No matter how the wind howls or the sea lashes, we see clear sailing ahead for our work preserving and promoting New London's maritime heritage.
None of what we do would be possible without support from like-minded individuals whose contributions keep us going every single day, week, month, and year; whether we're running a boat tour to Plum Island, or researching a manuscript in our library. By
contributing to the Society's Annual Fund, you provide the essential
day-to-day support that enables us to preserve, protect, and present New
London's maritime heritage.
Every contribution counts.
Please take a moment to make a 100% tax deductible donation to the New London Maritime Society. The New London Maritime Society
is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, tax ID #06-10866688.
New London Maritime Society (NLMS) - CUSTOM HOUSE MARITIME MUSEUM 150 Bank Street, New London, Connecticut 06320 - phone: 860-447-2501 fax: 860-447-8086
The Custom House Maritime Museum - your local, independent, community museum - open year-round - telling the stories of New London's waterfront!
Race Rock Light Curated by Pierce Rafferty.
AMISTAD: A True Story of Freedom
from two private collections: Jay Kane and Ed Uditis.
museum's most important artifact may well be the building, itself. Built
in 1833 as New London's U.S Custom House and designed by architect Robert Mills,
it has been the museum's home since 1983.
COMING UP - opening in May
Kids Ahoy - illustrating the maritime influence on children's fashions, toys & entertainment since Queen Victoria's day
read more newsletters HERE
In 2013, the US Postal Service made a video about New London Harbor Light. See it HERE.
Watch what we do
(below: photo Josie Islen, date TBD November, 2015)
The New London Maritime Society/Custom House Maritime Museum is made possible by generous grants from The Chester Kitchings Family Foundation, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, National Endowment for the Humanities, the Connecticut Humanities Council, Dominion Foundation, the Bodenwein Public Benevolent Foundation, Frank Loomis Palmer Fund, Community Foundation of Eastern CT, Veolia / New London Water Authority, & and by the work of dedicated volunteers, members & friends.
WHAT'S UP at the CUSTOM HOUSE ?
Our 2013-14 campaign Be Part of Something BIG, raised
nearly $200,000 in donations and lighthouse program revenues,
and an estimated $400,000+ in in-kind donations.
Be Part of Something BIG
Our 2015 Lighthouse DOCK Sponsors (as of 7.26.15)
Don and LeVon Atkins
Sandra and Lloyd Beachy
Bishop Family Living Trust
G. Thomas Couser
Capt. and Mrs. John P. Cromwell
Bruce and Ellen Cummings
Sue and Len Davis
Russ and Pauline DeMarco
Laurie and John Deredita
John P. Desjardins
Elizabeth and Anthony Enders
Jan and Larry Erhart
Paul and Timothy Foley
Sandy and Walter Friess
Karen and Frank Guidice
Mary Ellen Hanrahan
Kristen and Dawn Harkness
Joyce and Bruce Hart
Paul and Mary Illiano
Kitchings Family Foundation
Robin L. Lott
Amy Shantie Mantie
Morgan and Lisa McGinley
Frank and Linda McLaughlin
Philip and Christine Medbury
Jean and Dick Murphy
New England Science and Sailing (NESS)
Melissa and Michael Plumley
Carol and Aaron Rogovin
Daneen and Greg Roth
Jean and Steve Sigel
David and Leslie Spinelli
Gail and Bill Tubbs
Mr. Mrs. William Blunt White
We participate in the BlueStar Museums
program, providing free admission to active-duty members of the armed services and their families all year.
Congratulations to New London Maritime Society and executive director Susan Tamulevich, who received New London Elks' Citizen of the Year award on March 22, 2015.
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For all events going on Downtown, visit the
Remember: The Custom House is available for private rentals. NB: Per the fire marshal, our maximum occupancy is 49 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
right: New London Whalers mobile $35 in the MUSEUM SHOP.
New London has one of the finest natural deep-water ports on the east coast. From colonial times, it was the main customs port in Connecticut. New London also has the oldest lighthouse, Harbor Light, established in 1760 under King George II. When President George Washington created the US Customs Service 226 years ago, in 1789, New London was designated the state’s sole port of entry. Over the next 100 years, the U.S. Customs Service was the primary source of funds for the entire US government, and paid for the nation's early growth and infrastructure. In New London, customs oversaw the West Indies trade and the heyday of whaling when, for several decades in the 19th century, New London was the 2nd major whaling port in the world.
The United States Revenue Cutter Service was established by an act of Congress in 1790 and served as an armed enforcement service for US Customs. It was the revenue cutter Washington that intercepted La Amistad off of Montauk, Long Island, in August 1839, and brought the ship to officials at the then-new US Customs building at New London. (La Amistad remained in New London in the care of the US Customs Service until the end of the Supreme Court trial, March 1841, at which point customs officials auctioned off the ship & contents, and La Amistad rechristened the Ion, sailed off to the south.) On 28 January 1915, the service was merged by an act of Congress with the United States Life-Saving Service to form the United States Coast Guard. Which is to say: the USCG sprang directly from US Customs.
From earliest days, the customs service also managed everything to do with aids to navigation including lighthouses. The customs official contracted to build the lighthouses & lightships, hired the lighthouse keepers, erected spindles and beacons, and purchased lantern oil & other supplies -- all of which is carefully detailed in quarterly reports back to Washington, DC - and we have many of these letters in our collections. These duties were later taken on by the United States Lighthouse Board in 1852. The US Lighthouse Service took over in 1910, which then merged with the USCG in 1939.
