The Bronze Door Society

Bronze Door Society logo


The Bronze Door Society is the oldest, member-managed affinity group of The Mariners’ Museum and Park. It is an active group of Museum patrons 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, and library archives
  • Support the Museum’s mission and programs by funding the acquisition, conservation, and exhibition of artifacts, works of art and archival materials
  • Provide educational programs and learning opportunities 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.

The Mariners’ International Wine Classic logo

Saturday, June 16, 2018 · 6 PM

Read more & tickets here


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

Membership includes:

  • Bronze Door Society affiliation for two household members
  • Voting privileges at The Bronze Door Society annual project selection dinner to determine project funding supported by The Bronze Door Society membership dues and fundraising efforts
  • Opportunity to join The Bronze Door Society Steering Council
  • Opportunity to participate in various planning committees for events and the annual dinner
  • Receive a copy of The Mariners’ Museum Official Commemorative Guide
  • Free admission to the Museum, for you and your guests-contact Development Office to receive general admission passes and schedule larger groups
  • Recognition on the Museum’s annual Donor Wall
  • 15% discount at Museum Shop
  • Subscription to our newsletter Ahoy!
  • Recognition on the Museum’s annual Donor Wall and Donor List
  • Reciprocal admission to 80 Maritime Museums nation-wide for two adults sponsored through the Council of American Maritime Museums
  • Advance notice of exhibit openings and Museum programs and events
  • Discounts on select educational programs and events, photographic reproductions, and library research
  • Free admission to Museum lecture series
  • Invitations to President’s Receptions
  • Invitation to an annual Garden Party at the President’s residence with Howard H. Hoege III
  • Invitation to quarterly curator talks
  • Two exclusive behind- the scenes tours of the Museum collections and newest acquisitions
  • Use of the Museum conference facilities for monthly Steering Council and event meetings at no cost-with advance notice and based on availability, catering not included

Bronze Door Society images

Previous Events

Friday, October 28, 2016

Each October, Members of The Bronze Door Society are invited to cast their vote for a range of projects developed and presented by the Museum staff. In 2015, $65,800 was awarded to fund a variety of projects. With the resounding success of the 2016 Bronze Door Society International Wine Classic, The Bronze Door Society is poised to continue its mission to designate funds in support of The Mariners’ Museum and Park through the selection of proposed projects at this annual event.

Projects funded:

  • Conservation of the oil painting, Kaiser Wilhelm II in front of the Great Pyramids of Egypt – Funded for $13,465
  • Purchase of 3-D Modeling Equipment for the USS Monitor Center – Funded for $7,800
  • Purchase of a Viking Sword, ca. late 9th century – Funded for $35,000

Other Project Proposals:

  • Conservation of the Papers of Samuel Hartt Pook, ca. 1869-1888 – $10,000
  • Purchase of Two Photographs by Robin Hammond – $5,250
  • Purchase of Digital Imaging Equipment – $5,900

June 18, 2016

The Mariners’ Museum and Park would like to express heartfelt appreciation to The Bronze Door Society and their dedicated membership, for the detailed planning, community sponsorship and sparkling atmosphere that endeared the 4th Annual International Wine Classic on June 18, 2016, as one of the most notable soirées in Hampton Roads. Boasting a vibrant crowd of over 250 wine lovers, Museum enthusiasts, and many new faces, this celebration featured unlimited tastings of global and domestic wines, accompanied by flavorful hors d’oeuvres and the relaxing jazz sounds of the renowned Jae Sinnet Trio. Be certain to mark your calendar for next year’s event on June 17, 2017, and don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy superior wines in a spectacular setting.

October 9, 2015

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:

  • General Conservation Survey of the entire Permanent Collection
  • Living History Interpretive Group
  • Conservation of Six Rare Books
  • Set Sail Scholarship Program

Other Project Proposal:

  • Rehousing Project, Triple-Expansion Marine Steam Engine USS Dionysus

June 20, 2015

An elegant evening with:

Oct 10, 2014

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:

  • Teacher In Residence Program
  • pH Monitoring System for the USS Monitor Artifacts
  • Development of a Museum Commemorative Guide

Other Project Proposals:

  • General Conservation Survey of the Museum’s Permanent Collection
  • Worthington Pump Replica, final phase

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.

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.

Steering Council

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 2017 Bronze Door Steering Council

  • Sandra B. Armstrong Co-Chair
  • John Holt Co-Chair
  • Martha Field
  • H. Carlyle Gravely
  • Gerald S. Hanley
  • Carol C. Hogg
  • John Holt
  • Cynthia Katz
  • James R. Knight
  • Ron Lewis
  • Jan Mattern
  • Jim Palmer


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

Contact Us

For more information, contact:

Luisa Vázquez-López
Director, Individual Philanthropy
(757) 591-7705