New Jersey Maritime Museum
528 Dock Road
Beach Haven, NJ 08008
Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-4:00pm (Check by season)
My review on TripAdvisor:
I made a special trip to Beach Haven, NJ recently to visit the NJ Maritime Museum which had gotten some interesting write ups online. The museum covers many aspects of the maritime history of Long Beach Island and the surrounding Jersey Shore and the State of New Jersey.
The NJ Maritime Museum in Beach Haven, NJ
Each of the rooms are packed with pictures, artifacts and explanations of all the events. The front room has a lot of information of ship wrecks, both local and from all over the state.
There is a large story board of the 1916 Shark attacks that inspired the book and movie, “Jaws” including the clippings from the paper and pictures of the cemetery where the victims were buried. It was a very detailed display of the incident.
The front section of the museum is chock full of information
In the back room of the first floor the room is dedicated to the 1934 “Morro Castle” luxury liner disaster where incompetence from the crew and staff lead to the burning of the ocean liner on its way back from Havana to New York at the height of the Depression and twenty years after the Titanic Disaster. The displays included menus, artifacts from the ship, witness accounts and a movie on the disaster being shown in a loop.
Natural disasters are covered as well with storms that have reeked havoc to the Jersey Shore over the last hundred years including the recent Hurricane Sandy which was the perfect storm. The pictures show the disaster that have hit Long Beach Island and the rebuilding over the years.
There is a lot of local history with pictures of the all the luxury resorts that used to be on the island and its role in the development of the area as an early resort town through the railroads as well as the history of the local “Women’s Surf Fishing Club” and pictures of the club members over the years.
The second floor is dedicated to the local Coast Guard history and rooms full of artifacts from local shipwrecks and the history of the local maritime history and fishing industry.
The New Jersey Maritime history is in full display here
For such a small museum, the museum is packed with all sorts of interesting information on the New Jersey Shore line.
The History of the NJ Maritime Museum:
On a 1983 episode of the television program “Prime Time”, Jim O’Brien did a segment on New Jersey Shipwreck Diving, interviewing Bob Yates and Deb Whitecraft. During that interview, Deb spoke of her quest for knowledge about different wrecks and New Jersey maritime disasters. She also stated that she had started collecting this information and other items pertaining to New Jersey Maritime History and that she hope to one day have a place to display her collection. On July, 3rd, 2007, Deb’s lifelong ambition came to fruition when the Museum of New Jersey Maritime History opened its doors.
In the years between the program and the museum opening, Deb actively pursued her quest, working with other New Jersey maritime historians and amassing a sizable collection of shipwreck files and artifacts. This collection comprised almost all of the museum’s material when it opened. In the years since it opened, the museum has grown at amazing rate, thanks to the donations and loans from the diving community and the public in general.
The museum has very detailed displays
Although the museum was built entirely with private funds, it is now a registered non-profit entity and deed restricted to remain so. It operates entirely on donations and is staffed by a small group of dedicated volunteers. The museum is open all year long, Friday through Sunday in the off-season and seven days a week during the summer.
(NJ Maritime Website History)
The NJ Maritime Museum Mission:
The Museum of New Jersey Maritime History Inc. is a museum and research facility organized exclusively for educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The corporation’s educational purposes include, among other things, providing a facility for the public display of historic maritime artifacts, books and documents. The display of such collections, preserved and exhibited under professional museum standards will encourage maritime research and promote the education of the public about New Jersey’s rich maritime history.
(NJ Maritime Museum pamphlet)