Come on! -- sign up for our Sunset Seal Watch - May 31 at 6:00 PM. Photo, above: Donna Whitehouse (from our last seal watch trip.)

What's Up at the Custom House

May 14, 2023

Photo: NLMS president and educator Christina Corcoran brought Benny Dover students on a downtown history tour last week.

Wed., 1-5 PM, Thurs. 1 to 5 PM, Fri., 1 to 5 PM,

Sat. 1 0 AM to 5 PM, Sun. 1-5.

Become a member sign up online.

Please contribute to the New London Maritime Society.

We thank all our sponsors - Community Foundation of Eastern CT - State of CT - CT Humanities - CT Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts - Frank Loomis Palmer Fund - Maco Family Fund - Robinson+Cole.

this Tuesday, May 16, 1:30 PM


National Maritime Day is coming up on May 22.

Last year's speaker at the ceremony was ship pilot Joe Maco. Joe will be our speaker at JIBBOOM on Tuesday, May 16, at 1:30 PM. 

Joe's presentation will be an overview of his involvement as a pilot in New London Harbor's maritime activities over 40 years. He will speak about the importance of the maritime perspective of New London and Groton for our economic well being, as well as our national security. Joe will also discuss National Maritime Day, and the memorials to our fallen heroes.

Jibboom is not a 'club' but a friendly gathering of people interested in maritime subjects. Please come and bring a friend. We'll bring refreshments!

Generously sponsored by the Maco Family Fund.

Wednesday, May 31, 6 PM


The Black Hawk is donating an exciting trip to view the many seals who live off New London. View these animals in their natural environment. It's a fundraiser for NLMS.

The seals are actually Maine natives who make Long Island Sound their winter/spring and sometimes permanent home. On this trip, we'll leave from Niantic and head out to Little Gull and Plum Islands.

Beginning in the 1800s, hunters harvesting seals for fur and oil virtually eliminated seals in Long Island Sound. Fishermen continued to kill seals believing they were competing with them for fish. In fact, up into the 1950s Connecticut offered seal hunters a bounty. From NOAA: The Marine Mammal Protection Act was enacted in 1972 and established a national policy to prevent marine mammal species and population stocks from declining beyond the point where they ceased to be significant functioning elements of the ecosystems of which they are a part. Following new federal regulations, seals began returning to LIS in the 1970s. Today five species can be found, many now making the Sound their permanent home. They've been reported as far west as Greenwich!

Bring your camera and binoculars. We'll bring a drink and snack! It's a 2 hour+ round-trip. Sunset's at 8:15.

Tickets are $35 for adults, $30 for NLMS members, and $25 for children ages 6 to 18 (the same prices as in 2020!). Call 860-447-2501 with your questions or sign up online today.

Photo: Donna Whitehouse (from our last seal watch!)

Saturdays & Sundays at 11:45 or by appointment.

Visit Inside New London Harbor Lighthouse!  

We give tours up into the lantern room all year-round!

The views from the lantern room are spectacular!

Harbor Light visits take 40 minutes. Book a tour for up-to five people: click to sign up online, or email to schedule a custom tour during the week. Tickets are $35, $30 for NLMS members, $25 youth through age 18. Sign up today!

We will be listing our Ledge Light tours very soon! They start mid June.

Photo: Marcus Milukas (2021)

Monday, May 22, 12 PM

National Maritime Day

National Maritime Day is celebrated annually on May 22. Commanding Officer, Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion & Repair, Groton, CAPT Andrew J. Gillespy will be this year's speaker.

The ceremony is held at the US Maritime Service Officers School Monument at Fort Trumbull, New London.

Sunday, May 28, 6-9 PM

Open Mic at the Museum

Open Mic meets from 6-9 PM on the last Sunday of the month at the beautiful Custom House Maritime Museum. Anything goes -- you never know who will stop in!

Hosted by the very talented Kenny 'Doc' Frasier, we welcome musicians, poets, story tellers, and friends who want to be inspired. We never know what to expect but it is always totally awesome!

