Above, a 19-th century sailor’s Valentine. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY.
February is Black History Month.
Above, a bronze portrait of Sengbe Pieh aka Cinqué, leader of the Amistad Africans, by NLMS trustee/sculptor Richard Salews, is at the front of the Custom House steps.
The Connecticut Freedom Trial posts state-wide events for Black History Month on their Facebook page. In addition to our MacCluggage scholarship competition (see below), our main Black History event is with Sandi Brewster-Walker on February 28.
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.
Sandi Brewster-Walker will begin her talk with new information about the seamen of color onboard the NL whaling ship/bark Merrimac(k)during her 5th thru 10th voyages to hunt the whale!
painting by Marek Ruzyk
Please click the link below to join the webinar
Or iPhone one-tap : US: +16465588656,,85986101004# or +13017158592,,85986101004#
Or Telephone: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
       US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 9128
Webinar ID: 859 8610 1004
Did you miss our last talk?
SHIPWRECKED, Coastal Disasters and the Making of The American Beach, with author Jamin Wells. Ph.D, is now available online.
The January 31, 2021 zoom presentation was hosted by the Henry L. Ferguson Museum in partnership with the New London Maritime Society.

What’s Up at the Custom House – February 14, 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.
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.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Reid
MacCluggage Black Maritime History Scholarship Competition.
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. Reid MacCluggage will jury the entries.
Sponsored by the New London Maritime Society.
Read more about Black Jacks in the new online book exhibition: A Maritime Sampler – Selections from the Frank L. McGuire Library.

New Online Exhibition

A Maritime Sampler

Selections from the Frank L. McGuire Library

For many years we featured a Book of the Month in this newsletter. Sometimes
it was a new acquisition, at others it connected with an event at the Custom House or an anniversary, such as National Maritime Day. Some were the gifts of friends, who have done so much to strengthen the Library. The new exhibition collects these Books of the Month published until 2019 when Laurie Deredita accepted the mantle of Librarian and I put on a new title – Online Exhibitions Curator. They are “samples” of the approximately 3000 volumes on our shelves and, with few exceptions, each has a link to the maritime history of New London and Groton.
In 2020 two exhibitions were added to this series: the splendid legacy of former conservator Gene MacMullan, and Rob Pittaway’s delightful look at modeling half-hulls. We now offer a total of thirteen well illustrated exhibitions drawn from the Library’s holdings to “tell the stories of New London’s waterfront,” and more are on the way. A new one currently under construction displays each page of the journal of the whaler Merrimac alongside transcriptions made by cadre of volunteers, and will make for fascinating reading when finished.
 —Brian Rogers
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! Photo: a Coast Guard wedding in 2012.
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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Just five weeks ’til Spring!
Pink buds are visible on the Hellebore in the Briney Bank border beside the Custom House.
Keep an eye on the harbor 24/7 with the New London HarborCam.
1.4 million viewers already do!
Snow falls Tuesday, Feb 09, 2021 at 6:01 AM.
  • Explore the McGuire Library Online Exhibitions of New London Maritime History. The Merriac journal is almost complete!
  • 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.



Nations do not die from invasion;

they die from internal rottenness.

–Abraham Lincoln


The Custom House Maritime Museum is closed until further notice | 203-444-2884

AAQ / Resource: Space(s) Landscape Architecture