Happy New Year!
January always brings a simple contrast; the oceanfront winter means less visitors and fewer hours we are open to the public, while at the same time we work harder than ever behind the scenes to prepare for a successful year ahead.
We’ll be open on Fridays and Saturdays, 10am to 5pm, through January and February. If the weather cooperates later in March, we will get back to being open on a regular schedule. January gives us the time to work on a long to-do list, such as doing our Museum Store inventory, condition checking artifacts, freshening up gallery displays, and all kinds of clean up. You’d be surprised, even in the off season, how much sand get tracked into the building. It’s all part of being right on the boardwalk, and the cleaning never ends.
The fun part is prepping for a series of Winter events, and putting together the details for a big Spring Fundraiser this year. Our first event is our Veterans Appreciation Day, scheduled for Saturday, February 8th. We’ll have a fun open house for all of our Heroes in Hampton Roads; the many Veterans that make up our large military community. Along with some great hot chow, we’ll have beer and wine available through the afternoon. It’s a simple thank you to our friends and neighbors for their service. You can learn more about our Oral History Project at the event as well. Our Intern and area High School Student, Parks Schmidt, has been actively interviewing local Vets to preserve their memories and stories for future generations. We hope more local Veterans get involved with this wonderful project in 2020.
When visiting this Winter, be sure to give yourself extra time to explore the new exhibits to the museum’s galleries. Rescue Electric shares the history of a modern day shipwreck, when the cargo vessel Marine Electric broke up and sank off the shores of Chincoteague in 1983. The tragedy became a catalyst for many changes within the maritime community for improved cargo ship inspections and safety. The disaster also brought the creation of the United States Coast Guard’s current Rescue Swimmer. We created The Swimmer exhibit to describe this connection, and show the amazing work the modern USCG Rescue Swimmers do today.
We’re also excited to present a brand new display about our famous woman at 25th Street, The Norwegian Lady. The new Journey of A Lady exhibit will offer artifacts from the famous Wreck of the Dictator cargo ship, and the amazing story of the ship’s figurehead and then bronze Norwegian Lady statues that have forever made Virginia Beach, Virginia and Moss, Norway, Sister Cities.
So we slow down, and the speed up behind the scenes. The months will fly by in 2020, and there is a lot of hard work to do!