Heritage Center Becomes Maritime Gloucester: Oceans of Discovery

Evolving Mission Drives Name Change as Heritage Center Becomes Maritime Gloucester: “Oceans of Discovery”

Maritime Gloucester, under the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center banner since its founding a decade ago, has become the region’s leader in hands-on education in marine science and related fields.

The new name, and the new tag line, “Oceans of Discovery”, reflects its evolving mission as an educational center that continues to feature Gloucester’s maritime past.

Maritime Gloucester now serves more than 3,000 students from Cape Ann area schools each year and expects to double that number in five years. It also hosts some 30,000 visitors to the Stellwagen National Marine Sanctuary exhibit, the aquarium touch tanks and to Gorton’s Gallery where the story of fitting out schooners in the late 1800’s is told.

The change is the result of a major strategic initiative begun in 2010 under the late Harriet Webster, who served as executive director from the organization’s earliest days, to emphasize its growing success delivering hands-on marine science education to students.

In addition to the new name and tag line, Maritime Gloucester has set a goal of doubling its student population, now at more than 3,000, in five years. It’s looking to offer its programs to middle school students throughout Essex County and beyond.

The name change coincides with the arrival of the new Essex-built Schooner Aredelle that will serve as a floating classroom and laboratory at Maritime Gloucester for the several thousand students who participate in hands-on marine science education programs. In addition to its educational role she will offer several two-hour public trips a day and be available for charter for weddings, birthdays, family events and other special occasions.

Geoffrey Richon, president of the Maritime Gloucester board, noted that the arrival of the Schooner Ardelle “is one of the most important events in the 11-year history of Maritime Gloucester. Having the Ardelle as an integral part of Maritime Gloucester’s programs for students and the public makes an important statement about Gloucester’s role in maritime history, as well as about the importance of science and technology to a sustainable environment and a strong economy.”

Rockport middle school teacher Carolyn McWilliams, whose students are active participants in Maritime Gloucester’s programs, said the addition of the Ardelle “will significantly enhance the already impressive hands-on learning experience at Maritime Gloucester. It’s an experience that both excites and inspires students to discover their passion for science and math. For our students, the programs offer a period of discovery that couldn’t be found elsewhere. The addition of the Schooner Ardelle is a tremendous building block in the learning process.”