The Mathews Maritime Museum is owned and operated by the Foundation. Our vision is to provide means to research, preserve and educate the community and others in the past, current, and future maritime activities associated with and inherent to Mathews County, Virginia. Mathews County was once hime to over 19 shipyards and was one of the nation's leading builders of ships. This heritage is disappearing and the knowledge thereof is also fading from the minds and consciousness of the community. Residents and tourists alike are ofter unaware of the rich maritime background woven into the threads of families and the nation's history. Our history and the fabric of who we are is unraveling. It was on this premise that the Foundation was incorporated in 1999. Since that time we have established a maritime museum with over 2700 artifacts related to the County's maritime history, documented sites of sunken vessels, offered family boat building days, instituted a monthly lecture series, published a maritime calendar, established a Mathews Maritime Heritage Trail, initiated a boat donor program to provide income for our projects and activities, and given the youth of our community learning and volunteer opportunities.
We sponsor a Sea Scout Crew. The Sea Scout Crew is a newly initiated program by the Foundation. We have put together a cadre of adult instructors and have registered two of the five scout trainees required to begin our program which will get underway in January of 2018.
Mathews Maritime Museum
Our museum houses artifacts, documents, and photographs depicting the history and legacy of Mathews County, the Middle Peninsula, and the Chesapeake Bay. We currently provide numerous products and services to the Community. All offerings are designed to preserve and educate the public on the maritime history and heritage of Mathews County. Many of these programs and services are designed specifically to cater to a wide rage of age groups and interests. It is our intent to broaden these offerings to attract additional interest segments and new prospective donors.
Monthly Lecture Series
Our monthly lectures are held on the third Thursday in the months of September thru May. The lectures are maritime related covering such topics as boat design, Bay ecology , menhaden fisheries, transatlantic sailing, multihull boat design and construction, and lighthouse keepers to name a few. The lectures are offered to the community free of charge, though we do ask for donations to help support the program.
Mathews Maritime Heritage Day is a weekend celebration of the maritime heritage of Mathews County designed to educate and allow visitors to experience the diverse culture inherent to the County. Through exhibits, attendees learn about the watermen and the means by which they earn a living, including: constructing nets, crab pots, engine mechanics, navigation, boat building, fishing, clamming, and seamanship.
Maritime Heritage Trail
The Mathews Maritime Heritage Trail (MHHT) is a partnership project established in 2009 to preserve the coastal landscape and tell the history of Mathews County's maritime heritage. It follows the existing Mathews Blueways Water Trail, a 100 mile recreational water trail which is a component of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network. The MMHT differs from the Blueways Trail in that it includes educational historical information about the County's historic wharves, fish and crab packing houses, shipyards, plantations, and environmental sites. To date, it has completed the maritime history of the East River section. The next section to be completed will be Milford Haven.