The Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum collects and preserves the historical artifacts of the Town of Essex and interprets the extraordinary story of a small New England village where more two-masted fishing schooners were built than in any other place in the world.

Thanks to your generous financial and volunteer support, we continued to expand and improve our programs and exhibits in the 2018 season. Here is a list of just some of the projects that your support has made possible: 

We have added two full time staff members - longtime employee Chris Stepler is in charge of the day to day running of the museum as our Operations Administrator, and Susannah Winder is working to expand our educational offerings as our Education and Group Coordinator.

Received a $25,000 grant from the Essex County Community Foundation as part of the Creative County Initiative. The grant is in support of the documentation of an original, circa 1920’s Essex Clam Skiff, construction of an identical, new clam skiff to the same design, research and re-creation of oak and wire clamming baskets, and a traveling exhibit on clamming technology in Essex. The exhibit will open to the public in June 2019.

Hosted the Improbable Places Poetry Tour in our shipyard, with local poets reading their work from the deck of the 38 foot Viking craft Polaris.

Hosted the annual MERSD student art show in our Waterline Center.

Sailed our flagship Chebacco boat Lewis H. Story to Boothbay, ME to participate in Boothbay Windjammer Days in June, Salem Maritime Heritage Festival and the Salem Antique and Classic Boat Festival in August, and the Gloucester Schooner Festival in September.

Created Looking Back: Essex Shipbuilding a Century Ago, an exhibit showcasing the vessels launched from Essex shipyards in 1918.

Built two 24 foot rowboats in two days with a team of students from O'Maley Middle School.

Completed construction of an American-style Banks Dory for the Schooner Adventure with a team of students from Topsfield Vocational Academy/North Shore Educational Consortium.

Hosted three fun, free, and family friendly events in our shipyard.

Participated in the reenactment of the Battle of Gloucester Harbor with Lewis H. Story.

Exhibited Women of Essex, an exhibit dedicated to telling the stories of some of Essex's notable female residents, at the Salem National Heritage Site Visitor Center.

Undertook much needed repairs to the 1835 Central Schoolhouse at 28 Main St, which houses our archives and exhibits. We replaced sections of damaged sill, replaced the roof, and installed a new, energy efficient boiler.