Above, engraving 'The Wreckers' depicting a scene at Barnegat Lighthouse, NJ, NMLS collection.
today: Sunday, January 31, 2 PM

Coastal Disasters and the Making of The American Beach
a zoom book talk with Jamin Wells
in partnership with the Henry Ferguson Museum
Zoom details, below.

In his first book, SHIPWRECKED, Coastal Disasters and the Making of The American Beach, Jamin Wells shows that disasters have not only bedeviled the American beach--they created it.

Though the American beach is now one of the most commercialized, contested, and engineered places on the planet, few people visited or called it home at the beginning of the nineteenth century. By the twentieth century, the American beach had become the summer encampment of presidents, a common destination for millions of citizens, and the site of rapidly growing beachfront communities. Shipwrecked tells the story of this epic transformation, arguing that coastal shipwrecks themselves changed how Americans viewed, used, and inhabited the shoreline. Read more here.

We're pleased to welcome back RI native Jamin Wells, who spoke at the Jibboom Club several years ago while researching that great salvager of shipwrecks Capt. T.A. Scott (see below).

This program is presented in partnership with the Henry Ferguson Museum.

When: today - Sunday, Jan 31, 2021 2 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
There is no need to pre-register.
Please click the link to join the webinar: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82789556859
Webinar ID: 827 8955 6859

Or to listen, on an iPhone one-tap : US: +16465588656,,82789556859# or +13126266799,,82789556859#
Or on a Telephone: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
       US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 9128
The online NLMS library exhibition S. S. Tasco: New London's Plucky Salvage Ship illustrates many shipwrecks, above. Built in New London in 1907, in 1908 the screw steamship Tasco was registered to the T.A. Scott Company (hence its name: TASCO), as a rescue and salvage vessel, based in New London. From 1908 to 1914 the Tasco took part in the rescue or salvage of nearly 150 wrecked ships along the east coast of the United States from as far north as Maine and south to Key West.

NLMS is a nonprofit and relies on the generosity of supporters who share our passion for the maritime world.

At this challenging time, your support is needed more than ever. Please give today.
The best link for donating online can be found on the HOME page of our website: nlmaritimesociety.org. Many thanks!

Cabinet photo of child in a sailor suit, from the Kids Ahoy exhibition.
Sunday, February 28th, 2 PM

Seamen of Color: Living and Sailing from the Port of New London, 1640-1880
a zoom talk with historian Sandi Brewster Walker

Sandi Brewster-Walker, chair and acting executive director of the Long Island Indigenous People Museum & Research Institute, and NLMS trustee, will give a talk on the people of color whaling captains and crew on all sides of the Long Island Sound.

She will concentrate on New London County. However her talk will include seamen of color who came to New London from other parts of Connecticut to sail from its harbor. 

Ms Brewster-Walker will highlight the genealogies and experiences of these men, who hunted the whale during the years (1790-1860), their boarding houses, churches, and lives on shore. She also will discuss the types of whaling vessels, the journey destinations, shipwrecks, and desertions.  

Zoom details will be posted soon.
Sandi Brewster-Walker will begin her talk with information about the seamen of color onboard the ship/bark Merrimac(k) during her 5th thru 10th voyages to hunt the whale!

painting by Marek Ruzyk
What's Up at the Custom House - January 31, 2021
New London Maritime Society - local friendly authentic
Telling the stories of New London's waterfront
& preserving four historic maritime sites
​Our doors are closed but we are open online | Visit us on social media and our website | Facebook | Instagram |NL HarborCam
New London Maritime Society thanks our Friends & Sponsors 
Anonymous, John Steffian, Jr., The Maco Family Fund, DOCKO, the State of Connecticut, CtHumanties, USLHS, Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, Chelsea Groton Bank, the City of New London , IMLS, PPP, United Rentals, & CDBG.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Reid MacCluggage Black Maritime History Scholarship Competition -- & the last!

Next year, we're renaming the writing contest: Reid MacCluggage - People of Color - Maritime History Scholarship Competition, to reflect inclusion of all people of color: Black, Native, Cape de Verdean, Portuguese, etc., a diverse multicultural group of seamen in the context of maritime history.

High School Juniors & Seniors, including from the Maritime Science Magnet School, may apply by writing an original essay, short story, poem, play, movie script or Novella about the Multicultural experience in the maritime world for the chance to win a $1000 scholarship. Download the application pdf.
Sponsored by the New London Maritime Society. photo: Emma Vlaun, 2019 winner.
Visit inside New London Harbor Lighthouse.
We give tours year-round.

Meet at the lighthouse, then climb 116 steps to the lantern room -- all the while learning about the 260-year history of Harbor Light, one of the oldest lighthouses in the country, and the tallest on Long Island Sound. The views at the top are spectacular!

The visit takes around 45 minutes. Everyone uses hand sanitizer and we all wear masks. Tours for one Covid pod of up-to four people may be arranged by emailing nlmaritimedirector@gmail.com.
Suggested donations are $35 for adults, $30 for NLMS members, & $25 for youth 7-to-18 years old.
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Merrimac Journal Update
Early on a fine morning in July of 1844, the ship Merrimac left New London harbor to begin a voyage that would last many months and take its crew halfway around the world in pursuit of whales. But, owing to a lack of wind, the Merrimac had to start its journey by being towed out to sea by a steam boat. So begins the 155 page manuscript that was given to the New London Maritime Society in 2020. It chronicles the travels of the Merrimac from 1844 to 1847, and then continues on another whaler, the General Williams, in 1852. 

And what an exciting story it is! There are the frantic whale chases followed by the tedious task of cutting and boiling. The unidentified author observes the USS Constitution in the harbor in Hawaii and walks the streets of Sydney, Australia. There are stops at exotic ports of call such as Pitcairn Island, some fifty years after its settlement by the mutineers of the Bounty. But there also were long, boring stretches at sea occasionally enlivened with welcome breaks to “gam” with other whaling ships, as well as moments of tension and threatened violence among the crew. And, throughout the narrative, he longs to be with his beloved wife.

Nearly all of the transcribed text of the manuscript can now be read online thanks to the efforts of our many volunteer scriveners. As more of the text is revealed, we are learning more about life aboard a whaler. We have found many clues to the probable identity of the writer, and there is more to be discovered. Stay tuned for more revelations!
--Laurie Deredita, NLMS librarian

Keep an eye on the harbor 24/7 with the New London HarborCam. 1.4 million viewers already do!

Images from sunrise Jan 28, 2021 at 9:01 AM and at 4:57 PM.

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

Below, "The Wreckers' print is reproduced on a large canvas and displayed at NL's Union Railroad Station. It is there on loan from the NL Maritime Society.

Have a Sparkling Day!

150 Bank Street, New London, CT 06320 | 860-447-2501
The Custom House Maritime Museum is closed until further notice | 203-444-2884