It has been a remarkable year, in the best sense of the word. By virtue of your unflagging support and the amazing devotion of our volunteers and Staff, your Marine Museum has its mojo back. Operations are in full swing. The vast collections have returned. The rooms are clean and bright. The brass is gleaming throughout. And, most essentially, the place is humming with people and programs. What a glorious feeling to be bringing this historic site back to life!
These are just some of the most obvious signs of the Museum’s ongoing metamorphosis. Perhaps a better word to describe it is rejuvenation, from the Latin: to make young again. One of the valid knocks against the Museum has been our venerable (a.k.a. “aging”) membership. Yours truly is no exception. The accompanying complaint, invariably and correctly, has been: “What are you doing for families and kids? Aren’t they the future for membership and support?”
Until recently, the honest answer has been: “not nearly enough.” We readily acknowledge that without appealing to and attracting new generations, museums die a slow (or not so slow) death. In that context, I am delighted to report, as evidenced in this edition of the Marine Museum News, that rejuvenation (being young again) has taken hold, root and branch, in every aspect of the Museum’s operations and programs. To cite a personal instance, what a thrill it was for my grand-daughter Pippa and family to attend this year’s sold-out Halloween event, featuring a “real” pirate ship (the St. Lawrence II), replete with a Captain and crew worthy of Stevenson, and an equally beguiling treasure hunt. Hats off to Michelle and crew for making this and so many other multi-generational events and programs the success they were this past year.
On a less happy note, I regret to report that the fabled 42-ft C&C racing sloop Red Jacket, gifted to the Museum in a bequest of the late Peter Milligan, will not be coming to reside at the Museum. For the past year, a special committee has laboured mightily to find a way to offset the very significant costs to maintain the vessel. Alas, in the end, no feasible solution was found. We would have been taking on an unsustainable liability. Red Jacket has been listed for sale. We are optimistic that a suitable buyer will appear with deep enough pockets to keep her sailing and in the kind of condition that would make Peter Milligan smile.
Returning to the rejuvenation theme: the next big leap forward will be the installation of exhibits in our refurbished galleries. To do it right, it is a painstaking, time-consuming and expensive process. Necessarily, we will have to do it in stages. You will hear more about our progress in this direction in the New Year. I can assure you of one thing right now, though. Every exhibit we mount in the rejuvenated Museum will have something of appeal for both adults and children. That’s a promise.
Thank you and best wishes of the season to all.
Chair of the Board