This isn’t the Annual Appeal letter I thought I’d be writing six months ago. The hard work of the HMM team has provided distraction and maybe even joy to people during this incredibly difficult time, and in this season of gratitude, we're thankful for the commitment of our supporters who've stood by us and helped make this a better year than we thought it would be.
In May, I wondered if there could be a summer Seamanship Program. Director of Education Kirk Cusic never gave up hope; implementing guidance from the state, we put 197 young sailors on the water and enabled 10 student problem solvers to build a Herreshoff dinghy.
In May, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to open the museum to the public. Yet on July 3rd, we were the first cultural institution in Bristol – maybe in Rhode Island – to open our doors for visitors with rigorous, thoughtful protocols in place. We even passed a surprise inspection from the RI Department of Health. We built it, they came.
In May, I worried that our dockage and mooring income would evaporate due to tight restrictions on interstate travel and boatyard shutdowns. Who would have guessed that boating would catch fire as the socially-distanced recreation activity of choice? We were the beneficiaries of full docks all summer.
In May, I doubted we could host the annual Herreshoff Classic Yacht Regatta. Many events were cancelled while restrictions on travel decimated others. We felt that with our expansive waterfront, plentiful dock space and a large, open tent, we were uniquely positioned to safely host our regatta. The resulting event was epic.
In May, I didn't anticipate the positive impact of the Code Flag Lima Project, launched to deliver entertaining Herreshoff content to the quarantined. CFLP is the culmination of a five-year effort to enhance our digital presence, and it has been a home run. Thanks to the HMM staff, the Lima project has allowed us expand engagement and grow membership!
As I write this, we have hosted a successful virtual America’s Cup Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and are busy planning our first virtual gala on December 10th. The staff has been heroic throughout this crazy year, and without them - and you - we would not be where we are today.
Your generous support has kept us afloat in turbulent times, but we remain in the teeth of the gale, facing significant challenges ahead. As we prepare for our 50th Anniversary celebration next year, your year-end gift will allow us to continue to inspire new problem solvers, create new exhibits, expand our digital presence, invest in our beautiful campus on Narragansett Bay and maintain a world-class collection of original HMCo. boats. We’re humbled and proud of our response to the challenges HMM has faced this year. We hope you agree. Your continuing support means everything! Thank you.