In 1971, A. Sidney DeWolf Herreshoff and Rebecca Chase Herreshoff founded the Herreshoff Marine Museum to preserve and perpetuate the unique accomplishments of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. Today the campus encompasses a large museum facility, the old family homestead, six former company buildings, and a large portion of the company’s waterfront.
As a result of more than fifty years of careful documentation, acquisition and restoration, the Museum boasts over sixty significant boats, ranging from the 8 1/2′ dinghy, NATHANAEL to the 75′ DEFIANT, built in 1992 for the successful defense of the America’s Cup.
Step aboard restored designs to experience the finely appointed interiors to gain an sense of what it is like to cruise aboard these historic boats or peruse the Nathanael Green Herreshoff Model room which holds a collection of of 500 models that are works of art themselves and a testimony to the genius of the Captain Nat’s designs as a naval architect.
A changing number of exhibits illustrates important facets of the Herreshoff history. Besides the yachts and models, the Museum has catalogued and displayed hundreds of artifacts and memorabilia significant to the Herreshoff legacy.
THE HISTORY OF THE HERRESHOFF MARINE MUSEUM
THE HERRESHOFF FAMILY & LEGACY
In 1878, John Brown Herreshoff, a blind boatbuilder from Bristol, Rhode Island, who had been in business since 1863, went into partnership with his younger brother, Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, a naval architect and steam engineer. The name of their new firm was the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. The partnership was an immediate and lasting success. The same love of competition and technological innovation that had made J.B. and Nat almost unbeatable when as boys they raced sailboats together on Narragansett Bay brought them fame as builders of some of the world’s fastest steam yachts and torpedo boats.
From the first, the Herreshoff Mfg. Co. was noted for the ingenuity and excellence of its designs, its construction methods, its manufacturing and business efficiency, and for its uncanny ability to create fast and stylish boats. Although the Herreshoff brothers never lost their love or mastery of steam engineering, it was as producers of outstanding racing and cruising sailboats up to 162 feet in overall length that the Company earned its most enduring fame.
Between 1893 and 1914, for the defense of the America’s Cup, Captain Nat designed and built seven of the largest, most complex and powerful racing sloops the world has ever known. Of these, five were selected to sail as defenders, and all five were victorious. The firm also launched many hundreds of custom designs, both large and small, and a number of one-design classes (among them Herreshoff J12’1/2- and 15-Footers, S boats, and New York 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s) that have never been bettered for all-around sailing excitement and pleasure.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Robert D. Yaro, Chairman
- Andrew T. Tyska, Vice Chair
- Lawrence D. Lavers, Treasurer
- Elisabeth Lavers, Secretary
Robert A. Ayerle
Nevin P. Carr
Thomas J. Culora
Stephen R. Frary
Halsey C. Herreshoff
Halsey C. Herreshoff II Geoffrey Hopper
Lawrence D. Lavers
William H. Lynn
Gina Macdonald David Piccerelli
John “Jay” Picotte
Andrew T. Tyska
Robert D. Yaro
Talbot Baker Jr.
Geoffrey B. Davis
Mary L. Feeny
Marcia L. Greiner
Dean M. Wood