Southport Maritime Museum Re-Opens
Southport’s nautical history is once again open to explorers! The North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport has opened its doors after nearly six months of COVID lockdown closure, and we just couldn’t wait to get back inside and see what the Museum’s amazing staff is up to.
As it turns out, the staff made the best of the closure to complete some upgrades that would have been more difficult if the Museum were welcoming visitors. A collections room has been set up to hold items not on display. It is climate controlled and meets museum standards, and is a much better space than the half an office the collection occupied before, according to Museum Manager Lori Sanderlin. Volunteers also installed a shower in the staff restroom, perfect for washing off the fishy smells off after field trips, she said.
Sanderlin is thrilled to see the museum once again alive with visitors. “I think that the most rewarding part of having the museum open is hearing children’s voices and hearing people talk about what they’re learning. It makes us feel whole again. It makes us feel like we’re contributing to the community again,” she said.
New protocols are in place to help make a visit to the Maritime Museum as safe as possible. Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the space, one-way arrows direct traffic around the exhibits, and only one family group at a time can visit the Museum’s small gift shop area. Visitors can still peer at boat traffic through the museum’s periscope, staff just asks that visitors use the provided sanitary wipes to clean off the viewing port first. Staff regularly disinfects the entire space throughout the day, so if you smell bleach instead of the salt breeze inside, know that there’s a reason for it.
All of these new safety measures have come with expenses, and the Museum depends in part on donations to help keep things shipshape, so dropping a few bucks in the donation jar would be a very good idea. Staff has also set up a Wish List on Amazon where folks can purchase cleaning supplies and other items for the Museum.
Lori and her crew have done a terrific job keeping the Museum’s mission alive via social media during the shutdown, and those efforts are not stopping with the opening of the museum’s doors. From weekly Nautical Yoga on Instagram to stories for the kiddos and lectures on YouTube, there is something for everyone. We encourage salts old and young to check out these links:
YouTube: NC Maritime Museum at Southport