From the leadership of the Custom House Maritime Museum:


As you likely know by now, shortly after Thanksgiving you will finally see the shape of a “tree” erected on the back lawn of the Custom House Maritime Museum.  The “Maritime Tree,” as we envision it, will be constructed to resemble ship rigging, and will display decorated life rings of various sizes, a la holiday wreaths, which have been decorated by individuals and organizations in our community.

These rings are being decked out by students, non-profits, businesses, and the families of our greater Newburyport community. Some are being returned to be displayed on the tree, others are being kept to decorate homes, or given as gifts.

We have been so excited to see the outpouring of support for this initiative, the generosity of those purchasing rings and giving donations, as well as sponsorship and participation from so many organizations in the area.

It is our hope that this will become an annual event with even more participants. We want this to be a way for our community to come together for the season, in a tangible way that we can all safely experience as individuals, and as families that symbolizes our collective unity in all times moving forward.

We cannot thank you enough for your continued support.

With warmest holiday regards,




Our gratitude to the current sponsors of this community initiative, which include:

*Finneran & Nicholson, P.C. who sponsored small garland life rings to be decorated by students at the Francis T. Bresnahan Elementary School, and the River Valley Charter School as part of an art project.  And the list of participants is growing:

The Museum of Old Newbury is creating the topper which will be auctioned off

* Lowell’s Boat Shop is providing a dingy to explore and makes a great photo opportunity

* The Newburyport Art Association is exploring to have a few sculptures placed along the flower beds on the side lawn

* The Actors Studio of Newburyport will be selling gift grab bags

* The board of Yankee Homecoming is setting out a collection box for food to be distributed to The Salvation Army, Pettengill House and First Parish Church of Newbury Community Food Pantry. They will also have a website to make monetary donations to the Pantry’s, which will be split equally between along with Our Neighbor’s Table.

* Theatre in the Open (TITO); Merrohawke Nature School; The Newburyport Horticultural Society; Community Service of Newburyport, Inc.; Opportunity Works and Greater Newburyport Ovarian Cancer Awareness are promoting awareness by placing lawn signs near the tree.

*The tree will be lit by Fusion Blue Productions with the help of Valley Tree Service.

*Wing Walker Marketing has donated their time and expertise

*Special thanks to 4Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning for donating hardware and time to figure out how to erect a 30-foot tree using the flagpole as a base.


There is still time to participate in this holiday event. There are three sizes of rings (6”, 10”, and 15”) available at, and at the CHMM Museum Store during our weekend hours of operation. These ornamental life rings can be decorated with paint, ribbons, wood – anything that sparks your imagination in order to “Ring in the Holidays.”