend and supplies.

Cost: $9,975

The Conservation Department is requesting your support in the fundamental preservation of USS Monitor artifacts through the purchase of a new pH Monitoring System.

The current pH Monitoring System within the Conservation Wet Lab is no longer functional. As a result, the collection of USS Monitor artifacts requires roughly seven hours per week of hands-on monitoring. Conservators are spending over two months annually monitoring these solutions, time which could be spent actively treating objects. However, this inefficiency can be avoided with the right tool.

We are requesting that Bronze Door Society facilitate the purchase of new pH Monitoring system available through global technology leader, Honeywell.  Having tested the system within our labs, this new monitoring system has proven itself efficient in consistently and reliably capturing the necessary data required for advancing the conservation USS Monitor artifacts. 

Cost: $26,000

The Mariners’ Museum is requesting the development of a Museum Commemorative Guide Book. The Museum’s most recent Commemorative Guide was published in 1999 and sold-out quickly due to popular demand. The new Commemorative Guide will showcase the Museum’s rare collection of Maritime artifacts and archival material, as well as highlight our award-wining Park and Trail. This full-color, 44 page, 9”x12” softbound publication will be the perfect souvenir for our guests and a treasured keepsake for our members.

Cost: $35,000

Help us create a plan for success by awarding funds towards a General Conservation Survey of the Museum’s Permanent Collection.

A mandatory process when completing applications for potential grant support, this survey of the Museum’s Collection will be pivotal in the Museum’s efforts to solicit funds for financial support to aid in our conservation efforts. This necessary audit will characterize the overall condition of the permanent collection and help identify, as well as prioritize, the efforts and methods required for its care and preservation.

The survey will be conducted by a third-party comprised of six contract conservators who would be hired to complete the project. Findings and recommendations that result from the survey would greatly aid the further development and improvement of Museum operations that relate to collections care, conservation and fundraising. Successful completion of this survey will also open the door to new and larger funding opportunities through Federal granting agencies.

Cost: $15,000

Support the completion of the Worthington Pump replication project. This interactive replica will showcase the inner workings of the Worthington Pumps recovered from the USS Monitor.

The intricately crafted pieces of cast iron may look robust – but in reality they are incredibly fragile and their functions are difficult to interpret for large scale audiences. In an effort to educate our guests about these engineering masterpieces within the ironclad, Conservators Eric Nordgren and Will Hoffmann have nearly completed their four year mission to bring the Worthington Pump back to life.

Initial funding was provided by Curtiss-Wright (a legacy company of Worthington). The end product will be a tangible and working pump. Items still needed are a compressed air generator, trailer and interpretive panels to showcase the complexity of this masterfully engineered pump both internally and externally.


June 21, 2014

More than 200 oenophiles attended the third annual bronze Door Wine Classic on June 21. The event is living up to its promise to be the premier wine tasting experience on the Peninsula. Attendees enjoyed close to 90 exceptional wines accompanied by jazz from The Jae Sinnett Trio. This year’s event included a silent auction featuring never before offered prints of paintings by reknown 19th century maritime artist James Edward Buttersworth, prints by Chesapeake Bay watercolorist Lee Abston & Norfolk photographer Glen McClure, and two large handcrafted sailing sloops. All proceeds of the evening go to furthering The Bronze Door Society’s support of The Mariners’ Museum.

Bronze Door Wine Classic 2014

Oct 11, 2013

Annual Meeting and Black Tie Selection Dinner, Society members and guests enjoyed dinner in an elegant setting at the base of the Lancaster Eagle, in the Grand Lobby of the Museum. Members voted in the selection of funded activities for the Museum.

Projects funded:

  • School Program Sponsorship & Student Membership Program - Funded for $20,000
  • Conservation and display of USS Monitor Pilot/Sack Cost - Funded for $19,300

Other Project Proposals:

  • A Museum scavenger hunt app
  • Anamorphic 3D art
Bronze Door Winners 2013

From left, Anne Marie Millar, Gerry Hanley and Dave Krop

Aug 15, 2013

Members were given an exclusive viewing of the USS Monitor Center Conservation Laboratory by Monitor Center Director David Krop and the conservation staff.  The viewing focused on artifacts in an advanced stage of conservation or ready for display. Refreshments were served on the patio overlooking the Thursdays by the Lake concert.

June 15, 2013

The 2nd annual Bronze Door Wine Classic, quickly becoming the Peninsula's premier wine tasting experience.

Mar 12, 2013

The Bronze Door Society hosted a welcome reception for President Elliot Gruber. Gruber's remarks were enthusiastically received as he highlighted changes and opportunities for the Museum's future.

