We look forward to your active participation in the Reliance Society; an impassioned cohort of generous contributors who provide essential support to the museum and whom we gather together, in gratitude, for thoughtful and provocative events and activities.
What is the Reliance Society?
Reliance was the 1903 America’s Cup defender, the fourth defender from the world-renowned builder Nat Herreshoff, and reportedly the largest gaff-rigged vessel ever built. From the tip of her bowsprit to the end of her boom she measured 210’. Her mast from the waterline was 199ft. Her able-bodied crew numbered 64, given its massive sail area it was a necessary luxury.
117 years later, the nascent Reliance Society membership stands at 88 strong. In that we desire to deliver with excellence, events and activities, that are intimate and, appropriately, awe-inspiring we intend to limit membership to twice the size of her original crew. We hope our able-bodied and inaugural members will defend and advocate on behalf of HMM’s Reliance Society and support that growth. HMM continues to have a massive sail area; today it is home to the America’s Cup Hall of Fame; programming which includes sail education, workforce development, historical preservation and exhibition; and a world-class museum with a fleet of stunning Herreshoff vessels.
We value your commitment to the mission of the Herreshoff Marine Museum. The Reliance Society is simply one vessel from which we intend to demonstrate our gratitude.
You are invited to become a part of our flagship giving group, the RELIANCE Society. Be an active part of the Herreshoff Marine Museum / America's Cup Hall of Fame, a growing institution, dedicated to preserving the heritage of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company and its founders, brothers Nathanael Greene Herreshoff and John Brown Herreshoff. Enjoy our exhibits, special events, active waterfront and Sailing School. As a member, you will receive special benefits while supporting the Museum's programs.
Donate $3,000 annually for 5 years and enjoy exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the Herreshoff collection, receive a beautiful brass compass, the book Herreshoff of Bristol, as well as special membership privileges, including invitations to RELIANCE Society events.
Included during your pledge years are:
Reliance Society FAQ
Yes, it is annual membership. We hope you find it a worthwhile venture and that you renew- and suggest others as suitable candidates!
Yes, HMM would be thrilled to meet and to develop a relationship with the rest of your family.
Unfortunately, this is a special invitation to an exclusive cohort of our most impassioned donors and as a result we are limiting the membership at this time. However we’d enjoy a referral of a friend interested and we will consider them at the next round of induction.
Many, if not most, are indeed free. This is essentially a vehicle to express our sincere gratitude for your ongoing support. Some however may be prohibitively expensive for us to deliver without assistance so we may need to ask for a modest fee to underwrite.
Yes, most events and activities are, by design, meant to be intimate with attendees numbering between 6-12 people. However, that said, there will be several signature events each year, such as a gala, in which attendance will be in keeping with RI Covid-19 safety guidelines at the time of the event. An RSVP is required for all events.
We will announce events well in advance; posted to this portal and in the form of emails to our members. We will allow guests but they will need to be on a waiting list up to one week before event to allow members first. We actually hope members will bring guests from time to time so that we may demonstrate to them the benefits of becoming a Reliance Society member.
One hundred spectacular individuals currently make up the Reliance Society.
Candidates wishing to become a member of the Reliance Society must meet three criteria:
1. Must be referred by an existing member.
2. Must have demonstrative passion for sailing, youth development, maritime history or historical preservation.
3. Must commit to making a philanthropic gift that exceeds $1,000 annually or be a member at the ENTERPRISE level.
Yes, well over a decade ago there was a terrific precedent which asked people to commit to contribute $1,000 for ten years. It was a huge success with over 100 donors participating. 100% fulfilled their obligations. It was concluded last year. This project is proud to be building on its legacy albeit reimagined for the times.
In fact, the leadership at HMM is considering that as we speak. Nominees include state and local public servants, sailing legends, HMM life-long contributors of time, talent and/or treasure. Others include those who are leaders in the fields of youth development and sailing programs. If you have a nominee we’d enjoy knowing more about them.