Take Your Turn at Open Mic

the next toe-tapping session is Sunday, May 28

Come to perform or to listen! This is a great event for all ages. Admission by donation.

Open Mic was live-streamed on Christina's Facebook page! Take a look!

Photo: April's Open Mic.

Photo: Ledge Light's 4th order fresnel lens is on view at the Custom House.

Please CONTRIBUTE today!

Please donate to our

New London Ledge Lighthouse Preservation Plan

We are very close!

Please help us raise the remaining $1,269 -- the balance due -- for a $10,000 Preservation Plan for New London Ledge Lighthouse.

We received an additional gift of $100 from Hansina Wright last week.

William Adler, Brian Barry, Lloyd Beachy, Andrew Champagne, Ann Corcoran, Sherman Crites, Crocker's Boatyard, Elizabeth Day, Laurie Deredita, Greg Feldman, Patrick Greany, John Hage, Elizabeth Hopkins, Andrew Houlding, Henry Hoyt, Roberta Hoyt, Benjamin Hyde, Timothy Jackson, Gregg Jacobson, Susan Kelly, David Kelsey, Edwin Kendall, Karen Krohn, Ledge Light Health District, The Maco Family Fund, Kenneth Mahler, Maw Family Fund, Jesse McAnally, James McGuire, Jennifer McNeil, Timothy Norris, Richard Pittenger, Alison S Roby, Jaime Shaw, Andrea Skiff, Walter Sedovic, Harry Smith, Susan A Smith, Barbara Tamulevich, Susan Tamulevich, Barbara Timken, William Tuttle, Vivie Von Walstrom, Todd Williams, Hansina Wright, and 'Ernie The Lighthouse Keeper'.

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This week at the Custom House...

It's really fun to have students visit the Custom House, and it's also a good measure of how things change. These 14-year-olds from Benny Dover must have visited here when in 3rd grade, but their tours last week with Christina Corcoran showed what a difference that couple of years makes.

Institutional memory and relationships suffered from attrition across the pandemic. School field trips, in particular, have not recovered well. If your child is in a local school, please suggest to their teacher having the class visit the museum and take a local-history tour. We'd love to see them at the Custom House.

Some of our Seal Watch's most faithful attendees are photographers. This shot was taken by Scott Loring perhaps ten years ago. Photos shown above were from our last trip in 2020 by Donna Whitehouse.

We have great hopes for a beautiful sunset excursion by Little Gull Lighthouse and Plum Island on May 31; The timing should be right. These islands and lighthouses (there's also a lighthouse being renovated on Plum) are part of what makes this region so exceptional. Glacier-formed Long Island Sound and the 'New York Islands' (as in the Woody Guthrie song) can be treacherous -- hence the rich legacy of lighthouses from the days of sail. If you haven't been out there, why not see for yourself on this sunset tour.

Work continues on our new near-neighbor. Now at just two stories high, it already rises above the old Salvation Army next door to the museum. In fact, the building is headed for six New London's downtown historic district. The photo shows the front half of the building from the NL HarborCam.

--Susan Tamulevich

We're online & on Facebook!

Photo: Our HarborCam has been panning and zooming all week. Here it catches the railroad bridge. It's swung open -- letting boats in and out of Shaws Cove.

  • View Online Exhibitions of New London Maritime History from the Custom House Maritime Museum's Frank L. McGuire Library.

  • Facebook the Custom House SHOP for gifts with an extra feel good factor -- when you shop with us your purchases support our exhibitions, & educational programs.

  • We're on Instagram! @nlmaritime.

Photo, above: our fav, Diana Higbee, is back from France for one performance, only. Next Sunday, 4 PM, United Church of Stonington!

Photo, below: How it's done. A submarine returns to home base -- as seen on the NL HarborCam.

Happy Mothers' Day!

The CUSTOM HOUSE MARITIME MUSEUM is open 1 to 5 PM Wed., Thurs. & Fri.,

10 AM to 5 PM Sat., & 1 to 5 PM Sunday. .

Visit us on social media and our website | Facebook | Instagram |NL HarborCam