A Special Message from the Captain

Capt. Jonathan Boulware, South Street Seaport Museum Interim President | Photos courtesy of Tyler Orehek Photography


South Street Seaport Museum is an irreplaceable New York asset. On Pier 16—and the Street of Ships—nestled within the buildings that were New York’s first world trade center, the Museum is once again performing its most important role: engaging students, New Yorkers, and visitors in the living story of the Seaport district. Aboard our historic ships and in our buildings, the Seaport Museum plays a crucial role in the history, culture, and future of New York City. We very much hope that you will support this jewel in our great City’s crown.

Today, just over two years after Hurricane Sandy, significant challenges remain. But we’re making great and rapid progress. Our education programs in the Bowne print shops, in Schermerhorn Row and aboard our ships continue to grow. Unprecedented strides are being made in the preservation of our ships. And we’ve had two open ships and two schooners sailing again after a long hiatus. Read on to learn more about this year’s wonderful achievements:


  • The 1893 National Historic Landmark Sailing School Vessel LETTIE G. HOWARD had her first sailing season in four years. Working in collaboration with New York Harbor School, LETTIE is once again carrying trainees on voyages of challenge and discovery.
  • The 1885 full-rigged ship WAVERTREE (also a National Historic Landmark) is the largest wrought-iron hulled sailing vessel afloat; she is one of the last of her kind and represents “the ships that built New York.” After her major city-funded stabilization in 2015, she will return to South Street and welcome volunteers, visitors, school groups, and special events.
  • The 1885 schooner PIONEER, winner of Tall Ships America’s prestigious Sail Training Program of the Year Award, has concluded another successful season carrying student groups and the public on New York Harbor. Originally built to carry sand, she now works as a floating classroom and charter vessel in New York Harbor. A true working vessel, she carries the rarified distinction of having worked for her living for her entire life and embodies the very best traditions of the mercantile waterfront.
  • At Pier 16 important preservation work continues aboard the 1907 lightship Ambrose, the 1930 tug W.O. Decker, and the 1911 barque PEKING thanks to the hard work and commitment of our waterfront staff and volunteers.
  • Our dedicated volunteer corps logged nearly 16,000 hours in 2013 caring for our beloved fleet and in 2014 we are on track to exceed that number significantly.
  • On Water Street, our 19th-century print shops Bowne Printers and Bowne & Co., Stationers,
    along with the Maritime Crafts Center, are open to the public seven days a week. In addition to preserving the historic practices of 19th-century printing, Bowne Printers hosts educational workshops and programming for adults and children, passing along these traditions to a new generation.


We continue to work diligently for the future of South Street Seaport Museum, an institution vital to New York’s identity. Ours is a story of commerce, labor, immigration, and the multi-national culture of a truly maritime city. This Street of Ships and its “little museum that could” deserve our dedicated attention and efforts now more than ever.

With your help we can reinvigorate the museum’s award-winning education programs, increase vessel trips for students on New York Harbor, and continue important preservation work in our ships. Consider donating today, or become a member, and join us in the effort to preserve this treasure for all.

I wish you a happy new year and I hope to see you soon at South Street.