A CAUSE IN MOTION Rising to the Challenge of COVID-19 t’s a challenge to find a suitable parallel from history to the massive disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic has created in our lives. So much of what we took for granted in 2019 may be gone forever. Those of us who work at the National Maritime Historical Society, while caring for our families and ourselves, are determined that this organization, America’s voice for our maritime heritage, will persevere. We will continue to share the stories of our seafaring past, and we are working harder than ever to provide resources to support and promote the maritime heritage institutions of today. Our maritime history is an important part of our American story, and it deserves our collective commitment to keep it alive in the consciousness of our citizenry.
With a record number of people going online for information and entertainment, the NMHS website has become an increasingly important resource for students, scholars, and general readers. In the first days of the quarantine, we suspended the membership requirement to view recent full issues of the magazine online, making every issue, from the first 40-page blackand-white issue that came out in April 1972
photo by ray ashley
photo by hank moseley
CLOSED. Signage at the entrance to the Maritime Museum of San Diego during the COVID-19 shutdown.
QUARANTINE. Foreign ships fly a yellow quarantine flag when clearing into a new country from sea. This photo shows the Q flag flown aloft aboard the schooner Virginia upon her arrival in Bermuda in 2009, Captain Nicholas Alley in command. We have vacated our headquarters in Peekskill, New York, as mandated by the governor, and we are dealing with new ways of running our operations, but our commitment to succeed during these unsettling times is unwavering. Part of this effort was the decision to prioritize that Sea History comes to you uninterrupted, and our staff and numerous contributors have worked overtime to present this 171st issue with the features you have come to enjoy and look forward to—marine art, Sea History for Kids, Ship Notes, and book reviews, and, of course, engaging articles from the many corners of our sprawling maritime world. 8
right up to this issue, available to everyone (www.seahistory.org/magazine). It’s a good time to introduce your friends, neighbors, and colleagues to the magazine and encourage them to join NMHS to receive the printed magazine delivered directly to their homes, as well as enjoy access to recent issues online once the membership requirement is reinstated. Many of the leaders in the maritime community tell me it is the one magazine they read cover to cover, and you want to hold it in your hands and carry it around to do that. In addition to the fully hyperlinked index (www.seahis tory.org/index), there are links to hundreds of useful websites for researchers on our Maritime History on the Internet page (written by Peter McCracken), digital photo collection sites on our Maritime Images webpage, more than 200 maritime museums and historic sites on our Museums page (www.seahistory.org/muse ums), our collection of Sea History for Kids features (www.seahistory.org/kids), and a new archive page for our Sea History Today email series (www.seahistory.org/ seahistorytoday).
One of the more rewarding and fun tasks we’ve had over the past few weeks has been to get the word out about all of the incredibly innovative and diverse ways that museums and other organizations are connecting with people at a time when their doors have been closed to visitors. We’re in awe of the creativity; museums have created virtual tours and spotlight features about special items in their collections. Organizations with educational programs are reaching out to young kids and students who can’t visit, with coloring pages, activities to do at home, videos, and learning modules. Many institutions have made entire collections or archives available online, and posted informative and entertaining lectures. Senior staff writer Shelley Reid published a sampling of these offerings in an April installment of Sea History Today, and a much more expansive list is on our website, at www.seahistory.org/museums online. The National Maritime Historical Society is here to connect you with this world. We have been here for more than a half century, and with your interest and support we will be here for another fifty years—and then we will just have begun our mission. —Burchenal Green, president SEA HISTORY 171, SUMMER 2020