Patrons of the CHMM:
The Custom House Maritime Museum, following the recommendation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as state and local governments to protect our community and limit the spread of the virus will remain closed to the public until further notice.
The daily operations of the Museum will continue behind closed doors, many working remotely and staff periodically checking in on the building. Today I walked through the front door and experience the emptiness on a warm Saturday morning. Looking out the window towards the Merrimack River, I thought how much has changed in just a few short weeks.
And being a historian at heart, I thought how much has changed since the granite was quarried and floated to the site to construct one of four Custom Houses in 1835.
This building has its own story to tell.
If you stop to look, you can see the scars and repairs made on this majestic structure though its lifetime. It witnessed its first influenza pandemic in 1847-1848 among weathering years of nor’easters, social change and urban revitalization. One hundred and eighty five years of national and global change, it stood as horrific atrocities were committed on humanity and irreplaceable ecosystems, but also observed the unfathomable compassion and strength of the human spirit.
I do wonder how long until the regiment of life returns to what we remember.
But then knowing that the building was designed to be fireproof, and to withstand the test of time, connects me to those confident aspirations of the architect, craftsmen and laborers. Today we must work together to control the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic that affects us all.
Stay safe, distant and remotely connected.
Joan Whitlow, Executive Director
Built in 1835 to facilitate tax collection on imported goods from a growing overseas trade in one of America’s earliest ports, the Newburyport Custom House was designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument and U.S. Treasury Building.
Discover the maritime history and heritage of Newburyport, Massachusetts, the Merrimack River Valley, and of course the Custom House itself.
The CHMM has a unique collection of maritime art, model clipper ships, as well as displays of famous shipwrecks, the history of the Coast Guard, and much more!
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“A gem of a maritime museum… The exhibits are superbly done in a way that draws visitors into the display to seek more information.”
The Los Angeles Maritime Museum
Associated with the San Francisco Maritime Museum
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