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Southport Maritime Museum Weathers The Storm

One of our favorite places is the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport. The staff is amazing, the displays are engaging and fun, and there’s always something fun to find in the little gift shop. We spoke to Katy Menne, Curator of education, about how they are bringing the fun of the museum into people’s homes

How has the museum adapted to an online-only presence? What has been most successful?

Thankfully we had ramped up our online presence substantially over the past few years so we were not starting from zero. It has been a unique challenge to find what would best be appreciated, where the needs lay, and how to do all of this staying true to our mission. We opted for a wide range of items that engage a variety of ages and abilities. Each day of the week there is new content on at least one of our platforms.

We have seen great success in the live features - craft time on Friday and live learnings on Tuesdays. Though many appreciate our Sunday stretch on Instagram (yoga poses adapted to fit maritime themes).

Where do the ideas for activities come from? Are you noodling this out in house of is there discussion within the museum community?

Our planning process has always been a little unconventional. Our crew has weekly Facetime staff meetings and we throw out different ideas. A lot of the time it is something random that someone says “hey you know what would be cool...” and we roll with it. We try to adapt programs we already had planned - so our third Tuesday lecture series is very popular so we have just moved it to a virtual platform. We also have a big following with our cooking program so we have opted to create short little videos on a different dish.

Some items come from our state department that we opt to participate in (i.e. #NCEarthDay50) and some is just pulled out of thin air.

Have you gotten any feedback you’d like to share?

We have received a lot of appreciative messages. Our goal is to keep things as routine as possible while giving something little to do every day. Whether you are 4 or 104, you will find some edu-tainment going on across our platforms. It seems to our crew that people are looking for a sense of normalcy. We are trying to be our quirky selves and spread some smiles and cheer across our region.

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