June 2 marks The Mariners’ Museum and Park’s 90th year of existence. So much has changed since the year we were founded in 1930, but one thing has remained the same – we are here to promote the public welfare through fostering personal connections to all things maritime.
For our birthday, we are celebrating YOU – the community that built us, supported us in the past, and supports us today. Now, more than ever, we are grateful for the things that bind us together as a community. While we wish we could be together to celebrate this milestone, please know that our hearts are with you. Our team has been hard at work to bring the Museum and Park to you through online activities, programs, blogs, and stories to keep you connected during this challenging time.
Cheers to 90 years of maritime memories and shared connections!
Ninety years ago a common vision between Archer Milton Huntington, son of Collis P. Huntington who founded Newport News Shipbuilding, and Homer L. Ferguson, head of Newport News Shipbuilding at the time, came to life in the building of The Mariners’ Museum and Park. In 1930, Huntington and his wife, sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, used 800 acres of land surrounding Waters Creek in Newport News, Virginia, to create and improve a natural park and construct a dam, known as Lions Bridge, to develop The Mariners’ Lake. The first purchases for the Museum collection were made in the early 1930s during the Great Depression. The vision for an international collection sent buyers throughout the 1930s to Europe, the West Indies, and beyond.
Today, The Mariners’ Museum and Park is a distinctive landmark in Newport News and serves as an urban oasis to all who visit. The 550-acre park is now home to the 167-acre Mariners’ Lake and the Noland Trail – a five-mile shoreline trail with 14 wooden bridges. Within the Museum itself, you will find 90,000 square feet of exhibition galleries including the prestigious International Small Craft Center, and the award-winning USS Monitor Center, which is home to the iconic Civil War ironclad’s gun turret. Read more about our history here!
Five years ago, the team at The Mariners’ Museum and Park renewed our mission statement – The Mariners’ Museum and Park connects people to the world’s waters, because through the waters – through our shared maritime heritage – we are connected to one another – and rededicated ourselves to helping build a stronger community, locally and globally. Connection to each other is needed now more than ever. Each one of us has a tie to the water whether through career, family, culture, or leisure and we are here to help YOU find your own connection and discover YOUR maritime story. Everyone is a mariner.
At The Mariners’ Museum and Park, we believe in this powerful narrative. If we help each person discover their own connection to the water, we can bring people together through our commonalities rather than focus on our differences. Our purpose is to awaken a sense of shared maritime heritage and to help unite humankind through the world’s waters.
The Museum charges only $1 per person for admission. This admission price allows everyone the opportunity to find their own connection to the world’s waters. One dollar is a symbol – it represents our mission and purpose, and serves as a reminder that despite our differences, we are all ONE. Through our shared connection to the world’s waters, we are ONE city, ONE region, ONE nation and ONE world.
While we can’t physically be with you in our beloved Museum and Park, please know that our hearts are with you. We look forward to serving you again in person as soon as it is safe to do so. Our staff have been hard at work to bring the Museum and Park to YOU though unique and interactive virtual programming! Explore blogs that are filled with fascinating stories, download our pirate scavenger hunt or play a challenging game of tree ID in your own neighborhood, join one of our interactive virtual programs, or hop online for an imaginative journey with our Age of Exploration site where you and your kids or grandkids can learn about explorers you have heard of, and others you may have yet to discover!
Become a part of the Mariners’ Family and show us how you identify as a mariner by sharing your memory or story with us using #iamaMariner.