Maritime Industry Museum tackles Project H.O.P.E.

A museum that has been free and open to the public since it was first founded in 1986 has a new exhibit honoring those who sailed around the world and provided medical attention to people in developing countries.

S.U.N.Y. Maritime’s Maritime Industry Museum, located in the historic Fort Schuyler, is offering its newest exhibit with historical artifacts surrounding the Project H.O.P.E. expeditions that provided medical care and humanitarian aid.

The ship S.S. HOPE’s 11 voyages to the Pacific Rim and South America are chronicled in the new exhibit, American doctors, nurses, and technologists shared their skills and knowledge with developing nations – teaching while healing. For every American on board, there was a foreign counterpart to be trained. The S.S. Hope sailings lasted from 1960 to 1974. Project H.O.P.E. continues today.

“This is just the most recent example of a nautical topic that the museum is chronicling,” said museum director Eric Johansson. “Currently, we have over 700 ship models on display. We have prints and photos depicting the maritime industry from its infancy to its modern state. The museum was founded in 1986 with five model ships and just a few paintings, and has continued to grow.”

The multi-floor museum is the perfect complement to a college whose primary focus is the maritime industry. The museum is supported solely on membership contributions. It also records the history of the college itself, which was the first college dedicated solely to the study of maritime topics in the United States.

“The museum sees over 10,000 visitors per year, and we never know who is going to be walking through the doors,” Johnansson said. “We have an annual fundraiser on April 25, and tickets are only $50 for a nice afternoon reception with a silent auction – which in past years has come to include use of a vacation home, a tug boat cruise around the Manhattan, and other prizes.”

College president Admiral Floyd “Hoss” Miller founded the museum. Among those who donated nautical items and artifacts to the museum was John T. McMullen, who owned both the New York Yankees and New Jersey Devils. The museum is a non-profit – 501c3, and is always accepting donations.

“Everyone is looking for interesting things to do that are nearby, given these tough economic times,” said Jane Bartnett, director of communications at Maritime College. “There are a lot of visuals in the museum, it is great, and it is free.”

For a tour, call (718) 409-7218.

Maritime Industry Museum

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