January 28, 2021

Herreshoff Marine Museum Celebrates 50th Anniversary in 2021

The Herreshoff Marine Museum is thrilled to announce its Golden Jubilee year— the 50th anniversary of its founding.

Bristol, Rhode Island, USA - The Herreshoff Marine Museum is thrilled to announce its Golden Jubilee year— the 50th anniversary of its founding. Throughout 2021, the Museum will celebrate five decades of preservation and interpretation of the world-renowned Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and its remarkable founders, brothers John and Nathanael (“Captain Nat”) Herreshoff. The Museum will commemorate this yearlong anniversary with programming and special events engaging Herreshoff boat owners around the world, America’s Cup veterans and enthusiasts, and the maritime heritage community at large.

The Museum’s Legacy of Innovation Past and Future 

The Herreshoff Marine Museum is located on the grounds of the former Herreshoff Manufacturing Company where more than 2000 yachts were built over more than six decades, including eight consecutive America’s Cup defenses between 1893 and 1934. Admired by Henry Ford and other industrialists, this enterprise was led by John Brown Herreshoff, completely blind and a brilliant businessman, and Captain Nat Herreshoff, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-educated engineer and world-renowned naval architect. The Herreshoff Manufacturing Company is one of Rhode Island’s most enduring examples of American engineering innovation, craftsmanship, and entrepreneurship.

Since the Museum was founded, its waterfront campus has grown dramatically, starting in 1971 when it had no building but instead consisted of a small fleet of Herreshoff boats, a literal “Floating Museum,” Today the Museum includes a number of original Herreshoff Manufacturing Company buildings, the Herreshoff family homestead, and a modern exhibition building, the Hall of Boats. The Hall of Boats features the Museum’s world-class collection of more than 60 Herreshoff wooden boats, steam engines, and an array of artifacts. The Nathanael G. Herreshoff Model Room & Workshop exhibit is a re-creation of Captain Nat’s own model room and workshop, and contains more than 500 original design models. This exhibit stands as testament to Captain Nat’s enduring distinction as “The Wizard of Bristol” among boat owners, designers, builders and admirers around the world.

The museum is committed to educating the next generation of problem solvers with year-round boatbuilding programs for middle and high school students and a summer seamanship program. In 2019, more than 1,000 students a year participated in these experiential education programs that combine an appreciation for Herreshoff history and manufacturing techniques with a modern approach to design and construction methods. 

Building upon the Herreshoff legacy of industry and craftsmanship, the Town of Bristol and State of Rhode Island continue to prosper as a cradle of innovation for the maritime community. According to the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association, the state’s marine industry is comprised of more than 1,700 companies employing 13,000 people and generating $2.7 billion in annual revenue. Bristol remains prominent in the America’s Cup with the construction of boats for the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic syndicate, one of three challengers for the 36th America’s Cup.

2021: Jubilee Year Plans & Events

The Herreshoff Jubilee encompasses a year-long calendar of fresh content and compelling events (both virtual and in-person, COVID-permitting), and the Museum has partnered with Windcheck magazine as its official Jubilee Media Partner.  Throughout 2021, Windcheck will feature articles on iconic Herreshoff fleets and their owners as important stewards of Herreshoff boats, both originals and replicas. Also celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Newport International Boat Show has selected the museum as its charitable partner for the 2021 show in September.

The new HMM Jubilee web portal provides access to stories, videos, archival material, and historic photos from the community as well as from HMM’s own collection. The Museum’s 2021 Lecture Series has been designed to dovetail with this content and will bring it to life through a combination of virtual and live presentations. A Jubilee event calendar will also be featured on the website so community members can stay up to date with planned anniversary events throughout the year. The Museum’s Code Flag Lima Project, originally launched to deliver engaging Herreshoff-related content to those stuck at home during the lockdown in early 2020, will feature Jubilee-related stories through its unique historical lens while still bringing you mission-driven digital content from collections and communities all over the world.

The Jubilee event series will kick off on March 8th with the 2021 America’s Cup Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand during the 36th America’s Cup. This event will honor individuals who have contributed to the history of the America’s Cup with outstanding ability, international recognition, character, performance, and contributions to the sport. Since its founding in 1992 as an arm of the Herreshoff Marine Museum, ninety-one AC legends have been inducted into the America’s Cup Hall of Fame. 

Sponsored in part by BankNewport and the Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI, the Herreshoff Jubilee will include a dozen or more events across the Northeast where Herreshoff fleets sail today. These fleets will each be presented with a special Jubilee trophy this summer. 

In addition to the annual Herreshoff Classic Yacht Regatta in August, the museum will host a new cruising event, the Herreshoff Jubilee Rendezvous, for non-racing yachts to participate in the celebration.

The year-long celebration will conclude with the Jubilee Gala in the fall at the Museum’s waterfront event venue at which we will pay tribute to the people and traditions that have been so vital to the success of HMM’s first 50 years. 

To learn more about the Herreshoff Jubilee contact Ted Regan at [email protected] or visit www.herreshoff.org. Consider joining us in our anniversary celebrations as a sponsor of the Herreshoff Jubilee or as a member of the museum.