As we all know, the USCG maintains many lighthouses and still maintains the lights in every active US lighthouse, including the three owned by New London Maritime Society: Harbor ‘Pequot’ Light, Race Rock, and New London Ledge Lighthouse. The Maritime Society preserves the structures and provides access to the public -- our two charges from the National Park Service.
Why we're excited about USCG Summer
--and a description of the Custom House's authentic ties to the USCG, the Amistad and to Lighthouses.
New London Maritime Society - open year-round - your local, independent, community museum, telling the stories of New London's waterfront.
OPEN April through December: Tuesday through Sunday,
1 to 5 PM, / (closed Monday,) Admission $7.
150 Bank Street, New London, CT 06320 - 860-447-2501
Sign up NOW for our 2015 Summer Lighthouse Boat Tours.
Below: New London hosts the Amistad on Waterfront Park through October. Visit the ship & our exhibition: Amistad - A True Story of Freedom. Call 860-447-2501 for school visits. photos: Hartford Courant
April 21, 2014: We won Yankee Magazine's 'Best of New England Travel 2014' Editors' Choice for Best Lighthouse Tours
New London Light from the North East, oil on canvas, William Gooding, ca. 1909. collection Lyman Allyn Art Museum. Now on view at the Custom House Maritime Museum, New London, Connecticut.
7.10.15 We met the match for a dock at Harbor Light.
Thank you, all! Now we just have to receive the grant...
We'll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, you may still Pledge a Plank for Pequot Light. Planks cost $100 each.
Call 860-447-8700 to find out more about it.
El Galeon comes to New London July 30 through August 9.
Buy tickets HERE. Come share the passion and awe of working and living aboard a legendary vessel to our past!
El Galeon Andalucia is a 170 foot, 495 ton, authentic wooden replica of a galleon that was part of Spain's West Indies fleet. With information about 16th century European sailing techniques and technology, as well as important history exhibits, El Galeón will tell the 500 year story since the arrival of Juan Ponce de León on the eastern shore of Florida.
The El Galeon tour is a self-guided walking tour of the ship, currently en route to New London, CT. Once aboard, you are free to roam above and below the decks (5 total), talk to the current crew members (real sailors living on board), and absorb dozens of interactive exhibits, videos, historical documents and displays.
Hours of visitation are:
July 30 - August 9: 10am - 6:00pm
There is no time limit for your tour, and photos are welcome.
Children 5 and under are free, and small, carryable dogs are welcome aboard!
The galeón class vessel was an ocean going ship type that evolved from the carrack in the second half of 16th century. Galeóns were constructed from oak, pine and various hardwoods for hull and decking. Hulls were usually carvel-built. Hundreds of expert tradesmen, including carpenters, blacksmiths, shipwrights and pitch-melters worked day and night for months to make a galeon seaworthy. To cover the expense, galeons were often funded by groups of wealthy businessmen who pooled resources for a new ship. Therefore, most galeons were originally consigned for trade, although those captured by rival states were usually put into military service. The most common gun used aboard a galeón was the demi-culverin, although gun sizes up to demi-cannon were possible.
El Galeón was recently featured in the NBC mini-series Crossbones that starred John Malkovich as the legendary pirate Blackbeard! Since her debut on U.S. television the ship has become well known and has attracted a following during her tour of the East Coast of the United States.
The Missions/Goals of the Nao Victoria Fundacion
The Nao Victoria Foundation relies on a specialized team which unites historians, documentalists and palaeographers. They all have an extensive experience researching Spanish and European archives to find and localise original historical documents, iconography, maps, plans, drawings, etc. from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and then use these materials as documentary material or research source, and also for educational and out-reach purposes.
In 2006, The Nao Victoria Fundacion undertook a special project to reconstruct, to scale, a 16th Century Spanish Galleon. Since her completion, El Galeon has sailed the world.
The crew of El Galeon, still living aboard the ship 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, serves daily tours to those interested in feeling under their feet the awe of a 170 foot sailing vessel once used in the golden age of Western expansion into the Americas.
Our goal is to spread the knowledge and experiences of the sailors and explorers from our ancestral past, and the offer the once in a lifetime experience to peer into the hearts of legends past. Feel free to ask our friendly crew members anything that tickles your curiosity while on board, from the historical aspects of the voyages, to their own current lifestyle and maritime travels and tribulations around the high seas of our world
NB: El Galeon is available for private parties. Call 860-447-8700 to plan your special event.
We're planning to Party with the Pirates on El Galeon.
Downtown New London Assoc, and New London Maritime Society will host a reception on el Galeon on Thursday, August 6m from 7 to 9 PM. Tickets are $30. Find out more & purchase tickets HERE.
Tell us why you care about Harbor Light.
Do you remember it from your childhood? Have you used to to navigate? We'd love to hear what Harbor Light means to you. Please email HERE
left, Michael J. Plumley, CDR, USCG, P.E., Ph.D. Assistant Professor, US Coast Guard Academy wrote: Malissa and I saw the (dock) campaign advertisement while looking up information on Sailfest and were happy to contribute (they purchased a plank). The light is special to us as we were married there on May 23, 2008. We transferred out of New London in 2009, and returned again last summer.
Party With The Pirates aboard 'El Galeon' in New London - to benefit the Lighthouse Fund. Hop aboard the striking replica of a 16th-century Spanish cargo ship 'el Galeon' this Thursday evening, August 6, between 6:30 and 9:00 PM. You'll be joined by the Free Men of the Sea, professional pirate reenactors. Light nibbles will be provided. Pirate dress is optional. There will be door prizes for Best Costume, Most Ferocious Pirate, Sauciest Sailor, etc.! Tickets: HERE