The Welcome Reception for Museum President Elliot Gruber

The Welcome Reception for Museum President Elliot Gruber

Feb 6, 2013

Members were given a unique viewing of the recently acquired James Edward Buttersworth paintings and some of the more rare textiles in the Museum's collection, including the Confederate flags donated by the Gideon Welles family.

Behind the Scenes, February 2013

Behind the Scenes, February 2013

Oct 12, 2012

Annual Meeting and Black Tie Selection Dinner, Society members and guests enjoyed dinner in an elegant setting at the base of the Lancaster Eagle, in the Grand Lobby of the Museum. Members voted in the selection of funded activities for the Museum.

Projects funded:

  • Artifacts in the Park
  • "Wachusett" journal of the Cruise of the U.S. Steam Sloop

Other Project Proposals:

  • The Mariners' Museum Lecture Series
Artifacts in the Park logo

Aug 1, 2012

The Bronze Door Society had a private reception to meet: Michael Tougias, author of The Finest Hours: The True Story Behind the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue. Reception was sponsored by Mr. Heinz Schiller.  Immediately following the reception, guests enjoyed Mr. Tougias’s lecture at 7:00 p.m.   

Mar 24, 2012

Members were given a rare glimpse into the technology behind the Museum and its exhibitions.

Sept 13, 2009

Hampton Roads Harbor Cruise followed by dinner at the Hampton Yacht Club.


The Steering Council of the Society provides the day-to-day direction and administration of Society operations and to do so, liaises directly with the Museum's Development staff and other Museum organizations. The fifteen members serve on the Council for three years. 


The Bronze Door Steering Council

  • Sandra B. Armstrong
  • Tom Clark
  • Jerry B. Copes
  • Gerald S. Hanley, Chair
  • Carol C. Hogg
  • Mary Sherwood Holt
  • James R. Knight
  • Ron Lewis
  • Ellen A. Neff
  • Bob Schappert, Immediate Past Chair
  • Heinz O. Schiller
  • Nancy O. Snyders
  • Nhu Yeargin


During the more than forty years we have lived here, The Mariners' Museum has always been and continues to be a unique and fascinating place to visit. Being involved as members of the Museum and the Bronze Door Society is important , not only because we help to grow the intrinsic value of the Huntington legacy, but also because we are helping to grow one of our community's most valuable historical, and educational assets.

Bob Schappert


The Mariners’ Museum has been a special and exciting destination for me and my family since I could walk! I was raised close by and many Sundays found my mom and dad and me gazing, always in awe, at the huge gold eagle or pushing buttons in the Great Hall of Steam. Now, I’m able to give back some of that joy by supporting the Museum as a member of The Bronze Door Society. The pleasure of joining others to leverage our gifts of support and really make a difference is indescribably satisfying. I urge you to share that pleasure and satisfaction by joining this unique institution, America’s National Maritime Museum!

Ron Lewis


Over the years, The Mariners' Museum has played a large part in my volunteer life, so when the Bronze Door Society was formed, I jumped at the chance to join. I cannot imagine a more wonderful opportunity to provide the Museum with a new item for the collection or a special fundraising event—or anything that might be needed. As a group, we not only sponsor a variety of fundraising events, but we have a wonderful time together! For us, the year culminates at our Annual Dinner, when we get the chance to vote on how to spend our money to best assist the Museum.

Martha Field


My wife and I think that The Mariners' Museum is a fantabulous place! It's not just about ‘ships'—it's about the history of America, the history of the whole civilized world. When you think about it, people have only been flying from one place to another for a little over 50 years. Up until then, for thousands of years, they traveled on the water—in ships. Almost all of us are descendents of immigrants, and almost all of our ancestors got to America—in ships. And The Mariners' Museum tells that story better than any place we can think of!" But there's only room for a small percentage of the Museum's collections to be out on exhibit at a given point in time. The rest are stored ‘behind-the-scenes,' away from the eyes of the general public. And that's the focus of members of the Bronze Door Society: supporting the Museum's collections, whether on exhibit or ‘behind-the-scenes.' It's great to be a member of the Museum, but it's much more fun to be involved in the Museum! That's why Nancy Lee and I are members of the Bronze Door Society!

Tom Clark


I have come to The Mariners' Museum for over 35 years -- for inspiration as a shipmodel builder. It is one of the best maritime museums in the world as I have found out in my travels. Virginia, you have a treasure. My membership in the Bronze Door Society is a great way to support this wonderful institution.

Heinz Schiller


The Bronze Door Society is all about coming together, having great fun, meeting fabulous new people, and increasing one’s knowledge of the maritime world, all while benefiting a world class museum that’s right in our backyard! I’ve been a member for years and am very proud of our accomplishments in supporting the Museum.

Nhu Yeargin


For more information, contact:

(757) 591-7715