Museum Policy Change: 12/11/2019

To the members of the Custom House Maritime Museum:

In the last few months many of you have reached out to the museum to give feedback on the monthly First Friday member social. Along with our observations on the conditions of the building, the museum collection, and the experience we are offering at these events we have taken your perspectives into account in order to enact policy changes to First Friday in order to offer a more enjoyable and safer experience.

The most common criticism that we have received of the event has been of safety concerns, and overall satisfaction related to overcrowding. As the building was built in 1835 and designed for the purpose of collecting duties, holding such events does present some challenges with regard to occupancy. We want our members to enjoy their experience at these events, and to do so in an environment where both the people and the collection on display are safe. So in response to the vocalized needs of our membership, and of the museum, the following policy changes will take effect as of January 3, 2020.

  • Occupancy at First Friday events will be limited to 70 people. Through experimentation we have come to the conclusion that this number allows for a more intimate and enjoyable experience without posing danger to person or property.

  • As it is a member event, you must be a member to come to First Friday. Non-member guests will no longer be permitted access to member-only events.

  • Members must RSVP to attend. We will send out an Eventbrite link to members 1 week before First Friday. There will be a set limit on seats and once they are filled, you will not be able to RSVP for the event. You will check in as usual when you come to the museum.

  • Lastly, we know that in the past certain things were allowed with regard to food and drink inside the museum. With so many objects in our collection that are irreplaceable, and others that have been graciously loaned to us for the enjoyment and edification of our patrons, we will be asking that no food or drink be brought into the gallery rooms with the exception of Moseley Gallery (where the event will be happening) from now on. Unfortunately, there has been much spilled and left on surfaces, object cases, and artifacts, which in some cases has done irreversible damage to the collection. (For example: permanent staining to the granite staircase and gallery floors; drink rings on historic desks and sea chests, etc.)

This policy refers specifically to events held inside the museum. However, over the winter and into 2020 the museum will be hosting and sponsoring a number of larger occupancy events that will be held sometimes in other locations, or on the green behind the museum in warmer months. So there will be larger First Fridays on those occasions, which will have appropriate occupancy for those venues.  We thank you for your feedback and hope that this will make our member events a safer, more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Thank you for your continued support.


The Staff and Volunteers of the Custom House Maritime Museum