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Herreshoff Marine Museum Endowment Fund
By Jean Cohoon / December 31, 2013 /   Loading Disqus...
Set upon breezy Narragansett Bay in Bristol stands the Herreshoff Marine Museum. Established in 1971, the museum showcases the works of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, a business famous for building the world’s fastest steam yachts and torpedo boats founded in 1871 by brothers John Brown Herreshoff and Nathanael Greene Herreshoff.

“The unique thing about this museum is that it is solely comprised of boats built by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company; all were built right here on these grounds,” said Larry Lavers, chief operating officer of the museum.

Today the museum houses more than 60 power and sail boats, as well as dinghies, anchors, and other maritime artifacts. For the past 20 years, the museum also has been home to the America’s Cup Hall of Fame that honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to yachting’s most distinguished competition. As of 2013, there have been 80 people inducted.

“We want people to understand that the museum is about so much more than just boats. It’s a place that highlights the entrepreneurism of the Herreshoff brothers, their innovation in boat building, their design and engineering expertise, and their role in the American industrial revolution,” said Larry.

The museum serves about 8,000 visitors a year and aims to expand its outreach. “At one point in the museum’s history collecting pieces was the main focus. Part of what we are trying to do now is focus more on using this wonderful collection as a teaching tool,” added Larry. The museum regularly shares pieces of its collection with other museums and institutions around the country and is working with local schools to create onsite learning experiences for students.

The museum still owns a large portion of the original waterfront held by the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company. “This past summer we hosted 23 cruise ships docked here which provided a great boost for local tourism,” said Elisabeth Lavers, the museum’s development officer.

Of this endowment at the Foundation, the museum’s Chief Executive Officer Dyer Jones, said, “We partnered with the Rhode Island Foundation for its stability and the confidence in knowing that no matter what may come, our organization’s funds will be in trusted hands forever.”
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